Sunday, November 6, 2011

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? (When I Grow Up I Want to Be...)

I was talking to my younger cousins earlier about what they want to be when they grow up. One wanted to be a pilot. The other wanted to be doctor. The other one didn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up. 

‘When I grow up I want to be…,’ an immortal line usually heard during the start of a school year.  A line, always present—never skipping a year—never failing to come out during grade school class introductions. It is also present in the formal theme compositions in the latter years of grade school, in the intermediate years and in high school. 

To many, the missing words after ‘When I grow up I want to be…’ do not or did not change.  Those people—the students, who recited them in front of the class, were very consistent. They know what they really want to do when they grow up.

I, as a kid, like any other kid, had lots of dreams. I wanted to do this, I wanted to do that. I wanted to do everything. I was indecisive. I’ve delivered the line several times but I wasn’t even truthful. I was expected to say something, I said something—anything—for the sake of the activity.

Though I was indecisive, I have been consistent. First grade: ‘When I grow up I want to be a Civil Engineer,’ Second grade: ‘When I grow up I want to be a Civil Engineer,’ Grade 3 and so on until 7th grade or beyond.

What were my dreams as a kid? Did I want to be what I am now?

‘When I grow up I want to be…’—speaking as my younger mischievous, attention-deficit, smart-mouthed self, I would have said it this way and that way:

When I grow I want to be a Civil Engineer.

When I grow up I want to be a Civil Engineer – a line I used to write in my grade school composition about my self.  Several times, in fact, but I never really dreamed of becoming a Civil Engineer.   I just couldn’t think of anything to write with no objections from my classmates or my teacher.  This line was greatly influenced by my ef**** father.  

When I grow I want to be an Astronaut.  

I wanted to go to space. I guess every child in the '90s wanted to be an astronaut. I wanted to be like Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. I wanted to pilot a rocket ship or a space shuttle. I wanted to visit the other planets, the sun and the stars—which I thought, when I was younger, would be possible today. I soon later found out that I’d burn if I get too close to the sun and stars and not all planets has a mass of land that I can step on to.

When I grow I want to be a Scientist

As a kid, I dreamed of becoming a scientist.  What’s a scientist?  A scientist is someone who engages in a systematic activity for the acquisition of knowledge. Well, I did not define it that way as a kid. For me, a scientist was someone smart.  You could say that I wanted to be very smart when I grow up. 

When I grow I want to be a Sailor.

I wanted to sail around the world like Magellan or Jim Hawkins or like a pirate. I live in an island, in an archipelago and I’ve always had had an affinity—an attraction to the sea. Too bad I couldn’t swim.

When I grow I want to be an Entomologist.

This was my biggest dream as a kid and is still my biggest dream up until now. I love catching bugs. As kid, I had bottles of bugs preserved in formaldehyde.  I also had a box full of sealed paper with dead butterflies inside.   Back when I was a kid, I really don’t know what to call someone who studies insects.  Entomology would have been my first choice in college. Too bad there are no schools or universities which offer the course here.  

When I grow up I want to be an Inventor.

I wanted to invent something. I wanted to make a radical breakthrough. I wanted to invent something though I didn’t know what it is. I also wanted to invent a time machine—everyone does—everyone wanted to make a time machine.

Going back to the present—no need for a time machine, now that I’ve grown up, sort of, I still act like a kid; I am neither an astronaut nor a civil engineer. I am a scientist because I studied Computer science in the university. I am a scientist—an entomologist—not by degree but by self-proclamation. I raise and study butterflies. A sailor, I could be, though I still don’t know how to tread water. I wonder if a software engineer can be considered an inventor. 

1 comment:

  1. hi Carl!!
    Remembering our high school days??!!
    Back in then, I remember.. I wrote that I wanted to be a journalist..
    Haysstt.. those were the days..


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