Thoughts on First Day of School

I am 20 and I am in college and I am at that point where people have stopped asking me what I want to be when I grow up.

Did I forget to notice when they stopped because I was too busy getting older? I can’t even tell them that when I was little I wanted to be a rockstar anymore. No, no one’s buying that. Because now I have to have my life together.

When I was little – when was that? I don’t think I’ll ever be big. I don’t think I’ll ever sit down one day and think to myself, well, here it is. I’m big. I’m all grown up now. This is the me I thought I’d be when people asked me about my future.

I am still little and I still don’t know what I want to be.

I wish people would still ask me that question. Ask me, the opposite of little with my long arms and lanky legs, what I want to be when I grow up even though most people have to tilt their chin upward to meet my eyes. Because I have an answer still. We all have an answer still.

I want to be a rockstar. I want to be a journalist, I want to be a super model, I want to write for fashion magazines and fly on expensive jets to important meetings sipping on alcoholic beverages that I can’t pronounce. I want to design video games, I want to write for a comedy television series, I want to be a teacher. I want to be a songwriter, an editor, a blogger, a poet – maybe I’ll even be homeless. Especially if I choose any of the most recent career paths mentioned.

Then there’s those people who try to break out of the mold of choosing a precise “what they want to be.” We all hate those people a little. Those people are cop-outs. They want think they will go wherever life takes them and be fine with it, so they all say, “whatever I do I just want to be happy.”

I don’t just want to be happy. Oh god no.

I just want to be happy sounds like something a person sitting in a circle of chairs who just announced “Hi my name is Kate and I’m an alcoholic” just said. Or someone lying on their back on a sofa staring at a ceiling discussing how they made daisy chains in their childhood.

If I want anything for my life, I don’t want that boxed-up plastic smiles white picket fence no shoes on the carpet and no elbows on the table “just being happy.” Where is the raw ache of a heart that’s been ripped in two, the searing frustration of hate, the emptiness of being alone, the fullness of loving someone you’ve lost, the fullness of just loving someone, that makes us alive? I don’t want to be happy. I want to be sad. Depressed. Elated. Jealous and ignorant and spiteful and carefree and nervous and terrified and hopeful. Other people want to be happy, they want to be orthodontists and helicopter pilots but all I know for sure is that I want to be.

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