“What are you going to be when you grow up?” my mom questioned five-year-old me.

“I don’t know. Maybe a princess?” I answered innocently.

“I think you should be a doctor. They make lots of money,” my mom hinted. “And they help lots of people too,” she added to make that suggestion seem more friendly.

Five years later….

“What are you going to be when you grow up?” my mom asked ten-years-old me.

“Whatever I guess,” I replied and went back to watching television. It was not that I was going through my rebellious stage already; I genuinely did not care what I become.

“I think you should be a doctor,” my mom started and continued on about her dream for me.

Another five years later and the same scene are played. Nothing has changed except for my answer: “I have until junior year to really think about it.” My mom’s advice was still the same.

Now that I look back at, maybe I should have stood up for myself and strongly told my mom, not disrespectfully, but assertively that I do not want to be a doctor. That I will find my own dream, follow it, and be happy, whether I make a lot of money or not. Unfortunately, my mouth would not let my message be conveyed even though that same message was screaming in my head.

Three years later. I am currently a senior.

“Do you know where are you going to school? Do you know what you’re going for?” someone asks.

“Yes, I do,” I tell them proudly but I think I am just trying to convince myself that I like this future career.  Although it’s not a doctor, the field is very similar, you know dentist, pharmacist, scientist, something like that.  I know I will be able to support my future family and I will never be homeless. I know that it’s a respectable job and I’ll get to help the community. I’m good at the subjects that I am going into so I will be safe. Since I do not know what my passion is anyways, I might as well choose a career that is stable. Are all of these excuses? Do they sound like excuses?

Although this may seem like a weak way to live, all that’s left to do is live out my path because I’ve already picked my school and my major already.  Even though this path was only half-picked by me, it does not mean I cannot live out an adventurous and inspiring life. I am going to be optimistic about my future because only time will tell if this was the right choice for me.

A dream doesn’t have to be solely an individual’s dream. It could be like an old family recipe that is passed down. Or a forgotten and unfinished dream from the parents. It could be borrowed from a neighbor or stolen from a friend. It could be copied from an idol or sold for money. Since dreams come in so many forms and shapes, they cannot be judged.

There is no rubric for how a dream should look or act. And ever since I was accepted into my first choice college, that became my dream school. When I decided on my major, that became my dream major that will ultimately lead to my dream job. Even though my dreams come to me after I make decisions, it does not mean I am less motivated or that I will regret my decisions one day in the far future.

There will always be regrets in life. No one is 100% happy with their dream. Something could always be tweaked and made a little bit better. Since my dream is both my parents and mine, I’ll just have to believe that I’ll be twice as happy!