What do I want to be (do) when I grow up?

A friend's recent posting on Facebook prompted this entry. She asked if anyone had any ideas what she should be when she grows up. (Keep in mind that we are both in our mid-40s at this point.)

My comment back to her was that, it isn't so much about what you want to "be," but more about what you want to "do." This is prompted by a quotefrom the late Air Force visionary John Boyd (of OODA Loop fame):

One day you will come to a fork in the road. And you're going to have to make a decision about what direction you want to go. If you go that way you can BE SOMEBODY. Or you can go that way and you can DO SOMETHING - something for your country and for your [Army] and for yourself. And your work might make a difference.

So, with regard what I want to "do," my current mantra (borrowed shamelessly from Kelly Corrigan, who I saw talk at the Carmel Authors & Ideas Festival last year) is:

Make yourself useful, doing something hard, with good people.

I have mentioned this to a few people lately. One friend said that they liked it, but thought that it was too focused on work. Not so. The first two phrases don't just refer to work, but also community service and other avocations, while the last three words, "with good people," most definitely include family and friends, not just co-workers.

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