I will never know who I want to be when I grow up

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A young me, looking just as scared for her future as I feel right now.

At the artless and pure age of four, I envisioned a life for myself as a teacher. Just as the preschool teachers I had met only that year, I wanted to be smiley all the time and have a special aptitude for creating paper-plate crafts. This dream was one shared with just about every other little girl I had opened up such a serious conversation withintensely chatting while eating ants on a log after a long day of block building and false marriage ceremonies with the little boys in our class. 

This dream of mine soared all throughout my elementary school experience as well, until the dream got fuzzy and gray and a bored, still guileless version of myself glided effortlessly from the flower of education to the skyscrapers of New York. 

Raised in a theatre, being an actress behind the scorching gold beams of broadway had always illuminated my mind. A trip to the crisp and vibrant Big Apple hastily solidified this dream more than a community theatre in Michigan ever had before. 

People were walking quickly, the most vibrant and commanding colors were flashing by me on the clothes of some of the most incredibly beautiful people I had ever seen, and even in the most rambunctious and fast-paced experience I had ever been placed in, I felt the serenity of home.

A nearly fifteen-dollar bagel I purchased on the trip pulled me back to reality. 

I had to think realistically. So, naturally, my next career aspiration was to become a highly successful fashion designer. As someone who wore the same Justice-brand jeans for nearly the entirety of my fifth-grade career, this felt like an incredibly tangible goal for me. Looking back at the sketches I made in my journal throughout this phase of my life, I am so happy that this is a dream I let go of. 

The next career jump was to a sort of talent I acquired from night after night spent watching television with my Mom. I found it simple to stitch together color palettes, create spaces, and invent floor plans. I wanted to be exactly like the fashion-forward and innovative interior designers fluffing pillows and making witty jokes to their husbands on my most beloved TV shows. 

Today, I still want to be an interior designer. However, writing this all out has instilled a fear in me. I’m only realizing now that I feel just like my four-year-old self: naive and helplessly uninformed about what my future holds, making a decision that seems like it will affect my happiness eternally. 

I’m only realizing now that I feel just like my four-year-old self: naive and helplessly uninformed about what my future holds, making a decision that seems like it will affect my happiness eternally. ”

I know I’m much older now, but I still don’t feel old enough to decide what’s best for the next few versions of myself that will have to stay awake during classes and study for college finals of a major I chose, or wake up each morning and getting dressed for a job I basically selected before I was old enough to buy a lottery ticket. 

I’m terrified of my dreams turning gray just as the version of myself who was an elementary school teacher did. To settle for a version of my life that is clouded with boredom seems terrifying. All I hope for is to constantly remind myself that dreaming big has only gotten me closer and closer to where I need to be.