Wonder 28



I keep wondering what I want to do when I graduate. That time is coming up soon. I won’t be a student anymore, and I’ll have the whole world waiting.

I have so many options, due to being in the Program, since it seems like every company wants to offer Program graduates internships or positions with starting bonuses.

But having options doesn’t make it easier. I think it makes it harder.


When meu avô became a furniture maker, it was either that or be a fisherman. And minha avó knew she was going to be an opera singer since she was three years old. It wasn’t her decision–it was her father’s.

But they both seemed happy. Even though Vovó quit her singing career to raise her boys, she seemed happy. Destino, she said. Find your destiny.


What a different approach from Tia Berry and Mãe.

Tia Berry says, “It doesn’t matter what you do, Chazzie. Just be. Be, and you’ll be happy.”


I know what she means. And I’ve been spending my whole life being. Now I want to spend my life as a being that is doing.


Mãe says, “It doesn’t matter what you do, spud, as long as you do it well.”


I get it. I’ve been lucky to experience that grace of doing something well. That’s one of the gifts of being in the Program, I guess. It offered me encouragement and space to do things well.


Violin, music composition, public speaking, painting, fitness–I’ve been lucky to have the time and support to be able to do these well. The rewards are great.


But I want more. It feels solipsistic to me to spend my life perfecting things that I do. I want what I do to contribute. I want to make the world a better place.


Maybe that sounds naive. Or maybe it sounds presumptuous, to think that one person can make the world a better place.

But it’s neither naive nor presumptuous. It’s true. I grew up with stories of my grandpa, Mãe and Tia Berry’s dad. He was hero. He fought for workers’ rights and made conditions better for the laborers in factories, stores, print shops, lumber mills, restaurants, and  farm fields. I grew up with a mother, aunt, and father who made my life better every day, and I watched how, just by them being who they are, they made better the lives of those they encountered.

I can do it.

I think back on that kitchen fire that Mãe and I put out. Man, I love that feeling! I felt so alive.

I know I don’t want to be a fire-fighter because I don’t want a job where I’m getting high from someone else’s misfortune. And I don’t want to be a cop because I’ve noticed that the trouble happens when the cops show up. Plus, my friend Max’s dad works on the other side of the law, and I don’t want to be in a position where I’d have to make life difficult for him.

I want to make life less hard for people. Maybe even make it better. I want to make it so that people who are having a tough time can feel some comfort and care.


I want to be a doctor. That’s how I want to serve.

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