A Metaphorical Freddy Krueger

I was asked a question as old as time today, one that I’ve been answering at least once a month since I’ve been able to talk with increasing frequency since I officially became an adult. It starts out as “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and gradually develops into “what are you going to be?”.

The difference between these two questions are miniscule in terms of grammar but the insinuations hidden behind the questions are monumentally different. The first is the obvious one, the fact that the sentence loses four key words and tells you that you’re now grown up. You’re no longer planning for the future, you’re planning for right now. There is no intangible and idealistic vision of your future self, it’s just who you are right now, give or take the occasional major epiphany.

The second difference is far harder to notice but even more painful to realise. It is no longer a case of what you want to be, but what you’re going to be. It’s an implication that what you want is no longer the most important part of the goal, it’s not a case of what you want to do but what you’re going to have to do. As you mature, so does your outlook on life and the dream job that combines minimal effort with maximum reward is no longer a possibility, it’s a case of finding a balance between both. Maximum effort will produce maximum reward and minimal effort will produce minimal reward, that’s essentially why some people are happy stocking shelves and others push themselves to breaking point in order to achieve what they believe that they want.

In response to the question, I wasn’t able to confide in the other person what my dream job is. That’s a story for another time, or at least i hope it will be.


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