More Than a Title

The pink fringe hung from my vest, swaying to and fro in the wind, as I approached the schoolhouse doors. As I started to make my way down the seemingly endless hallway, my boots began to produce an almost rhythmic clacking sound, as they landed heel-to-toe upon the tiles that had been freshly polished just the night before. Like the golden mane of a Palomino pony, my newly braided pigtails dangled from the sides of my head, grazing my ears repeatedly, as I skipped by the classroom doors, which I envisioned being the storefronts of an old western cow town. This was the day that I had long dreamt of. It was the day that every youngster longs for. Yes, this was the day that I had the privilege of dressing myself. It was the day that I had eagerly sprung from my slumber and sashayed into my closet with the grace of a Hollywood starlet on the red carpet of the Oscars and carefully chosen my ensemble. It was the outfit that would not only impress those around me, but would make a statement about the type of person I was and the presence I would be asserting from here on out.
As I passed the artwork that hung on the walls and the cream-colored tiles of my own personal “prairie”, I knew I could do anything. It was a time when I knew I would have several horses to choose from to gallop through the pastures whenever I wanted. My ranch would stretch out as far as the eye could see. It was a time when people would ask me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I didn’t even have to think. I would liken it to the knee-jerk reaction a leg makes when struck with the reflex hammer of a physician. I knew exactly how to answer this question. I yearned to be a cowgirl. Unfortunately, all too quickly, the childish dreams of yesteryear pass away. The dream of me being a cowgirl has long since faded, being replaced with the aspirations of tomorrow. The future has quickly become the present and, sadly, my pink fringe has gone out of style. I find myself making the decisions that will impact the rest of my life, and the question that was posed to me, oh so many years passed, still remains and echoes in my head; “What do I want to be?”

I am not one of the chosen few who can say that they’ve always known what they would become. I had lofty goals that didn’t align with my makeup. I love anatomy, but will faint at the sight of blood. I enjoy math, but am too ADD to sit in a cubicle calculating statistics all day. These are but a few of the dichotomies that I have wrestled with. I learned, very early on, that I loved children. With that notwithstanding, through all the chaos of finding my niche, there is one thing that I am sure of; I want to be more than a title.

Too often people go to their job, going through the same routine day in and day out. Sadly, this is what has come to be expected of most Americans today. Although this process may “make the world go round”, it takes much more than just consistency of activity to make a difference in the lives of others. Perhaps this can best be represented by Wendy Wasserstein who said, “Don't live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable.”
And so, that childhood question still lingers and begs to be answered. Most would choose a concise noun, declaring, “A doctor, a lawyer, or an astronaut” and move on. Each response given would be an excellent and admirable choice. Although my college major will be elementary education, I don’t have an exact answer to the question just yet. However, what I do have is this. I have the certain and unwavering knowledge of knowing that I will not be labeled by a simplistic noun. I will inspire those around me to be more than what they thought they could be. I will motivate by example and truly make a difference in the lives of those I encounter. I will cultivate the seeds of our youth, so that they will grow into the leaders of tomorrow. “What do I want to be?” I want to be more than a title.





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