When I Grow Up | Teen Ink

When I Grow Up MAG

April 24, 2009
By Sara Dickinson BRONZE, Wyckoff, New Jersey
Sara Dickinson BRONZE, Wyckoff, New Jersey
2 articles 3 photos 3 comments

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.



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This article has 205 comments.


MillerK said...
on 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...
on Sep. 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 she is energized once she walks through the door. I was glad to read that people my age can also believe the same way.

Mickee BRONZE said...
on Aug. 18 2010 at 5:04 pm
Mickee BRONZE, Yorktown Heights, New York
4 articles 1 photo 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
Erica Albright (Rooney Mara): "You are going to go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a nerd. And I want you to know from the bottom of my heart that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole."

Mark Zuckerberg: "I think if your clients want to sit on my shoulders and call themselves tall, they have the right to give it a try, but there's no requirement that I enjoy sitting here listening to people lie. You have part of my attention - you have the minimum amount. The rest of my attention is back at the offices of Facebook, where my colleagues and I are doing things that no one in this room, including and especially your clients, are intellectually or creatively capable of doing. Did I adequately answer your condescending question?

"You're not the same as you were before, You were much more...muchier...you've lost your muchness."
I feel like I just found out my favorite love song was written about a sandwich.

i totally agree with u, I am always saying that I dont care what I do, as long as i'm happy :)

on Aug. 12 2010 at 2:03 pm
agreed what ever we want to be should be good enough

on Jul. 21 2010 at 12:06 pm
Eternally17 SILVER, Dubai, Other
5 articles 7 photos 99 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There exists no heaven and no hell, nothing to look forward to after we have gone to ashes; live every moment NOW, and make things happen the way you want to in this lifetime; not the next."

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 :)

Well-written!


xxzoE SILVER said...
on Jul. 10 2010 at 7:33 pm
xxzoE SILVER, Ringwood East, Other
7 articles 5 photos 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. ~Henry Ward Beecher

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.

on Jun. 10 2010 at 10:15 am
ericers123 GOLD, Chester, Other
13 articles 3 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
"People never change, circumstances do."- Me.

Wow, i SO agree.. happiness should be the last stop. This was inspiring, thank you!

Everhart said...
on Apr. 25 2010 at 12:00 am
Everhart, Boston, Massachusetts
0 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I am a fat girl, trapped in a normal girl's body."

So true. That's just awesome.

on Mar. 10 2010 at 9:31 am
prichino ceparra, Stockton, California
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
ITS SORT OF RIGHT IN SOME WAY. WHEN WE ARE YOUNGER OF COURSE WE ARE CONFUSED OF LIFE, WE STILL HAVEN'T LIVED ENOUGH TO KNOW WHAT WE WANT OR WHAT REALLY MAKES US HAPPY. AS WE LIVE EXPERIENCES WE LEARN TO KNOW OURSELVES BETTER. ALTHOUGH BUT THE TIME YOU GET TO YOUR JUNIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL YOU SHOULD FOR SURE KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO BE. OF COURSE FOR THIS TO HAPPEN YOU NEED TO KNOW YOURSELF AND KNOW WHAT YOUR GOOD AT AND WHAT YOUR NOT GOOD AT. THERE IS A LOT OF RESEARCH ALSO THAT YOU MIGHT WANT TO DO. SOMETIMES SCHOOLS LEAVE YOU THOSE ASSIGNMENTS TO RESEARCH CAREERS YOU ARE INTEREST IN. FOR YOU TO KNOW WHAT YO WANT TO BE YOU ALSO HAVE TO DO THIS RESEARCH FOR YOURSELF AND ALSO TAKE PERSONALITY QUIZZES SO YOU CAN KNOW WHAT YOUR OPTIONS ARE!

on Feb. 9 2010 at 8:26 pm
slightlymad BRONZE, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
“I can't dislike you, but I will say this to you: you haven't got long before you are all going to kill yourselves, because you are all crazy. And you can project it back at me ... but I am only what lives inside each and every one of you.”

That is, if you grow up.

kikid94 GOLD said...
on Feb. 6 2010 at 5:14 pm
kikid94 GOLD, Linwood, New Jersey
10 articles 0 photos 3 comments
This is really good! I love it :)

on Jan. 24 2010 at 6:44 pm
alwayssunshine PLATINUM, Charlotte, North Carolina
24 articles 5 photos 147 comments
Wow, very insightful and incredibly true!

on Dec. 29 2009 at 4:41 pm
morgie7<3 PLATINUM, Tremont, Illinois
34 articles 0 photos 93 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
~Michael Jordan

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 :)

Dominica said...
on Dec. 23 2009 at 8:50 am
Dominica, Middlesboro, Kentucky
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
Hateful!

I totally agree. I mean, I'm a senior about to head off to college and I still have no clue as to what I'm going to decide to be, I have a few ideas, but they haven't been narrowed down to just one as of yet.

ash2011 GOLD said...
on Dec. 22 2009 at 5:56 pm
ash2011 GOLD, Middletown, Ohio
10 articles 5 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
I'm Just one of those regular weird people- Janis Joplin

i agree,im 16 and even though i have a pretty good idea of what i want to be the question is how? how am i going to be this? everythings so hard in our teen years,they are our toughest years and we are expected to know exactly what we want and go for it. Our parents just dont understand that the pressure we go through these days are worse than they did its totally different

GiSELA SILVER said...
on Dec. 20 2009 at 10:59 pm
GiSELA SILVER, Escondido, California
7 articles 0 photos 53 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is about doing things people said you couldn't do.

Nice very nice!(:

Nuwanda said...
on Dec. 13 2009 at 3:20 pm
I agree with you on this. I'm a 10th grader in high school and personally I have no clue what I want to be...sometime that drives my dad crazy every time he askes...but I'm 16 years old, things change, why should I worry about something that is going to change in a few years anyway.

Getting back to the point, I think you did a job of capturing a sitation a lot of teens find themselves in. :)

on Dec. 13 2009 at 12:49 am
SerenityMine BRONZE, Not Saying, California
2 articles 0 photos 156 comments
That was a great article and it was very encouraging to know I'm not the only one who doesn't know what they want to be when they grow up!

Meljac12 said...
on Dec. 6 2009 at 2:53 pm
I sincerely hope you continue writing from the heart. This was very well written and relatable. You should be very proud of yourself. Thank you for writing this and who knows, maybe you have a career in writing. Hope to see your work published in the future.

KonyaB!!! GOLD said...
on Nov. 13 2009 at 4:24 pm
KonyaB!!! GOLD, Edison, New Jersey
14 articles 0 photos 99 comments
That really is the main thing everyone's worried about...what kind of a job you have and what you make. They think that the choices you make determines whether you are a smart, or dumb or not. They don't ever think that the choices are based on the happiness of that person.

Really good essay! More people should read it, and it has a strong and powerful messge in it...happiness.