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 206 comments.

soldout said...
on Sep. 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!

Luz64 said...
on Sep. 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. :)

on Sep. 12 2011 at 9:00 pm
AddieDay SILVER, Danville, California
7 articles 0 photos 24 comments
I love the way you capture the idea that it's ok to change your life's dreams--and how ridiculously we answered when we were little. When I was four, my cousin, whom I loved and tried to copy in all things, was in elementary school. My life's amibition was to go to elementary school myself. My parents will never stop teasing me, saying that I have already reached my life's goals. So yeah, we're all a little crazy at that age!

Brin11 BRONZE said...
on Sep. 12 2011 at 4:19 pm
Brin11 BRONZE, Gilmer, Texas
4 articles 0 photos 18 comments

that would be kind of cool, being a tornado! (how about a story from its perspective....?)


Brin11 BRONZE said...
on Sep. 12 2011 at 4:18 pm
Brin11 BRONZE, Gilmer, Texas
4 articles 0 photos 18 comments
it takes even more of a risk to not decide at all....but it is a hard choice. 

on Sep. 12 2011 at 2:46 pm
CupcakeSaffy PLATINUM, Cochrane, Other
20 articles 0 photos 28 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away."

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.

on Aug. 23 2011 at 3:54 pm
Sara Dickinson BRONZE, Wyckoff, New Jersey
2 articles 3 photos 3 comments
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.

on Aug. 21 2011 at 2:20 pm
jesus_saves GOLD, San Antonio, Texas
10 articles 2 photos 57 comments

Favorite Quote:
You know somethings wrong when you can't share your thoughts with your self.
-Sadie P. Jackson

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.

on Aug. 21 2011 at 1:31 pm
JusticeLiberty BRONZE, Portland, Oregon
1 article 0 photos 15 comments

Favorite Quote:
"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
Aldous Huxley

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!

on Aug. 21 2011 at 12:15 pm
Sara Dickinson BRONZE, Wyckoff, New Jersey
2 articles 3 photos 3 comments
That was exactly the point I was trying to get across! Everyone wants happiness and success does not always give that to us.

on Aug. 21 2011 at 11:59 am
AlwaysAntlers SILVER, Kingsport, Tennessee
5 articles 0 photos 72 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Don't forget - no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.”
― Charles de Lint, (from his book,The Blue Girl)

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?

on Aug. 21 2011 at 10:50 am
jesus_saves GOLD, San Antonio, Texas
10 articles 2 photos 57 comments

Favorite Quote:
You know somethings wrong when you can't share your thoughts with your self.
-Sadie P. Jackson

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?

cookiegirl said...
on 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.

on Jul. 30 2011 at 9:23 pm
CeceDeSol BRONZE, Issaquah, Washington
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
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! 

on Jul. 30 2011 at 2:28 pm
just-another-url GOLD, Cannes, Other
16 articles 6 photos 151 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It's a good thing to be strange. Normalness leads to sadness." -Philip Lester

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 ! 

on Jun. 28 2011 at 7:06 pm
Philosophication GOLD, McKinney, Texas
12 articles 3 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
"This above all: To thine own self be true."
William Shakespeare's Hamlet

"To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid."

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...

M0429 said...
on Jun. 26 2011 at 8:28 pm
M0429, Memphis, Tennessee
0 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? – Epicurus

**** that, teapots win!

on May. 29 2011 at 8:15 am
BVBlover BRONZE, Glasgow, Other
4 articles 0 photos 9 comments

I'm in 2nd year of secondary school about to go into 3rd year and my dad thinks it's outrageous that we, at 13, are being expected to know what we want to do when we are in our 30s 40s or 50s.

i am quite a hard headed person and already know what i want to do (forensic pathologist) but i sympathise with the many teens who don't know yet.

on May. 12 2011 at 8:43 pm

When I was four, I wanted to be a paleontologist. None of the other kids knew what that was.

When I was seven, I wanted to be an astromarinebiologist. None of the other kids knew what that was, either.

Now I just want to be a writer. I've simplified. o_o

on Apr. 11 2011 at 5:47 pm
sweet_silent_surenity GOLD, Puyallup, Washington
16 articles 0 photos 52 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved- loved for ourselves or rather, loved in spite of ourselves." -Victor Hugo-

I never changed my asperation to be a teacer. Now I wonder, often in fact, if that's really what I want to be... or if I just keep holding onto that dream. I never really know.