It's such an innocent question that has violently different answers depending on when it's asked.
As a kid I wanted to be a ninja when I grew up, despite the fact that 'ninja' isn't so much an occupation as it is a cool Halloween costume.
Ninja transformed into Major League Baseball player then lawyer, ad guy, stock broker and then for a while it was just 'party.' For the moment I think I've settled on 'uh, something creative.'
If asked for a specific vision right now I suppose I would say something like "I want to sell a television show to Netflix that is a coming of age, single cam comedy that runs for 6 years. I want to take my money from that and purchase a house in Manhattan Beach so I can send my kids to public schools and save myself $50,000 a year in Crossroads tuition and instead spend that money on travel and a cabin in Park City. Dibs on the production company name AWOL Films."
But other days I wake up and think that maybe I should focus on blogging. I've been doing it for 10 years, I could be a culture writer for The Ringer. I even have a fancy scheme on how to get noticed! I could start a blog called 'Dave to The Ringer,' eventually someone over there would catch word of it and I would be brought in as an editorial assistant or a PA where I would toil away until finally one day Bill Simmons brought me on a podcast and the world fell in love with my irreverent personality. People on Reddit would fight about whether I was a douche bag or not, it would be great.
Or shit maybe, I should lean into my degenerate past and go work for Barstool. I could rant about PC culture and do lists that rank the bathrooms of Manhattan bars from hardest to easiest to do drugs in.
The truth is, I'm 30 years old and I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up. Really I just want to live by the beach and eat Sugarfish once a week. I don't think it's too much to ask.
If there is any solace I can take from my current predicament, it's that I know I'm not alone. Half the people my age are experiencing some degree of disillusionment in whatever it is that they're doing. The LinkedIn easy apply button is the new 'posting pictures of international travel' for people 25-34.
While dinner parties used to be full of talk about how Donald Trump is ruining the world it seems people have gotten sick of bitching about that and now want to focus on how they are no longer creatively fulfilled in their current position. I suppose this is only natural because growing up we were told how special we were, how we could change the world some day and we came to find out that growing up just means having slightly more responsibility and longer hangovers.
I've spent the last few months temping at a variety of places and every time I show up to a cool company for a couple of days I think to myself 'these kids don't realize how good they have it. They should be thanking their lucky stars that this all worked out for them.'
And of course they're always friendly to me, but friendly in the way you are when you feed a stray cat. Of course I want to shout at them, I'M NOT A STRAY FUCKING CAT! I WENT TO COLLEGE AND PEOPLE THINK I'M SMART AND I COULD DO YOUR JOB TOO I PROMISE I'M NOT BITTER! But instead I just smile and take a deep breath.
It's become increasingly clear to me in 2017 that even when I'm feeling down it's tough to thrive when you have a negative worldview. My biggest embarrassment might be that deep down I actually still think I have a chance at accomplishing greatness, I'm like the little kid that still thinks the Dodgers were going to win last night down 4 runs, with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th.
But even if I don't, life is about the journey, not necessarily the destination. Even if I don't ever buy that house in the South Bay, I still live by the beach. And if I skip breakfast three times a week, I can still afford the Trust Me light every Friday. So maybe I'm the one that needs to thank my lucky stars that this all worked out for me. I'm chasing my dream in LA and for many the chase is the dream. Besides at 30, I'm only in the 3rd or 4th inning, plenty of time to turn this around.