Amazing Kids! Magazine

I Remember

By Grace Tang, Contributing Writer


I remember six year old me. I sat in a hot, sticky kindergarten room with drips of sweat rolling down my face for five days every week. The teacher would stand at the front of the room and yell at the top of her lungs to catch our attention. She would often ask us for our hopes and aspirations, for our dreams and beliefs, and for our imaginary souls that were destined for something great. She would go around the room and make each and every one of us answer the question “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I still remember telling everyone that I wanted to be an astronaut because I felt that the moon and sun held magnificent lingers of mystery that would keep me at daze for the rest of my life. My teacher would nod her head in absolute approval and talk to me in a way as if I found life on Mars. She would then tell my parents that I had great potential and they should be proud to have a daughter like me.

I remember eight year old me. I sat in the front of a small classroom filled with crayons and marker stains. I loved going to school and learning new things every single day. My teacher would still ask us occasionally “What do you want to do when you grow up?” This time, I would tell everyone that I wanted to be a singer. No, not just a singer, but a famous singer. I would explain that my previous aspiration of becoming an astronaut was too unrealistic. I told them astronauts had to wear ugly white puffy suits and I would never wear something so unfashionable. But singers were different, they were pretty and fashionable, they were rich and powerful, and they were idolized by everyone. My teacher would still nod her head in approval, but this time, her nod was not sincere – it came with brief innuendos.

I remember ten year old me. I had just read an article on fragmented peace. On war. On inequality. On racial discrimination. My heart broken into pieces. This time, when the teacher asked us “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I answered whole-heartedly that I wanted to become a revolutionist. I told everyone that revolutionists had the power to renew society, that revolutionists give hope to new generations, and that revolutionists will fight for what was right. My teacher would nod in a rather mature way this time. It was one of those nods that made you feel valued, with no sugar coats or unnecessary criticism.

I remember twelve year old me. Completely and utterly lost. I had no idea how to answer “What do you want to do when you grow up?” In many ways, I felt I was already grown up. I felt I knew too much about this world. It was just too cruel, too gloomy, and too uncomfortable. I wanted to experience that linger of mysterious air on the moon and sun, just like I did when I was six years old.

I remember fourteen year old me. Reality finally hit home. I would spend all my time studying, joining clubs, and finding myself. I finally realized that there was no time to ponder upon rather unrealistic questions like “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I had to become responsible for my own future.

Now sixteen year old me. I have no idea what the future holds for me. As my age advances, it becomes increasingly difficult to answer “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I guess that linger of mystery has always enwrapped me.