What do you want to be when you grow up?
A question that most, if not all of us, were asked beginning at a young age. For most, the answer to that question changes over the years, for some it might not, and for even fewer that dream becomes reality.
However, most of us, whether it be due to our own mistakes or just unfavorable circumstances, do not realize these goals.
For me, the question that has been asked of me most of my life still has no concrete answer. In the past, I thought I had the answer many times, but each time the answer has slipped from my grasp.
For the longest time, I’ve thought that I’ll grow up and do one thing, have one job, one “life.”
That was until I saw a comic from Zach Weinersmith, the creator of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.
The comic, released on Sept. 2, 2012, explores the idea that you only live once. You don’t only live once — your lifetime is split up across multiple lives.
“Most people never let themselves die,” the comic reads. “Some are afraid of death. Some think they are already ghosts. But you have many lives.”
While Weinersmith splits those lives up based on a skill or thing you spend doing during that time, I think it can be better explored by your answer to the age-old question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
For me, the first large shift came the summer before I came to Tech. I was one of the people whose dream did not change or waver throughout all of middle and high school.
In my mind, I was going to play baseball in college and beyond, but it wasn’t meant to be. Due to my own actions, the dream I had for most of my life was no longer going to happen.
For a few months, I was unsure of my future, unsure of what I would become.
Fortunately, that part of my lifetime is just one of many “lives” I can live; the experiences I had are real, but I don’t need to dwell on that singular life when I’ve got so many more to live through. Instead of sulking, I redirected my passion into other things: the newspaper, video games and weight lifting.
I move forward now, knowing that these things will stay with me for the rest of my life, but it’s possible that I will always move onto something new.
College, of all places, seems to be a place that dreams go to die, but at the same time, new ones are born.
Too often, people come to Tech, or college in general, and realize that their dreams don’t match reality. The good thing I’ve seen about most people at Tech, is that they’re resilient and can figure out what they want quickly. But people should also realize that college isn’t the be-all-end-all for the rest of their life.
Their life beyond college may be defined by what they do here, but they may end up in a place way different from what they studied here.
In 2015, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person has held 10 different jobs before the age of 40. That number is expected to grow. Gone are the days of your life dedicated to one company.
Additionally, some people may realize on their first job that their career isn’t what they thought it was. The most important thing to remember is that this is just one life of the many you will live in your lifetime.
“It takes seven years to master something,” Weinersmith says, “If you live to be 88, after age 11, you have 11 opportunities to be great at something.”
So, do not fret when this life does not turn out the way you thought, realize that this is one of many lives you will live in your lifetime.