From the age of 5 years old most kids go to school and then from there they are always busy. We are thrown into musicals, ballet, piano lessons, soccer practices, pageant competitions and told what to wear, how to act, who to be. When we enter middle school we feel lost and are grasping for some kind of tangible identity. Then comes high school when we define ourselves by those things we use to occupy our time: volleyball, theatre, working, academics, etc. From there we have a world of opportunities and have to decide what we want to do, what we want to be “when we grow up.” That’s the key phrase everyone asks: What do you want to be when you grow up? Well, I’m twenty years old and I’m still asking myself that. At forty years old I will still ask myself that. And at sixty years old I will ask myself the same question.
Who we want to be has always seemed like a destination in our lives, but I’ve come to learn that it isn’t an ending but rather a beginning. School, sports, theatre, and jobs have always occupied my time. I’ve never once had time to just do nothing, not be defined by any labels. So, in college, I do the same thing. I occupy my time with school, clubs, my sorority, and any other activities I can pile onto my constantly shrinking plate. Now, as I’m studying abroad in Madrid, Spain. I am immersed in a culture where classes do not consume my life and I have all the free time in the world to do anything-- to do what? What do I do with all this free time? I’m not rushing to a meeting. I’m not headed to the second shift of my third job. I’m looking at a long four months and constantly being asked: what do I want to do? And this leads me to the real problem.
I’ve never had time to know what I truly want to do because I don’t know who I am. I’m still figuring that out. But I’m not some lost soul floating out in the ocean alone because none of us truly know who we are. Every day we learn something new about ourselves. So, my response is not to the question of what I want to be when I grow up but rather who do I choose to be.
At first, it’s discouraging to think that I’m still figuring this whole life thing out but it’s actually exciting; I can’t wait to take these next four months and find out who I am so I am no longer defined by school.