What do you want to be when you grow up? A very simple phrase that is probably one of the most important that you’ll hear. I wonder if you remember where you were in your life when you first heard this phrase. I imagine the first time that you heard it, it probably was with a very elated tone. The wondrous possibilities that lay in the future of a young child. Yet, you probably grew less and less fond of the phrase as you grew older, because it no longer was something that you could dream about, it was something that you had to do. Life is a cruel mistress, in that early on you feel like you can do anything, and that the world is yours for the taking. It’s only when you grow up that you realize that you have limitations, physical, academic, financial, and such. There are many obstacles that stand in your way the older you get. Suddenly, what you wanted to be when you grew up is no longer a possibility, and you’re stuck in this world in a place that you probably despise.
Needless to say, when you were young, the phrase didn’t hold much meaning for you. It was something that you dreamt about, and the possibilities were endless. As you got older, it became more and more serious of a question. Suddenly, you were probably coming to the end of your high school career, maybe even before then, but it was one of the most stressful phrases that there was. What you wanted to do with your life, became what are you going to do with your life. There was no longer any time for dreaming, there was only time for action. I feel that we are “groomed” from such a young age to always think about the future. I mean, we are only around 15 years old when we have to decide what profession we want to do for the rest of our, roughly around 80 years, life.
I know that I am probably overemphasizing the importance of this phrase in our lives, but to me, it is still something that haunts me to this day. I am twenty-something years old, didn’t complete a 4-year degree, still live at home. I have no idea what I am going to do for the rest of my life! By now, most of the people that I went to high school with are already in their “professional” careers, getting married, having kids, making a ton of money (in comparison) and leading what seem to be, amazing lives. I know that everything you see on social media is simply the best parts of someone’s life, but it doesn’t make it sting any less. I am at an age and a point in my life where what I want to do with my life, is what I am doing with my life. The fact that I am stagnated, mostly due to my mental illness, is crushing me.
The reason I wrote this article, is to question why we use this phrase. Why do we ask kids what they want to do with their lives? We shouldn’t make young people choose something that will determine the whole outcome of their lives when they are still running around a playground. The thing is, and the truth is, we cannot do anything we set our minds to. That may just be the depression talking, but if you take a real hard look, hard work can only get you so far. Granted, there are people in this world that can do anything they set their hearts on, through hard work alone. I am saying, that we cannot and should not tell everyone that they can do anything they want with their lives. There are too many variables, too many things that can change or go wrong. We should let the youth decide on their own what it is they want. Not drill into their heads every day that they need to make a decision before life passes them by. Life is so long these days that you can be in your 30’s and still figuring out what to do with your life because if you’re lucky, you still have 40 plus years to go! The point of the matter is, do whatever the hell you damn well please because I’m just some guy on the internet who has no idea what I want to do with my life, and have no reason to be telling you what to do with yours.
See more from me at my site: Smiles We Bear