Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

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


More by this author
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.




Join the Discussion

This article has 179 comments. Post your own now!

andrea said...
May 1, 2009 at 10:44 pm
Great for you Sara,this is a wonderful thing you wrote,is good to know that HAPPINESS,is where we will find more success in life..love to see you in a blog
 
Meghan said...
May 1, 2009 at 1:18 am
I agree. There is a lot of pressure but some of us know hat we want to do until we are 50! I know I want to be a lawyer. I think the real question is how are we going to get to where we want to be?
 
Lostinbooks This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 30, 2009 at 11:21 pm
Yes! It's like, you kind of know what you want to do, but how? Goals seem so far away.
 
Sarah-Lou said...
May 1, 2009 at 12:44 am
Well done! I think you're right; we shouldn't be pressured into making a decision so young. You never know how different you may feel in the future and you don't want to make a bad choice. To pick a career, you have to think carefully about every aspect of the job, where you are in life now, and where you want to be, then its all up to you to make your dream of "happiness" come true. I think you nicely illustrated this: nice article.
 
MimiRocks96 said...
May 1, 2009 at 12:30 am
I really like ur story and it is very intresting i love ur ideas!!
 
sarafan2 said...
Apr. 30, 2009 at 11:14 pm
wow sara, this is so amazing! you completely encompass how i've been feeling for awhile now. your words inspire me.. actually, when i grow up.. i think i wanna be you.
 
angiegirl said...
Apr. 30, 2009 at 4:55 pm
Hi,its amazing to see a young girl to see life in such a wat,i have teenagers at home and makesme proud to see that young teens can be so tougtful.Good luck with whatever you chosse to do in life,be happy.
 
peepeeface(: said...
Apr. 30, 2009 at 1:30 pm
hey, i think this is very VERY good !
 
peepeeface(: said...
Apr. 30, 2009 at 1:29 pm
haha, i wanted to be the same thing too
 
GunterPee said...
Apr. 30, 2009 at 1:07 pm
This is so wonderful, and true. I've always felt the same way, just never knew how to put it in words. Thanks! props to you my friend :)
P.S. I think you might have a future in writting!
 
Aunt D said...
Apr. 30, 2009 at 11:21 am
Now here is a young woman who knows what is important. "Be Happy" and your life path will always feel right.
 
Corine Fisher said...
Apr. 30, 2009 at 3:39 am
wow what a talented writer... im in a similar situation ..my best friend is in between two colleges one will make her happy and the other will make her successful. I wish she would read this and make the right choice and be happy
 
beddastella2@aim.com said...
Apr. 29, 2009 at 10:37 pm
i agree :) nice story!!!!
 
kika said...
Apr. 29, 2009 at 4:26 am
o.m.g. this is so true, I'm barley a freshman and I getting a lot of pressure on what to decide to be.
 
sandra L. said...
Apr. 28, 2009 at 3:32 pm
The way you put it is just....cant be explained
the pressure we sustain is trmendous
and its nice to see someone realizes that
its nicee to know what you want to be
but you can never really ever be sure until you have knowledge of all the others out there
 
Evynn A. said...
Apr. 27, 2009 at 7:31 pm
That is good! I agree people expected us Teens be like that. Everyone just adds pressures to our lifes!
 
morgie7<3 replied...
Dec. 29, 2009 at 4:41 pm
Wow! It's amazing how many ppl commented on this! Fantastic work! My mom always says that I should do what makes me happy. What's the point in working a job that you miserably hate? Sure, you get paid, but you can get paid for something that you LOVE doing also. Anyway, this is just an amazing view and i give it a ton of stars and am tagging it as a fave :)
 
Jenna C. said...
Apr. 27, 2009 at 9:37 pm
My English teacher (who first showed me this site) once said that teens should'nt have to know what they want to do because some grown-ups have'nt even figured that out yet.
Great job, 5 stars.
 
LaTisha P. said...
Apr. 26, 2009 at 4:33 am
wow...this is so amazing. I hope you don't mind if I repeat a few of your words to my friends.
I want to be a lot of things and all of my options are things that do make me happy.
So you are completely right.
If writing makes you happy you should do that because you are honestly good at it. The thing is that this isn't like some kind of complicated article, it's simple. I want to be happy when I grow up...the simplest,easiest and most honest answer.
 
Site Feedback