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


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In kindergarten, my class was asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Crayons danced across sheets of ­paper to illustrate our dream occupations. Our drawings were hung in the hallway for our parents to see at Back to School Night. I remember looking down the line and seeing pictures of ballerinas dancing, firefighters putting out a blaze, and astronauts leaping across the moon – careers that were seen as typical dreams of five-year-olds.

My picture showed a stick figure with brown hair holding a carton of orange juice over a large rectangle that was supposed to be a counter. Underneath was my barely legible handwriting: “When I grow up, I want to work at the Market Basket because it would be fun to swipe orange juice across the scanner.” To this day my parents won’t let me forget that out of everything I could have aspired to be, my five-year-old self wished to work at the local grocery store.

When we are young, questions of what we want to be when we grow up are common. Yet we are not expected to respond with an answer that is likely to come true. However, when we become teens, we are asked the very same question twice as often. The difference is, now we are supposed to ­answer with confidence.

Teens are expected to know exactly what we want to be and how we are going to achieve that goal. Not all of us can be so sure. Even though I am in high school, I ­cannot answer convincingly. But I don’t ­consider that a bad thing. How am I supposed to know what I will want to spend my time doing at age 40?

When I think about the future, I definitely don’t see myself working at the Market ­Basket, but in reality, if that was what would make me happy, I would do it. So, the next time someone asks me what I want to be when I grow up, I will simply say “happy.”

Happiness is a destination for everyone. We may want to walk different paths in life, but we all want to be happy wherever we end up. Choose your path, but don’t worry too much about choosing wisely. Make a ­mistake or two and try new things. But ­always remember, if you’re not happy, you’re not at the end of your journey yet.

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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jesus_saves said...
Aug. 21, 2011 at 10:50 am:
I like your article and I like where you were going. But the last 2 paragraphs cauhgt me off guard.  Do you think that life is all about being Happ?
 
teeninkwasspilledhere replied...
Sept. 15, 2011 at 7:03 pm :
Oh. That's pretty cool, that you can experience deep sadness and elation simoltaneously. Why don't you just focus on your happiness? Speaking from a religous point of view, I think that's pretty important! All the best!
 
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cookiegirl said...
Aug. 21, 2011 at 5:09 am:
Well written article:). It's really hard to pick what you want in life when you're a teen. I'm in my final year of school and still not sure what I'm going to study. It takes risks to decide.
 
Brin11 replied...
Sept. 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm :
it takes even more of a risk to not decide at all....but it is a hard choice. 
 
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CeceDeSol said...
Jul. 30, 2011 at 9:23 pm:
I really enjoyed this article:]. I remember being a kid and changing what I wanted to be so many times. Now I've landed on being a writer and a copy editor, but I might change my mind again. That's what I love about this piece, the emphasis on the fact that it's okay to change your mind. Keep up the good work! 
 
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RockGirl182This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 30, 2011 at 2:28 pm:
Up until the age of ten, I wanted to be an interior decorator. Now, like I'm sure most of us TeenInkers, I would like to be a writer :) But if we change our mind over and over again its fine, as long as we keep on dreaming ! 
 
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Philosophication This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 28, 2011 at 7:06 pm:
When I was little I wanted to be a foretruck. Not a fire fighter, but an actual fire truck... I also think I wanted to be a tornado at some point...
 
Brin11 replied...
Sept. 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm :

that would be kind of cool, being a tornado! (how about a story from its perspective....?)

 

 
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InvisibleNerdGirl said...
May 12, 2011 at 8:43 pm:

When I was four, I wanted to be a paleontologist. None of the other kids knew what that was.

When I was seven, I wanted to be an astromarinebiologist. None of the other kids knew what that was, either.

Now I just want to be a writer. I've simplified. o_o

 
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sweet_silent_surenity said...
Apr. 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm:
I never changed my asperation to be a teacer. Now I wonder, often in fact, if that's really what I want to be... or if I just keep holding onto that dream. I never really know.
 
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ohmakemeover This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 7, 2011 at 6:00 pm:
Oh god, when I was in kindergarten, I wanted to "type all day like momy and do reports".  Us crazy kids.  Really an inspiring little piece!
 
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lexy123 said...
Mar. 21, 2011 at 4:21 pm:
I wanted to be a ballerina ha ha I was super girly ha ha but I still am
 
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VirginieC This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 10, 2011 at 8:03 pm:
I wanted to be a trapezist :)
 
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Maddyandsnoopy said...
Feb. 4, 2011 at 6:21 pm:
When I was little, I wanted to be a bus driver!
 
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Fire_Ice said...
Jan. 9, 2011 at 10:05 pm:

So true!

I loved the part about the grocery clerk!

I guess we all wanted to be something odd as a child. When I was in Kindergarden I drew my self with Bushy brown hair, large front teeth and a wand with a caption that said, I want to be Hermione Granger.

 
Ladybug_94 replied...
Feb. 3, 2011 at 9:27 am :
i agree to  this article, its a great thing to be happy, even though most teens dont know what they want to be, they should at least want to be happy in the career or job they chose.
 
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kaybear said...
Dec. 18, 2010 at 8:14 pm:

in kinder they asked what you wanted to be when you grow up.. half of us said a popstar or a super hero! i said i wanted to be a turnip!

in mid school they asked again half of us said i wanna be pres or a millionaire! i still wanted to be a turnip!

in high school right b4 we graduate they ask again.... people said they wanted to be a marine  or a doctor.... i evolved. i wanted to be a carrot :3

 

get over it!!!!

 
deathward22 replied...
Dec. 18, 2010 at 8:16 pm :
turnips suck. oranges are where its at
 
M. replied...
Jan. 7, 2011 at 8:06 pm :
POTATO HATERS!
 
deathward22 replied...
Jan. 8, 2011 at 8:21 pm :
you know it :)
 
kaybear replied...
Jan. 11, 2011 at 9:13 pm :
carots are better hahahaha:D
 
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