“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
How many times were you asked that as a child? I know I was asked it so many times I couldn’t count, and I never had an answer. There were too many things, life was too full of options and choices, how could I narrow it all down to one little choice? Sometimes I would say “Artist” – that was my fallback. I drew all the time; crayon horses and dragons and my superhero-girl Amanda who killed giant cobras with a sword and had long, blond hair and was totally kicked gluteus-maximus.
But the truth is, I just didn’t know. I wouldn’t think much about it, I’d just shrug and answer and walk away with maybe a vague “Huh, I wonder what I do want to be,” or more frequently “Why do people always ask me that?”
But the older I got, the more I thought about that question. The less people asked me, the more I asked myself. What do I want to be when I grow up?
If I were to be honest, and I generally do my best to be, I would have to say – I still don’t know. I mean, I know some things – I want to be like Jesus. I want to be a published author. I want to be an illustrator. I’d love to be a singer, or an actress, or make movie trailers or name paint chips or own a bookshop where I could try and pick a book for everyone who walked in like the woman in Chocolate. (But with books.)
I was just on the phone with a dear friend of three years, Cassie, and she mentioned my up-and-coming eighteenth birthday. She posed the question “So, are you ready?”
“Ready for what?”
“To be eighteen.”
I had to think about that for a moment. It was an odd question, but a good one. And honestly, my feelings differ depending on the moment. Some days, I feel far more mature than anyone else my age I know. I feel like the responsible one, like all my motherly instincts are out in full force and I am the epitome of mature, godly wisdom. (cough) And then other days, when I’m in a particularly goofy mood, I feel a bit immature. As Cassie put it so aptly, I stand there and wonder “Do I measure up to average?”
Here’s the thing, though.
I don’t want to measure up to average. I want to be different. I want to be myself. I’m the girl who prefers rain over sunshine. I’m the girl who sings Kpop in the shower and butchers my favorite language on earth (many apologies to Korea) just because it sounds awesome. I mix up my priorities and procrastinate. I have dozens and dozens of inside jokes with many different people, all of which make me crack up. I don’t have a delicate laugh; it’s more like a really loud cackle. I have flyaway hair and like to wear huge, bright earrings. I’m the girl who, if I’m given a camera, will take a thousand no-good pictures just because I can. I’m the girl who USES CAPS A LOT BECAUSE WHEN I GET REALLY EXCITED OVER THE INTERNET I WANT EVERYONE ELSE TO KNOW!!!!!!!! I love anything that has to do with Alice in Wonderland; as evidenced by what I made and put on my wall –
I’m the girl who wants pizza muffins and fudge for my birthday instead of a huge dinner and cake. I’m the girl who wants to be an example of Christ more than anything, but messes up more than anyone else I know. I’m the girl who looks in the mirror and thinks I’m ugly half the time and pretty the other half, when in reality I generally look like this –
(See, there’s the flyaway hair I was telling you about!) I’m the girl who obsesses over things for a few months and then jealously defends them the rest of her life unless proven wrong (which takes a lot of proof). I manage to be both introverted and extroverted, and I manage to look twenty-two some days and fifteen on others. (I don’t think it counts as a talent, but I can put it on my resume). I can do impressions of pretty much anyone and have my family in stitches, but sometimes I have trouble with finding who ‘I’ am. (Note: You/me is not the answer. It’s God.) I’m the girl who had to be dragged kicking and screaming to go camping, only to discover that I actually liked it and my hair didn’t get as greasy as I thought it would. I’m the girl who wakes up at two am to write down a book idea. I’m the girl who doesn’t dream nearly as often as I’d like, doesn’t frighten at horror movies, and hasn’t had a nightmare since she was ten.
I’m the girl who can quote movies after seeing them only once, but has trouble memorizing things for school. I’m the girl who taught herself to read when she was little, but is still in Algebra 1. (I’m almost done, though! YES!) I’m the girl who loves hot chocolate, even if people never put enough whipped cream on it. I drink lots of tea and coffee in a day and I have an enormous sweet tooth. I can never, EVER remember phone messages unless I write them down. I’m the girl who names EVERYTHING, from roses to iPods. I get excited when I hear a tornado siren, and I roll over and go back to sleep when the fire alarm goes off. I’m the girl who writes fanfiction to mend my heart when a sad ending breaks it. I’m the girl who always feels sorry for the villains and antiheroes and wants desperately to see them redeem themselves.
I’m almost grown up. Some days I feel it, and some days I don’t. Some days I’m ready to enter the world of adults, and some days I want to fly to Neverland and not come back.
What do I want to be?
I want to be the best me that I can be. That’s what.