Twelve years ago, I wanted to be a firefighter. Fornursery school graduation, each student was required to trace him- or herself onpaper and paint the picture to answer the question, "What do you want to bewhen you grow up?" I painted a firefighter, hoping someday to slide down thepole when there was a fire, play with Dalmatians, and wear a red suit, if Irecall correctly.
Ten years ago I wanted to be a professional soccerplayer. A second grader, I was captivated by the game. I thought I was on thegreatest team in the world, though it was comprised of 15 seven-year-olds fromthe same town. I thought I would always love the game. I thought I would playforever.
Eight years ago, I wanted to be an astronaut. My fourth-gradescience fair project on the solar system won first prize, but only because Idressed up in a snowsuit and bicycle helmet pretending to be a NASA astronaut.Science fascinated me. My classmates said I'd be a rocket scientist someday, andI believed them.
Six years ago, I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. Iwasn't quite sure what this type of doctor did, but I was fascinated wtihwrapping hands, wrists, feet and ankles in paper towels and dish rags. I simplywanted to put casts on people, not deal with broken bones, blood, and x-rays. Ihad no aspirations of attending medical school. Instead, I dreamed of breaking mytibia or radius so that I could don a piece of the plaster that I soadmired.
Four years ago, I wanted to be on ESPN. I wanted to host SportsCenter. I loved sports. Pictures of Michael Jordan and Mario Lemieux adorned mybedroom walls. I envisioned myself sitting at a desk, commenting on how the Ramswere a serious Super Bowl contender. My mind had been made up forgood.
Two years ago, I wanted to be a priest. I decided that it was timefor reform in the Catholic Church, and I was going to be the driving force behindit. Although I was told my dreams were nearly impossible, my quest to celebrateMass did not cease. I was called to be a disciple of Christ. I was entering theSeminary. Amen.
Now, I have no idea what I want to be. I take career testsin school, my results turn up empty. I am asked what I would like to study incollege, my answer is undecided. My future is undecided. It is undecided as towhether I will ever be a firefighter, professional soccer player, astronaut,orthopedic surgeon, sportscaster, or priest. Twelve years ago, I knew what Iwould like to be when I grow up. But now, I don't have an answer.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.