I’m 38 and Still Don’t Know What I Want to be When I Grow Up

Losing my way in order to move forward

Leanne Mullan
6 min readOct 25, 2021


Photo by Letizia Bordoni on Unsplash

It’s a common topic of discussion between my kids and I. What do you want to be when you grow up? We’ve been through a few different stages with my son. His first big dream was to be a train driver. My husband and I used to take him down to the train tracks and we’d spend hours watching the diesel trains attach their long loads.

We’d build elaborate train tracks together. My son had every single Thomas the Tank Engine train character, and we’d re-enact dramatic train situations together. I knew he was starting to move on from this career choice when he started to refer to me as the ‘fat controller’ — geez, thanks kid.

A train driver. This is a good dream, although with modern technology and driverless trains, he may just be out of a job before he finishes high school.

His next idea was to be a plumber. This was a little out of left field, but I was happy with the choice. Plumbers are useful and I’m bound to have a blocked toilet or burst water pipe that will need his services, at some stage. When I mentioned that being a plumber can be a bit of a dirty job, he quickly changed his mind and decided he was going to be a famous YouTuber. He started making his own gaming walkthrough videos and he’s had about 23 views, of which I think 20 were me!

Photo by CardMapr on Unsplash

Next, my son made a very simple life choice — he wanted to be a billionaire. Easy huh? He’s been experimenting with a few different business ideas. He made some t-shirt designs to sell on Redbubble, picked things up from the rubbish dump, cleaned and then resold them for a profit, started a car cleaning business… the list goes on.

He got a little tired of all the hard work and now my son is in a place of having no idea what he wants to do when he grows up. He’s not bothered by his indecision and has a few years before needing to make any choices regarding his future, he is only 12.

Me however, I’m a 38 year old woman and I still have no idea what I want to do with my life.



Leanne Mullan

Frazzled mom. Creative, nerdy, lover of green. Obsessively organized. Donut addict. Diabetes specialist. Doctor of Philosophy. Newsletter:drleannemullan.ck.page