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.

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.

on Nov. 6 2009 at 2:52 pm
emjay1216 SILVER, Eugene, Oregon
6 articles 3 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
Often times, the test of courage is not to die, but to live.
~ Vittorio Alfieri

im crying now, ok? that was beautifully written. i want to be a juvenille defense attorney. but i never thought about just being happy.

thanks so much. i needed that

Lostinbooks said...
on Oct. 30 2009 at 11:21 pm
Lostinbooks, Arcadia, California
0 articles 0 photos 63 comments
Yes! It's like, you kind of know what you want to do, but how? Goals seem so far away.

fandangopink said...
on Oct. 12 2009 at 8:26 pm
Haha... I know! They're everywhere now. I feel like a true professional. = D

on Aug. 18 2009 at 4:16 pm
Kelly Johnson BRONZE, Silver Spring, Maryland
4 articles 0 photos 11 comments
Actually, I just figured out what i want to be - an electrical engineer. Here I come, NASA!

hannah=(= said...
on Aug. 2 2009 at 2:14 am
hannah=(=, Ossian, Indiana
0 articles 0 photos 23 comments
There are just so many cool jobs out there. I can't pick only one to do for the rest of my life.

MangoMadness said...
on Jul. 31 2009 at 7:59 pm
I'm the opposite, sorta. When I was in preschool, up until about 4th grade, I had no clue what to be. I liked animals, so peole told me I should be a vet. But I had this thing about cutting up animals, or anything that helped them because it made me sad. I didn't know about as many jobs then as now. In fourth grade, when I started trying to write a kid story, I decided I wanted to be an author. I haven't changed my mind, but I've had ideas for others things I could do as well. Thanks for writing this. I hope lots of adults read it!

on Jul. 24 2009 at 2:55 am
NARiNES BRONZE, Valleystream, New York
2 articles 0 photos 6 comments
i srsly dont knw wht i wnt to be either, nd ppl just expect u to knw frm an early age. this is so true

on Jul. 23 2009 at 8:09 pm
Catherine.L BRONZE, Huddersfield, Other
3 articles 0 photos 7 comments
I love the line:

"Happiness is a destination for everyone"

Well written.

on Jul. 21 2009 at 8:19 pm
LoveLikeWoe DIAMOND, LeSueur, MN, Minnesota
54 articles 2 photos 748 comments

Favorite Quote:
Whoever laughs first has the sickest mind.


KCares GOLD said...
on Jul. 20 2009 at 3:30 pm
KCares GOLD, Pepperell, Massachusetts
11 articles 9 photos 4 comments
Nice job!

This is something we can all relate to :-)

on Jul. 6 2009 at 6:57 pm
Ikutorocks12 BRONZE, Doncaster, Other
1 article 0 photos 2 comments
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.

on 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

123mona said...
on Jun. 22 2009 at 6:13 pm
123mona, Fremont, California
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments

on Jun. 22 2009 at 6:53 am
GreenDayFan SILVER, Phoenix, Arizona
7 articles 3 photos 134 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Every story has an end, but in life, every ending is just a new beginning."
-Uptown Girls

this is so good!!!!

on Jun. 13 2009 at 3:08 am
I completely agree. Excellent!

Wise_Idiot said...
on Jun. 10 2009 at 1:17 am
Wise_Idiot, Casper, Wyoming
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
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

on Jun. 8 2009 at 6:58 pm
xXkittygrrxX BRONZE, Wellington, Florida
2 articles 1 photo 5 comments
Only the future can tell when u get their u get their opioions so change

chas said...
on 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...
on May. 30 2009 at 3:49 am
*peace*, Redmond, Oregon
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
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.