Starting sometime between the ages of 3 and 7, we are all asked the same question; What do you want to be when you grow up? Sometime between the day we are first asked this question and the first time we purchase an alcoholic beverage legally, we all answer this question. Some of us, inspired by an event, a hero, or something we are really interested in, figure this out at a young age. Meanwhile, others answer this question later on, after a year or two in college with an “undeclared” major.
Whether we answer this question at the age of 5 or 20, we all determine “what we want to be” believing that we have some kind of final answer to this question. One of the biggest surprises that we all encounter in the adult world is that “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question that we never stop answering. Sure, some of us may spend up to a few years at a time in a sort of steady-state, remaining in one place. But, eventually, inevitably, some form of change, or opportunity for a change, will come our way, requiring us to revisit the question.
I actually learned this fact years ago, when I was actually given two different options for where to take my career by a former boss. So, the fact that I am currently approaching a crossroads that may take me down a different career path, to a different location, or both, does not come as a complete shocker to me. While not surprised, there is still plenty to think about, and sometimes the best thinking is done in another setting.
A common scene in the movies (and on TV) is for one of the main characters to absorb recent events and ponder what they are to do next while overlooking their city’s skyline. This is a scene I reenacted somewhat accidentally today when I discovered the best view of the Denver skyline I have seen to date from a place called Mount Galbraith.
Mount Galbraith is located just to the west of the town of Golden, Colorado. With a peak at only 7,260 feet, hiking to the top is not challenging. The vertical climb from the parking lot probably does not even reach 1,000 feet. For someone looking to hike in Colorado with no prior hiking experience, this may be a good choice. Unlike other trails near Golden, there is no mountain biking permitted on these trails, and the trails are significantly less crowded than any of the trails near Boulder.
I do not know why I came to this park today. I had a lot on my mind today, and needed to get away from the distractions that often disrupt my thought process; in particular YouTube, the internet, and the Olympics. So, I pretty much just got in the car and started to drive with no plan whatsoever. Before I knew it, I was approaching Golden, and I had remembered seeing a sign for some kind of hiking trail on the way to Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Knowing that in the month of February it is always safer to stay at lower elevations (this is due to both wind and snow pack), I decided at the last minute to stop.
I also made my Siberian Husky come along for the ride, but she seemed to enjoy it. This is probably the closest I will ever come to getting a picture of my dog overlooking a city skyline, something that I think makes for a neat picture. In fact, I think Dogs Overlooking Skylines would make for an awesome calender. 12 different cities, 12 different dog breeds. If someone made it, I would buy one for sure!
Today I followed my instinct, and I did what countless movie and TV characters have done; find a good view of the city skyline and ponder what is going on in my life. I’m guessing most people feel that when they come to a place like this they are taking a step back from life, and looking at what is going on from above. It almost feels as if we are taking a big-picture omnipresent view of day-to-day life when we observe from a place like this. While on a typical day, we are looking at one particular block, one building, or even one desk. Coming to a place like this, the entire city, as well as many places around it, all come into view. It is natural for this view to prompt anyone to look at the big picture.
And, it is time to apply this big picture view to that age old question. What do you want to be when you grow up? Or, for those of us that are already grown up, we can more simply say, what do you want to be? Whenever anyone asks or answers this question, it seems like the discussion always revolves 100% around jobs and careers. But, there is more to who someone is than their career. Maybe you want to be the person your friends can depend on? Maybe you want to travel and have some interesting experiences? Or maybe you just want to have a balanced life? When it comes to “what you want to be”, ambitions like these are a valid part of the discussion and should not be ignored.