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

April 24, 2009
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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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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!!!!

M. replied...
Jan. 7, 2011 at 8:06 pm
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
Authorgal98 replied...
Mar. 17, 2011 at 8:39 pm
Haha I'm cracking up! *I evolved...* rolf!
M0429 replied...
Jun. 26, 2011 at 8:28 pm
**** that, teapots win!
NeverStopRelating replied...
Nov. 5, 2011 at 12:45 pm
I'm in the company of the simple-minded... then again, SOUP trumps all veggies!
Jakethesnake said...
Nov. 30, 2010 at 9:42 pm
Oh, btw, The end of the journey is not being happy- it is death. And what do we do all our lives? Try to be happy. Any person who is happy has achieved the  ultimate goal of this journey. Death is the end, whether you have reached that goal or not.
Jakethesnake said...
Nov. 30, 2010 at 9:40 pm
Thank GOD someone has said this. haha Amazing what random writers can do.
fuckmydick809 said...
Oct. 27, 2010 at 3:51 pm
this is great! you have a great take on life!
beast tamer 8008 said...
Oct. 27, 2010 at 3:49 pm
This is soooooooooooo good! and also i agree!
jellybeanjoker545 said...
Oct. 27, 2010 at 3:47 pm
This is amazing aand you 're an excellent writer! And you are so right! Why tie yourself down with one career when you could experiment with a lot of fun ones instead?!
VincentD2997 said...
Oct. 27, 2010 at 11:12 am
I agree with you completly. If you are not happy in life then you are not done yet and you still have alot to do in your life. great job on the wrighting. don't give up your attitude twords this subject
lnvo97 said...
Oct. 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm
this is really good!!! and i totally agree with you!!! a person is never sure what they're gonna be, but many of them are just fine being happy... GREAT WORK!!!!!!!!!!! =D
Kyle XY said...
Oct. 15, 2010 at 2:20 pm
No matter how often we are asked what we want to do in the future, we always reply with this rehersed answer. i totally agree that whenever we were asked this question, we would reply with an answer that was sort of like a dream. i've always felt this way too.
MillerK said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 3:26 pm
I totally agree with this topic. I find the story about being a grocery clerk as your dream when you were little was pretty funny and I know how it is not to know what you want to do with the rest of your life. I struggle with this and everytime someone asks me what i want to do with my life i simply say.. whatever makes me happy. No i haven't found that yet but I hope to God I do! Just takes time i guess, but i won't settle for anything less than happiness.
nanyehi said...
Sept. 25, 2010 at 9:26 pm
I can relate to this article and thank you for writing it. My aunt is 43 and single with no children or "significant other." She still says the same thing to me and my sister. "I just want to be happy. I will not work at a job that I don't like." She may not be making alot of money at her job, and in this day in age that can be more problematic than you may realize, but she likes her job most of the time. She jokes that it is a love-hate relationship, but she loves it more than despising it, and... (more »)
BaLd4EvEr said...
Aug. 18, 2010 at 5:04 pm
i totally agree with u, I am always saying that I dont care what I do, as long as i'm happy :)
SKN17 said...
Jul. 21, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Oooh, So Absolutely TRUE! Rather than being pressurized to choose a career, I woild be grateful if someone came along and said that what I did din't matter so long as I remained happy :)


Wicked-princess replied...
Aug. 12, 2010 at 2:03 pm
agreed what ever we want to be should be good enough
xxzoE said...
Jul. 10, 2010 at 7:33 pm
beautifully written! that is defiantly true. I don't know what i want to be when i grow up but to help you make a decision try as many different things as you can get your hands on.
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