Bullish readers know that Jen’s no fan of the “wonder and beauty” of childhood. In Bullish Life: Some Dreams Are Stupid, she wrote:
Growing up in a privileged nation, most of us were assured on numerous occasions that we could be whatever we wanted to be. And then adults would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, in response to which we would try out answers and gauge responses: A firefighter! A firetruck! A doctor! A dancer!
It’s like asking a child who’s never been to — nay, even seen pictures of — Disneyworld what he wants to do when he gets there. He doesn’t know! See Mickey Mouse? A slide? Is there a slide? Cupcake? Nap!
Whatever this child says is wrong. There’s stuff there that’s way better than a slide! His answer was based on totally inadequate information and perspective. That’s what most childhood dreams — and many young adult dreams — are as well.
Your childhood dreams did not take into account that you would grow up to like sex and alcohol, and get satisfaction out of, say, good project management. And that you might like painting, for instance, but not enough to want to be poor. And that you would make decisions based on a need for companionship and possibly your biological clock. And that retiring well might be more important than exactly what kind of job you do during your forties and fifties.
Kids cannot articulate — or conceive of — life goals like “living both ethically and with verve.”
Jen’s remedies for crippling anxiety include world travel, exercise, defining the problem very precisely, and very good scotch. But play is basically free and probably better for your liver.
- We always support ladies in STEM careers. On Humans of New York, please see this awesome lady.
- A new documentary about grammar; is it my birthday already?
- This photoshoot is 100 times better than having great abs.
- What Elizabeth I would look like today. In short, very much like the very gentlewomanly Christine Lagarde.
- And: tickets to the first ever Bullish Conference are now on sale! Get yours here.