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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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Casey L. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 20, 2009 at 3:30 pm
Nice job!
This is something we can all relate to :-)
 
Ikutorocks12 said...
Jul. 6, 2009 at 6:57 pm
This is very good, and interesting. Right now someone I know is applying to university, so it got me thinking on my 'dream job'. But to be honest I have absolutely no idea! School is putting so much pressure on at the moment, and so I think focusing on being happy seems to be the best bet.
 
individualJess said...
Jun. 23, 2009 at 8:28 pm
I seemed to have read this at the perfect time, since grade 4 i have been certain of what i wanted to be when I grow up, however now i find myself questioning it, aswell as what I want out of life. i now totally agree with you. achieving happiness should be our offivial goal.I am filled with peace and confidence at the prospect of my future
 
Mona S. said...
Jun. 22, 2009 at 6:13 pm
I LIKE IT:) IT IS COOL!
 
Valkyrie_123This 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...
Jun. 22, 2009 at 6:53 am
this is so good!!!!
 
brookiemonsterx said...
Jun. 13, 2009 at 3:08 am
I completely agree. Excellent!
 
Wise_Idiot said...
Jun. 10, 2009 at 1:17 am
I agree.

By the way, there are these neat Self Checkout thingies at Wal-Mart, and you can swipe your own stuff. I've spent hours there. :D
 
fandangopink replied...
Oct. 12, 2009 at 8:26 pm
Haha... I know! They're everywhere now. I feel like a true professional. = D
 
xXkittygrrxX said...
Jun. 8, 2009 at 6:58 pm
Only the future can tell when u get their u get their opioions so change
 
chas said...
Jun. 6, 2009 at 2:14 am
i think you are right that opinions and what we want to be when we grow up change a lot. i also think that it is important to chose a carrer that we will be happy doing. my dad teases about the degree of the day, a syndrom college kids have. keep writing, keep thinking, keep going. bye
 
*peace* said...
May 30, 2009 at 3:49 am
I agree with this. I don't think we will even know what we want to do when we grow up and are out on our own. Life is about taking a journey and finding your happiness, and when we find it I believe we are in the right place.
 
Ryan M. said...
May 29, 2009 at 10:37 pm
This was GREAT
 
Olivea said...
May 26, 2009 at 10:16 pm
Sara I agree compleatly. Yes we are older than we were, but in two years from now we will be older still, and two years from then, and two years from then... we will always be changing. How is a person supposed to make one choice and have it define the rest of their lives- we all make mistakes! All I really want is to be happy.
 
Alyssa J. said...
May 17, 2009 at 8:04 pm
I COMPLETELY AGREE! Its hard for me to go to school for fear of teachers pressuring about colleges daily. I want to be able to be a teenager without thinking about how I'm going to live my life as an adult. I'm glad I'm not alone :)
 
DinosoarJen This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 17, 2009 at 4:28 pm
I agree.
Happiness is key.
 
Jaynellzfosho said...
May 8, 2009 at 1:54 pm
I love this!
"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?"

I just did a poem/story of what I was planning to do when I get older in my writer's workshop class, and I couldn't think of what I re... (more »)
 
PolitiansR4theGood14932 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 7, 2009 at 9:39 pm
I completely agree
 
oswaldaJane said...
May 5, 2009 at 9:16 pm
This article is so true!Now that I'm a in 10 grade,people consantly ask this question.However when I say I don't know it is alawys a shock. Nice to see someone understand!
 
Redsoxrule12 said...
May 3, 2009 at 12:11 pm
Oh my Gosh! that was so amazing! the points you brought out were true and inspirational!
 
Kaylee_big_sis_of_3 said...
May 3, 2009 at 1:35 am
This is so inspiring and I totally agree with you. Keep writing!!!!
 
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