Can You Really Be Anything? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Intoday's world, one has to wonder, can you really be whatever you want to be whenyou grow up? Now, before any of you go into a tirade about never growing upbecause you're a Toys "R" Us kid, I am trying to act serious andcivilized (for once). So, seriously, can I really be whatever I want when I growup? Whether it is a small time businessman or the CEO of a major company, do Ireally have the choice to be what I want in a society that relies on money andpower?

As kids, we are often asked what we want to be when we grow up.After scoring brownie points by saying, "I want to be just like you, Daddyand Mommy," I added that I wanted to be a fireman (I was five years old). Myparents supported me wholeheartedly, but after experiencing the horrifying thingthat is the movie "Backdraft," I quickly changed my mind. I wanted tobe a cop. Not just any cop, mind you, but a K-9 cop (I was seven, and had justseen the movie "K-9"). My parents again supported me. Then I watchedthe TV show "Cops" and saw how they sent the poor innocent doggy into abuilding to search for the bombs they suspected were in there (a job I am quitesure that the poor innocent little doggy did not volunteer for).

I againchanged my mind, this time to being a lawyer. This time, I believe I lost myfather's support, since he went into a rampage of colorful expletives(surprisingly, most of them had more than four letters) and told me that being alawyer was the path to the Dark Side.

My mother just smiled at me (thefirst sign of trouble) and told me I could still be whatever I wanted. But afterwatching "A Few Good Men" (I watched as a lawyer got screamed at andspit on, a "truth" that I certainly could not handle), seeing "TheFirm" (scary!) and watching the O.J. Simpson trial (O.J. on every channel,at any time!), I changed my mind again. To something that would be morereasonable, less stressful, and a heck of a lot more fun: The President of theUnited States of America! And so, this has been my dream since I was 12.

Now, every time I had changed my mind about what I wanted to be, at least oneof my parents had said "Great" and "Never give up or lose sight ofyour dreams." I was feeling rather positive about my dream, my future, andmyself.

Over the past five years, I developed a whole plan as to how Iwould become President of the United States of America.

I wouldgraduate from high school and go to college to get my degree in political scienceand then law. Then, at age 25, I'd become a member of the Arizona House ofRepresentatives; at 30, I would become a senator, and, by the age of 35, I wouldtake the presidency! After leaving office, I'd be governor of Arizona. It waspure brilliance. Or so I thought. After explaining my theory to my mother, I waspromptly told "In your dreams!" She literally laughed in my face andtold me I would never be President because our family is not perfect enough, notrich enough and not powerful enough. I went to my room, my dream and my egocrushed (no easy task), and wondered if she were right.

Do you reallyneed to have money and the perfect family to be president, or anything else forthat matter? Whatever happened to "You can be anything you set your mindto"? All my life, I have been told this. Whether it comes from our family,teachers, friends, or from that little elf in "Rudolph the Red NosedReindeer" ("I want to be .... I want to be a dentist!"), we areall told that we can be anything we want. Judging from what my mother said, thisis no longer true.

As I researched the presidency, I found that mostpresidents, especially the modern ones, have been rather wealthy, and all of themfrom powerful or rich families. Just as my mother said, none of these men couldhave became president without their power or money. I did more research, and itappears that, regardless of what you want to be, you have to have power and moneyin order to get there. It also appears that just reaching for the stars andsetting your sights on something is no longer good enough, you have to do otherthings. So maybe your parents ought to change the saying to "You can beanything you want to be, as long as you reach the following criteria: (fill inthe blank)."

If that is the case, I feel as though my dreams (all ofthem) are in vain and will never come true. My family is not rich, or powerful,and, trust me, it is nowhere close to being perfect. Besides that, if my ownmother does not believe I have a chance to become president, who will?

However, regardless of not having my mother's faith or being rich andpowerful, I am still going to strive to reach my goal, because "I want to be... I want to be President!"




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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