What I Want to Be: Ten Years Later

 

What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you think about being an astronaut? Perhaps at one time, when you were a child you wanted to be a doctor and help tons of sick people or a lawyer and show up to court in expensive suits, winning significant cases.

Really, our entire lives, it is always being embossed upon us how important it is to know what you want to do with your life. As high school students, we are continually told to find out who we’re supposed to be, but always being told where we’re supposed to be. This is where the pressure gets turned up for the first time for many of us. Some of us have to go to work for the first time, some play sports year round, there are meetings with counselors discussing your future. “What schools have you thought about applying to?” We are bombarded with pre-tests counting for half a school years worth of work, for which most of us are unprepared; there are ACT’s, SAT’s, extracurricular activity is so very crucial, or so we’re told. But somewhere in the midst of all this, you have to find yourself. You have to make up your mind who it is you are supposed to be and stop letting others place the weight of all of their unanswered & unrealized childhood achievements. We all know what happens if you don’t; you’ve heard it a thousand times. Someone or something else will do it for you.

Never once thought even for one minute that I would be where I am, at twenty-nine years old and ten years out of high school. I have a lot of friends that would probably agree with that. A lot of married friends with children of their own and a lot of single friends; some living like me, in or near a big city/metro area, perhaps writing, as a college drop-out, conceivably in a hospital as a nurse or doctor; doing something they can be proud of. Then, of course, there are some living out their lives as part of a small-town community like the one from which we came, making a difference every day even if the only people who are going to see it that particular day are their children or the little league baseball team they coach, or the kids in their class. Lastly, you have the ones who didn’t make it long enough to see today. The ones who are forever burned into your memory, even if you try and forget them for the hours of sleep you’ve lost; then take it back that you ever wished to omit them and come to grips with the fact that they’re gone. They’re not coming back. They live now only in our hearts, our memories, and in the stories, we’ll tell our children, nieces, and nephews about how much their grandfather would have loved them. Or sit around with old friends and talk about how he was much more than a great personality, more than a good team-mate, but a good and a decent person, with heart for days, who shined so brightly even as young as he was taken from us.


I guess my point is that life is short, it goes by like a lightning bolt that you’re trying to catch with a baseball mitt. So try and slow it down, every chance you get; and don’t let life keep you in a constant hurry. Because no matter how old you are, or what kind of person you are, life is going to throw you curveballs and change-ups. So dig in, sit back in the box, get the one you want, keep your eye on the ball and see it come in slow. No matter if you’re taking the pitch, bunting or swinging away.