It was nearly a decade ago that I took my first steps into Kindergarten. It was almost a whole ten years ago, that my life went from fun and games to school and work. I went from my nursery school drop off to the threatening hallways of my elementary career. This adjustment from baby to big girl was one which seemed life changing, a self-defining journey filled with mistakes, lessons, friendships, tears, laughs, smiles, and maybe a few more tears. Kindergarten was the big league. Fast forward over a few grades, a few turning points, and some minor milestones, and you will find the present day Lily. Me. A high schooler. A blogger. A writer. A friend. A teenager. A young journalist. A learner. A listener. A speaker. Still continuing on my eternal journey through my educational carrer, still fearful of change, still feeling my way through the unpaved roads. Looking back at the juvenile years I spent meandering my way through that first floor hallway, I don't recall much. I remember a well-deserved trip I took into the principals office. I reminisce on the day which I was asked to bring the most important person in my life to school, and I chose my uncle. Very few vivid memories come to mind. However, there was that one question which proved effective. One question which I will never fail to lose sight of. The one question we are all asked as little kids with a humorous tone. The one question which no Kindergartener has the comprehension to answer with confidence. "What do you want to be when you grow up?" The answer which I presented to my teachers I cannot remember. That question stuck with me. In my heart and in my soul it forevermore stayed. An idea which would never leave me after that very moment. Every year since, I have been asked this same frightening question. Still there is no definite answer. But each year it is asked with a bit more seriousness. Just a bit more meaning than it was back when I sat in my little blue chair in that vibrant room. "An astronaut!" a young Kindergarten boy shouted. That's the only answer I remember! Press fast forward on this man's life just a couple of years and currently he is a maturing 15 year old. Flourishing in the hectic jungle commonly referred to as Freshmen year. I Facebook messaged him the other day and simply asked "Do you still have the wish to become an astronaut?" His confusion overpowered him as he responded "Lil, how could you possibly remember that?" His answer had struck something within me. Maybe it was his sure fullness. Maybe it was his high hopes. Maybe it was the fantasy I saw in this aspiration. It took a few years to recognize, but the lesson I had learned out of that one question asked, and that one answer given, was that there is no need to know what our plans are for 15 years from now. There is no necessity in knowing what we may be doing in a year. A month. A week. A day even. There is a reason this little astronaut prone-boy is not walking on the moon right now. He is too busy today, to worry about tomorrow. As young Kindergarten students, we have not lived nearly enough. We have not seen. We have not done. We have not heard. The answers we present to our teachers in the moment in which we are asked "what do you wish to be when you grow up?" are meaningless. There is a reason why those answers change. There is a reason why I can't even recall what mine was! Jobs don't define us. Jobs aren't what we are going to BE when we grow up. Lessons define us. Time defines us. Choices: they define us. It is the moments we live to see which make who we will be as we age. Live in the now. Cherish today. Tomorrow will come soon enough, but not yet. The todays of the world, directly effect the tomorrow we plan to live. Never fail to remember the gratitude we must feel for being gifted the opportunity to be living right now. In this very moment. These will all be stories someday, but right now we are alive! Each moment we breathe, we are taking one step closer to the moving target of "growing up." Don't concern yourself with what may or may not happen. With what you may or may not do. With who you may or may not be! This moment will come only once. Appreciate your childhood. Now is not the time to make concrete decisions. Now is the time to test the waters. To experiment. To live. To create error. To answer, and then not remember. To question. To ask. To NOT know what you are going to do as you grow. The knowledge you gain today may truly effect what you end up doing tomorrow, or next month, or next year, or in the next decade. You are touched in the moments when you least expect it. So look up from your drowning sorrow of confusion. Realize what is, and live for today!
The answer which I will offer in the event which I am next asked "Lily what is it that you wish to be when you grow up?" without a quiver in my voice I will say with extreme confidence, "I don't know."