what do you want to be when you grow up?

You know your mom asked you this thousands of times when you were a kid. Oh, and your dad asked you this, too. And your uncle. And your Grandma. And your other uncle…
When you were little you would say something like, “a fireman!”, and then later you realized there were jobs out there were you could be something other than a policeman(woman), or a fireman(woman), or a doctor, or a teacher.

Then people started telling you what you should want to be: a doctor. Because everyone is destined to become a doctor, because the only successful career option is in the medical field (oh, and because you can make a lot of money being a doctor, sweetie).

Then maybe you decided to be a doctor. Then you told your mom and your dad and both uncles and your half-cousin that you were going to be a doctor. And maybe you became a doctor.

Or maybe, just maybe, you wanted to be something else, wanted to do something else. While the world was pulling at you to be something you didn’t want to be, you knew deep down in your heart what you wanted. You knew what you wanted to be when you grew up. For the first time in your life, after being asked that question since you were a tiny little person, you could answer and hear the answer ring true.

Hey, congratulations. You know what you’re doing. I like to think that I know what I’m doing. I didn’t for a long time. I started college at the ripe old age of 16; thrown into a big world with a lot of important decisions to make.

You always think you’re really mature. Even when you’re 16. You always feel old. Anyway, I was smart enough to know that I didn’t want to do what other people wanted me to do. I had myself figured out enough to know what did and didn’t make me happy. And it took about four years, but I finally mustered up enough self-identity to confirm to the world that I had found my answer: a writer.

I knew I was right. I knew my choice was right, and I was happy with it. I filled out the paperwork at my school and became a Writing major, Philosophy and Psychology minor. It all felt very me. I chose what I wanted for me.

I know there are people out there (maybe you) who became doctors, or who will become doctors, or who will become whatever they’re expected by their family to become. I’ve met these people. I spent so much time with them. I think they helped me realize (or acknowledge to myself) that I didn’t want to become what other people wanted. I wanted to be what I wanted to be. My own person, My own life.

I want so much for everyone to be what they want to be.

Who wants their doctor* to have become a doctor* because they were prescribed to become one? (pun)

*insert any job title here

Why can’t nurses just be preschool teachers? Why can’t that be okay? Why is “successful” only included in the description of ridiculously-high-paying jobs? How do we get “money” not to matter so much to our society? How do we get important things to matter?

Why can’t we answer the question honestly?

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