When I Grow Up

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

You’ve likely asked your children this question, or perhaps you have your own dreams for them. However, do you remember what you wanted to be? Did you follow your dreams, or did your dreams eventually morph into more realistic, practical, and financially responsible opportunities over time?

In grade school I recall wanting to be one of two things.

1) Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader

2) Butcher

I even had a realistic backup plan as a child, knowing that if my lifestyle and geographic location didn’t coincide with becoming a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, then I would find joy in working as a butcher. Don’t ask. I can’t explain it. I always found the meat counter fascinating.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) the closest I got to either of these dreams was meeting two cheerleaders at a Cowboys game for my husband’s 30th birthday.

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Like most of us, my dreams changed over the years. I never wanted to be famous. I’ve just always wanted to be creative. My dreams have included jewelry design, event planning, interior design, art therapy, architecture, pastry chef, photography, and more. Some of these I studied, and some I backed away from out of fear of failure. Eventually, I put those ideas on hold and focused on the only dream that had always been consistent in my life – being a wife and a mom.

By the end of 2014 my husband and I had three daughters, and while I was being challenged every single day to grow as a mother, wife, and friend, I felt I was no longer growing as an individual. I knew there was a lot I wanted to do and learn, but I no longer could answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”.

That’s when I decided to make my first official New Year’s Resolution that I’ve ever kept. It was January 1, 2015 – the year I decided to not give up anything. Instead, I made it a point to figure out who I was and who I wanted to be.

My goal was simple, yet challenging.

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Create Something New Every Day – Food, Art, and Memories. It became my mantra. I pushed myself to be creative every single day. I didn’t feel the need to have a finished product at the end of each day. Instead it was just about growing and learning. Every time I create something, I learn. I learn about myself. I learn about the materials. I learn skills and techniques. I learn what I like and what I don’t. I learn what I’m naturally good at and what I need to focus on.

In 2015, I really wanted to focus on expanding my love for food and art. However, I also wanted to be more creative in the way I interacted with my own family. I wanted to create more meaningful memories with them.

And I did.

I worked with new ingredients.

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I refinished furniture.

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I planned small events.

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I wrote about being creative.

I practiced food styling and photography.

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I took online classes, like 30 Days to Better Food Photography.

I worked with mixed media.

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I kept myself accountable and critiqued my work.

I made countless desserts.

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I stayed up late.

…and I ate a lot. 🙂

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After a year, I quit focusing on whether or not my dreams would make me money. Instead, I focused on letting them make me happy. I now know myself better than I did before. I am more confident in my own skin. I am indeed a happier person than I was a short year ago.

However, I am not done dreaming. There is always more to learn. So, I will continue to create something new every day in this new year. I will worry less about “when I grow up” and focus more on “growing”.


Michele Langseth
Michele is a wife and a mother of three girls (7, 4, &1). She is originally from Sioux City, IA but has lived with her husband in North Liberty for almost 9 years. She works from home as an in-home childcare provider as well as a mompreneur making specialty desserts as well as children’s accessories and apparel. She spends her days creating all types of artwork and food while constantly learning new skills. She began her blog vanillabeansanddaydreams.blogspot.com this year as a way to document her journey to rediscover her passion for art.


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