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Why Do We Have to Grow Up?

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I was just like you once. Carefree, with not a single worry in the world. Most sixteen year olds lead similar lives until they are asked one question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” This simple question can be phrased in so many ways. “So, what do you want to do later on?” “Any plans for the future?” Have you thought about what you want to pursue later on?” It all means the same thing. Like the Trojan virus, these questions are out to ruin our lives. You may think that after you say,” I haven’t thought about it yet.” It’ll all be over. Word of advice from the experienced- It’s not over yet. One after the other, they all bombard you with the same question. Can’t they be content with an “I haven’t decided yet” or “I have to think about it” Nope. I was asked this same question two hundred and forty one times when I finally decided to put some thought into it. Compared to the task that’s ahead of me Physics is beginning to feel easy.

My father’s a stock broker. My mother is a chartered accountant. My uncle’s a mechanical engineer and his wife’s a chemist. My grandmother is a gynecologist while her daughter is a neurologist. My dad’s friend is a business consultant and my friend’s dad is in the army. My cousin is a nutritionist and her brother is a dentist. My grand uncle is an orthopedic and his son is a pre-med student. He’s not fully qualified yet but at least he knows where his road leads. I feel like Robert Frost when he wrote Road Not Taken. And I definitely don’t want to live a life of regret for choosing the wrong road. In any case, I don’t want to be any of the above. This feels like a hard multiple choice test where either all the options sound good or all of them sound bad. Why do we have to grow up?

I know what I don’t want. That’s easy. It’s finding out what I want that’s hard. I asked one of my friends what she sees me doing years later. Apart from our dream of friends living together till we are eighty, nothing came to her except fashion designer. No way. I am not even considering something that involves dressing people up. It would be like my Barbie years all over again. Another friend thinks I should be an artist. Well I would not have taken computer then, would I? The next suggestion is a singer. Hmm... A performing artist? That does sound appealing. Unfortunately I haven’t been professionally trained apart from that school choir stretch. I love singing but nah! I should have learned by then that friends would only come up with professions that had high glam quotients. An actor. Whoa! That could definitely work if I was dreaming. Though I can act, I am not Broadway material. I gave up asking my friends. But I still dream about their options.

I started asking family for opinions. The first thing I got as lawyer. I haven’t even won a debate once. How could I fight for someone’s innocence at court? Looking at all the fights I have been in over the years, I have not been too successful in those either. Am I doomed to die as a marketing executive or something that I have not even a vague idea about? Maybe I should try a different approach. My favorite subjects are History and English. An archeologist. Or maybe a paleontologist like Ross on Friends. But Friends was created ages ago and Ross didn’t even do anything. At this pace, when I am a qualified archeologist there won’t be anything left to discover. Apart from 1947, I am horrible at remembering dates, a bad decisive factor for a good historian. That’s it I am doomed.

Sometimes I feel like I am the only one with no goal in life. I checked with other normal people since my neighbor, genius extraordinaire, doesn’t qualify as normal. Affirmative. I am not alone.

I can’t be an ad film maker, probably because I can’t create another revolution similar to the Zoo zoos. Wait… I think I am catching on to something. I have just written 719 words about what seems to be my bleak future. I always write when I am free. A writer. A columnist. That sounds so cool. I’m no Shakespeare but I can write pretty well. To be or not to be? To be! I finally know what to do.
Fifteen days after all that grueling contemplation, a few of my dad’s friends came over. One of them asked that dreaded question. Chills didn’t run down my spine this time. I had an answer. God didn’t send down a big speech bubble with the right choice on it. I did it myself and it just took 800 words to do it.
I still don’t want to grow up though!





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