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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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CupcakeSaffy said...
Sept. 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm
This was a brilliant piece. To my shame, my answer was much worse than yours. I was four, and I said I wanted to be an alien. No joke... And now, when I say I want to be a writer, people look at me as if that is just as ridiculous. It's awful being asked that question, "what do you want to be when you grow up?". I like and completely agree with your answer.
soldout replied...
Sept. 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm
That IS funny, bt don't feel bad. You're allowed to be wacky when you're little, it's practically a law! So, ok, the author of this piece? You're right! It's crazy that you wanted to work in a grocery store, and that as you get older there is more pressure on exactly what our life ambitions are. Some people have dreams from the beginning of their lives, others like you and me are still thinking about it. You're not alone in this, I can tell u that!
JusticeLiberty said...
Aug. 21, 2011 at 1:31 pm
I love this article! It really captures how you feel... and how a lot of teens out there feel as well! The last two paragraphs were so strong and so inspiring! Keep up the good work!
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?
Clear_Skies replied...
Aug. 21, 2011 at 11:59 am
Well, what's the point of life if you don't enjoy it? Why live when all you are going to do is try to be successful?
Sara D. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm
That was exactly the point I was trying to get across! Everyone wants happiness and success does not always give that to us.
jesus_saves replied...
Aug. 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm
Yes. I see what you mean, but don't you think the point of life is to live for Gods Glory?  Lets say I would be succsess ful if I corked for Coca Cola, but I really want to work for sonic cause it make me happy, but Jesus wants me to work at Target. I would work for Target because its what Jesus wants me to do.
Sara D. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 23, 2011 at 3:54 pm
Some people wouldn't agree with your views on God, or even the existence of a God, so that's up to each individual person.
Luz64 replied...
Sept. 14, 2011 at 3:44 pm
Isn't God all about love and being happy? God wants us to be happy. He would want you to do the thing that makes you happy. Just saying. :)
teeninkwasspilledhere replied...
Sept. 14, 2011 at 6:33 pm
Just to settle the argument right here, I think you all have different versions of what the word "happiness" means, and that's wonderful. Happiness is different for every person. The religious one becomes happy by doing jesus's will, which is great for him/her. The atheist has something else to bring him/her satisfaction...To each his own- different streaks for different freaks :)
jesus_saves replied...
Sept. 14, 2011 at 10:05 pm
But the deal is even thouhg both belive that they are experiencing "happiness" only one is truly experiencing pure Joy. And that is the one thatfeels jesus casue with out jesus then no one can truly b joyful.
teeninkwasspilledhere replied...
Sept. 15, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Ok, Ok. So you're experiencing true joy. enJOY it.

The other people are experiencing "happiness" but they are ignorant of the TRUE JOy. Well, ignorance is bliss. Let them enjoy their bliss and enjoy your joy.

And I'll enjoy mine. THE END.

jesus_saves replied...
Sept. 15, 2011 at 5:04 pm
i guess. *sigh* but it makes me sad to know that others are ignorant of the elation i am feeling...
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!
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. 
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! 
RockGirl182 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 ! 
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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