I was a kid back then. Like most of the new teachers; once a teacher came to our class and asked us to introduce ourselves, individually. His another favorite question was, “what you want to become in life?”
We all were young kids. I asked my friend sitting beside me, “so, what you are going to answer?”. He confidently replied, ” I will say I want to become a Doctor”. “What you would say”, he asked, looking at me with his curious eyes. “I don’t know. I have no idea”, I replied. “Can you suggest me something?”, I requested. “You can say, you want to join Navy. It sounds cool!”, he suggested. “OK. Navy sounds good”, I assured myself. And then the conversation with the Teacher went something like this:
Teacher – So, kid! What you want to become when you grow up?
Me – Sir, I will join Navy.
Teacher – Wow! That’s nice. A Navy-man. So, which Navy?
Me (with puzzled look) – Sir?
Teacher – Defense Navy or Merchant Navy?
Me (in my head) – There are two? Damn it!
And then I replied any one option just to get rid of that situation. May be I was too young to actually take this question seriously. I didn’t know much about life back then.
May be, we all were too young to answer this question honestly, back then. In that age, we all tend to reply the answers based on what we hear from our parents, relatives or friends. We had absolutely no idea that how significant this question was? And we had no understanding to actually answer it from our own perspective. We encountered this question frequently when we were kids. And our answer would change every time. But when we grew up, when we started understanding little bit about life; people stopped asking this question. When we could actually have our own perspective and honesty with the answer, people just stopped asking this question. In childhood, they would bombard us with this question. But now, nobody cares.
I don’t understand it. Is it because now this question is not as fun as it was during childhood? Is it because now they don’t get same puzzled look from us like childhood? Or do they assume that, you can become whatever you want during childhood or till you reach 20s only? Or does everyone believe that, what we are doing right now, is something that we wanted to become? Even if we have become that. The question could be “what we want to become next?”. Our goals keep evolving with time, isn’t it?
What path we take is a different question. But we can at least attempt to answer it now. Asking this question now, will help each one of us to open our heart.
To seek answer to this question, I sometime look at the life’s philosophy of our parent’s generation. I mean, they have been through this stage. There must be a pattern that can help me in finding an answer.
Our parents had a very straight-forward, sorted-out approach to life. Learn a skill, pick a job, grow and stay with that job till retirement, fulfill your responsibilities and be content with life. It was a wonderful approach and it worked for them. They balanced work with personal life flawlessly.
But is this approach working for our generation? Are we content with same job or career? Are we content with the idea of staying in same state all our life and assuming that whole country works the same way as our home state? Most of us have had more than one relationships. Given that experience, are we content with the definition of love in modern world?
Are we content with the thought that I would give up my dream of becoming an artist or entrepreneur (or whatever), just because it is not practical to pursue it, anymore? Or just because no one is asking about it? Does that define us?
It is a great thing if you are content with life. It’s a bliss. But it is a disaster, if you have replaced the word “content” with “compromise”. Those who do so, they try to pursue same dreams through their kids. Because, you can’t fake “being content”. Even if the world doesn’t know about it, you still know it, deep inside.
So, in this rapidly changing lifestyle, how can the question “what you want to become?” be inconsequential after a certain age? Just because you are grown up now?
At least, now you are in position to answer it. You don’t have to dupe the world, like you did in childhood.
Following same path will give same results and same regrets. Challenge it. Because what defines life, between birth and death, is this courage to challenge and defy meaningless and outdated approaches. No great person has ever become great without showing this courage in life.
So, what you want to become next? Answer it, you will feel better. Write it somewhere. Doesn’t matter if you become that something in one month, in 5 years or after 50. You at-least have the courage to answer it. And If you want to open your heart to me, answer it in the comment section below.