"And what about you, Kimberly, what would youlike to be when you grow up?" my teacher inquired, as if the answer was assimple as which color was my favorite.
"I am going to be amagician," I quickly responded with an ear-to-ear grin. There was no doubtin my mind about my answer, no thought involved in my decision. I had seen amagician the week before at my friend's birthday party and decided that I wasgoing to be one, too.
"Well, that sure is interesting. How did youdecide this?" Ms. Kelly asked, a little surprised. She had expected a morepractical answer like the other kids. Some claimed they would be doctors; otherschose to follow the path of Ms. Kelly and become teachers. But none of these wereinteresting to kindergarten Kimberly. I did not want to be a lawyer, a mommy, anarchitect, or a pro athlete. Magic was fun and easy, and who wouldn't want topull rabbits out of a hat for a living?
I would give anything to beback in that red plastic chair, fingerpainting and practicing how to tieshoelaces on little cardboard shoes. If only now it were as simple as whatevercareer seemed fun and easy, and whichever college had the prettiest flowers. Nowthere are millions of more important criteria and things to include in order forme to choose. How will it prepare me for a good future? What kind of educationwill I get? Will I be able to spend the rest of my life working there? Could Isupport a family with that salary?
Decisions are no longer based on justwhat I want at the moment, or what is going to make me smile and have fun. Sure,those are important too, but other prerequisites are beginning to strike thoserequirements off the list.
But are decisions so difficult all of a sudden?When you think about it, you realize they really don't have to be. In the longrun, if your decision does not make you happy, then you will probably change itto something that does put that ear-to-ear grin on your face. Success doesn'tcome to people who hate what they are doing, it comes to people pouring theirhearts into what they do.
So, when you sit there with college acceptanceletters in front of you, pondering which to choose, and before you fall back ontoeenie, meenie, think about which one you like, and pick the one that puts thatkindergarten smile back on your face.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.