Sunday, April 19, 2015

Chapter Two: You Can Do Anything You Want...... Except That.

For as long as I can remember, as kids we've always been told "You can be anything you want to be!" or "You can do anything that you want to do, so long as you set your mind to it." It didn't matter how unrealistic it was. If we said we wanted to be a princess or an A-List Hollywood actress or a pop star, our parents would laugh and say, "Alright, then you can be (fill in the blank)."

About a month or so ago, my dad showed us a clip of the CBS show "60 Minutes". They targeted what we call the "Millennials". In case you didn't know, these were the people born between 1981 and 1997. They began talking about, as I pointed out above, how our parents told us we could be anything we wanted. But as we continued to grow older, those dreams started looking extremely far away and bleak. All those fantasy dreams turned out to be what they really are: dreams. And we can dream all we want, but we know that it'll be one in a million chances of ever getting even close to where we wanted to be in our teen years or even in our early adult lives when we still dream on. But before we realise it, we'll blink and we'll be like everyone else. We'll have normal factory or office jobs, or the typical doctor, builder, firefighter, police officer-like careers. We'll have families to take care of, bills to pay, and student loans to pay off from college. One day we'll look back and see that our dreams were childish and naive.

But these things that our parents tell us, about being "anything we want if we work hard enough", can we not consider these things lies? I mean, for example, take the whole "Believing in Santa" thing. Parents tell their kids "Santa is real. Leave a plate of cookies and a glass of milk and when he comes down the chimney, he'll deliver your presents and eat and drink the snack you leave him." and "Be good, or Santa will put you on the naughty list and you won't get any presents." But as kids grow up, they realise the truth; the truth that Santa isn't real, and the people who deliver their Christmas presents and the people who eat the cookies and milk, are, in fact, their own parents. To be honest, it's crushing, or so I've heard. So is that really any different from telling kids that they can be anything that they want to be? Personally, I don't think so.

My parents have always been straight shooters for as long as I can remember. If you knew my family, you would know that they are loud, brutally honest, eccentric, accident prone people. They never told me or any of my siblings lies about Santa being real, they told us the truth. Santa was not real and it was meant to just be fun. But like 95 percent of parents, I'm pretty sure that they let us dream and fantasise about being whatever we wanted to be. But unlike the 95 percent of parents who did that, they began telling us earlier in life that we needed to get our heads in the real world. They didn't wait until we were mid-teens or early adults. They did their best to kick it out of us by the time we were between ten or twelve years.

For me, that was, I guess a struggle. I'll be completely honest, if you met me, you would question if I even lived in the real world. I'm a daydreamer. I daydream for about 80 percent of the time that I'm awake. Even before bed, like everyone, I fantasise about being this and that. But as I continue to grow older, the cold, hard truth is hitting me, almost like a ton of bricks. Throughout my short life, I've wanted to be a writer, artist, fashion designer, wedding planner, bull rider, and my latest dream, a performer on Broadway. I'll be the first to say that most of these were phases. If there was ever one that stuck with me throughout the years and through all these other phases, it was definitely being a writer. Writing for me is my escape, other than music. I was talking with one of my friends at school and he told me, "The pavement is my escape, like the pen is yours." Writing has given me the freedom to express myself, or me to put my overactive imagination and day dreaming to work, as well as doing something more productive than just playing games on my phone or surfing the internet for hours on end.

What this also goes along with, is that age old question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" This was a question asked in my geography and world history class. Our teacher made all of us in the room state what we wanted to be. In a way, I was surprised at how many "I don't knows" there were. At the same time I wasn't. It was a little under half of the class that stated that simple statement. But to me, I feel as if half of those students who said "I don't know" once had or still have a dream that had been shot down more than once and they're just too embarrassed to say something that sounds so one-in-a-million chanced. The other half I believe, just haven't given it much thought or really actually don't know. But it makes me wonder how different some of those "I don't know" answers would be if parents would just tell their kids the truth from the get-go. Just to throw in, my answer when it came to this was a dental hygienist.

The thing about choosing a career, is that, even though it may not be your dream job, are you happy doing it? When you choose a logical career, here's what I think that every person should think about:

  1. Am I going to wake up everyday and moan that I have to go to work or am I going to wake up and be happy that I'm going to work? (Yes, there will always be days when we won't want to go, but hopefully you understand what I am saying)
  2. Does it pay the bills?
  3. Is this a job that you can keep for a long while?
  4. How will the hours effect my family/homelife
  5. What are the pros of this job?
  6. What are the cons?
That is just a short list. You'll always have more to think about. But these are the ones that come to mind as of right now. My mom has never wasted a breath telling me that "I need to get my head in the real world." and my dad has never forgotten to ever tell me that "Writing books isn't going to pay the bills." Since I had a fascination with pulling my own teeth when I was younger, (which is the reason why I never needed braces) and I even pull my younger siblings teeth, my mom suggested a career in dentistry. I was, and still am, extremely reluctant. Do I enjoy pulling teeth? Yes. Do I really want to do it as a career for the rest of my life? Absolutely not. That's where the factor of happiness comes in. Yes, I realise that you have to make money. Yes, I realise that you need a job. Yes, I realise that there are plenty of things that you must do in life that you'll never be happy doing. But to do a job for the rest of your life and be unhappy? I'm not sure how I feel about that. But for me, it's like, my safety net. I have no other option at this point. I'm not far from graduating and going off to college, which makes it even more stressful. Therefore, when I think about this whole career in dentistry, is makes me wonder what is more important: Money and supporting a family and being stable in my job or happiness? Is being miserable your entire life really worth the money you'll make to support your family? I'm still not sure. Before you throw stones, I know how selfish I sound. But please, before you throw your stones, think of all the impossible dreams that you've had, the dreams that were shot down by everyone, the dreams that you still hold secretly in your heart while you pursue a more realistic career. Then you are free to throw your stones. 

I feel as if people who have natural God-given talents are much luckier than people such as myself who don't have that natural ability. People with raw talent given by God almost, like, have their future already said and done and secure. Which makes people without that, a little more at a loss. But I also feel as if everyone has a given ability. Some of us just haven't found it yet. We just need to keep searching. 

So when you think about careers and such, keep in mind what you should ask yourself. And when you grow up to be parents what will you tell your kids? 

Tell me what you have to say and what you think is right. Leave a comment!

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