When I Grow Up This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     "I'm going to be Superman and save lots of people and fly into Chuck E. Cheese and get all the pizza I want when I grow up!" It's too bad my childhood dream probably won't work out. When I was six years old, I tried to fly off the roof of my house. Unfortunately, I underestimated the evil powers of gravity and met with defeat, or rather, hot ankle-twisting concrete. Despite this minor blunder, my hero sense was not shaken. A few days later, I tried to emit red-hot laser beams from my eyes to blow up a stapler. After an hour or so of cross-eyed agony, being Superman was as much fun as cleaning my room.

A few years later, "Forrest Gump" came out. The video started a profound idea inside me that made my life's goal crystal clear: I was going to be a professional ping-pong player. I relentlessly begged my parents to buy a ping-pong table so I could begin my career. The term "No means no" is still embedded in my brain. I knew the only way I was going to be inducted into the Ping-Pong Hall of Fame was to buy it myself. After six months of saving, and the unanimous approval of my family, my basement finally included a professional ping-pong table. All my friends came over to hang out with the future champion of the world. I played every chance I got, but two weeks later I found more joy in cleaning my room than that silly game.

I don't know what it is about movies starring Tom Hanks, but a few months later I was addicted to "Apollo 13." I was determined to go to the moon via a Saturn Five rocket. I wanted to experience mission glitches, floating in space, and skipping on the moon. I would buy model rockets to put together using rubber cement, which made me dizzy. I argued that if driving a moon vehicle was the eventual prize, then a little lightheadedness was no impediment. I even took my ambition of becoming an astronaut to school. I would preach of soaring on a rocket, but my friends usually just replied, "You're boring, stop it!" I didn't care how much everyone made fun of me. I knew that some day they would be stuck in an office cubicle while I was playing golf on the moon. I was psyched until someone had the decency to tell me that nobody goes to the moon anymore.

After my dream of becoming an astronaut came to a quick end, I grew up a little. I knew I needed a plan that was, for the first time, relative to society's norm. I set my sights on becoming rich so I could have the time to do fun stuff. I was sure of two things: I was good at math and I would need a big paycheck after college. Engineering seemed the way to go, so I flooded my mind with scientific terms. I could visualize an abundance of money rolling in and all the good and fun things it could be used for. I thought my life was set until I read that people don't get rich by working for someone else, people get rich by having others work for them.

Once again my future plans unraveled and pointed in a new direction. It all made sense. Why work for money when I can be lazy and have my money work for me? Building businesses, investing and increasing my financial education became my new road to paradise, and it still is. Even though the topic of money brings out the cynic in many, it does not bend my will. I can confidently say that when I grow up, I will use my millions to help a lot of people, buy a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant, and get all the pizza I want! c

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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