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"Growing Up"

When you're a child, everyone around you encourages you to study and experiment with whatever you find motivating and interesting. They want to spur your creative talents and help you feel around for any hidden abilities you may possess. Plus, they think it's cute to see such energy in young people -- by the time folks get older, they become inert bags of fat.

Finger painting? Yes, please try! Writing painfully bad short stories about ducks in galoshes? Adorable! Picking one's nose? Well, exploring one's body is good!

Parents like to tell their kids they can grow up to become president, or become an astronaut. Or at least, that's what they used to say. What they don't tell their kids is they probably WON'T become anything nearly as important or exciting. Being a child is being victim to a bunch of lies and deceit. Teachers and friends and family don't want to discourage you from anything at this point because you're innocent and fragile and full of potential. And you don't know what you want yet.

And eventually you grow up. You begin to have a better idea of your potential, of what you're interested in, of how much you'd be willing to put up with in order to achieve your goals.

And everything changes. Your guardians, your teachers and family and friends and coworkers and even complete strangers change their attitude. Instead of being encouraged to pursue whatever you want, all the sudden they all have this notion of what they think you SHOULD become. They lobby certain professions towards you and list all the bad aspects of others they're not so fond of. They feel they know you well enough to steer you in the direction that you SHOULD be going in, but just don't know yet. Because they know better than you do.

It doesn't really matter what YOU want, or what YOU like. You're a big adult now, and they can't bear to see you pursue something they feel is fruitless or stupid. There's always the Asian family that goes nuts if their children don't madly pursue pre-med or engineering and turn instead to liberal arts. There's the well-to-do professional family that would never let Johnny change his major and stop his pursuit of law school. "How are you going to earn a living?" "Don't you know that there's nothing to be gained by becoming that?" "Do you want to disgrace our family?" "You think you'll get married if you take up THAT?"

Is it any wonder most people are in jobs they hate?

Let me get this straight. When you're a kid, you're encouraged to learn as much as possible. But when you get older, the findings of your education are worthless. You're supposed to trust someone else at this point. You didn't ask for anyone's opinion on what you should become, did you? Everyone's so helpful when it comes to picking a career.

And the part that really cheeses you off is that what you know about what you're doing is much more than what others know about what you're doing, yet that doesn't stop them from giving their opinion of it to you. You work your ass off to learn something, and then someone who's never done it before tells you what THEY think. Ohhhkay.

Perhaps if I believed more in fate, I'd feel that people eventually find their calling even if all forces are stacked against them. But I know this not to be true for most people. It is a tragedy. A whole segment of the population wondering what might've happened if they'd become what they wanted to...

I say that life is not about making all the perfect decisions. How the heck can you even keep up with that kind of pressure? Life is about mistakes, about missteps, about theories and feelings that end up not being ideal. But you have to try to pursue what motivates you, and if it doesn't pan out, then at least you know. At least you know. An unexamined life is not worth living. Sadly, sometimes you'll uncover a gem early on in your life that you don't completely realize until later. And then maybe it'll be too late. There's always that consideration. Maybe you ARE wrong. But I think your heart will tell you the truth, always. The mind only gets in the way in matters such as these.

I'm excited about where I'm going. I feel a convergence, a breakthrough on the horizon. When I grow much older, I have a feeling that the people who are close to me will look back and say that Victor always knew how he was going to get to where he is today but the rest of us had no idea. I like to think that my life will be beyond comprehension until I've reached my goal, and then it all will make perfect sense.

I picture sitting in a gondola-like boat in the middle of a small, isolated lagoon in a temperate climate with the one grand idea I came up with providing me (and everyone else on the planet) with everything in the world. The trees sway and whisper with the wind, the water laps against the boat, my woman reads peacefully beside me, and I've freed up everything to everyone. Me? I just think about how wildly the world has changed since I was young, and look over at her with a smile.

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