I've had a lot of dreams.
Interestingly -- most haven't come true.
But here's the thing about dreams. There's an "s" at the end. It's a plural word. And that's important to remember when you feel like one of your dreams is being stomped on or passed over or neglected.
And sometimes, dreams lead to other things that are better than the original dream.
Two personal examples:
I wanted to go to college out of high school. I went through advanced level classes and college-prep classes with the thought of packing up my things and moving into a dormitory and starting an entirely new life. Then came the crusher -- not enough in scholarships and no money.
OK, then. Dream 1 down, but what next?
I joined the military instead, which was definitely NOT a dream. But it turned into one of the best dream situations I've ever had. I met amazing people, lived in a unique country, and met my husband.
|Market near where I lived in South Korea.|
|Friends and I at a club in South Korea.|
I didn't know until I was in the middle of living it, but that was a Dream.
The second example:
After leaving the military and working in the civilian world for a little while, I (literally) went for broke and finally went to college. My goal -- to be a doctor.
To say I was nearly bested is an understatement. I'm not a stupid person, but taking 19 credits of virtually all science courses was easily the hardest things I've ever done. Going to Organic Chemistry, trying to learn in a huge theater setting, was daunting. I'd look around me at the other hundreds of pre-med students and knew -- a whole heck of a lot of us aren't going to make it.
Then one day, in the middle of a Bacterial Genetics lab, I realized....
I didn't HAVE to be a doctor.
And I quite literally felt a weight lift off my shoulders.
I felt pretty lucky. There were a lot of kids I went to school with who had no idea what to do with their life if they DIDN'T become a doctor. And here I was, knowing I had tons of opportunities ahead of me, and while I was in my last year of college, I knew I could take a year off to regroup and tackle medical school then. IF I wanted to. IF I didn't want to get a Master's Degree in another science. IF I didn't become an EMT. If, and if, and if.
|Finally getting that degree at the University of Virginia.|
None of those things happened, and my life yet again went down a different path. And yet another few paths.
And here I am now. Forty-two, and at another Robert Frost crossroads.
What am I trying to say? Not to have dreams? Not to follow your dreams?
Of course not.
What I'm trying to say (and remind myself every day) is follow your dreams, but don't let them rule you to where you're miserable if they don't come true. Dreams are everywhere. A "failure" can actually be the beginning of a path to a huge Dream.
I'd like to challenge you (any myself!) to make a jar like the photo at the top of this post. Write down your dreams, no matter how big or how small or how inconceivable they may be to you. And when you're down, pull out those dreams, and think about where they are now in the path you're taking.
|Trees in a state park near where I live.|
Has one now become now longer important? Has one led to the pot of gold at the end of that Dream? Are there now things you see you can do to make a Dream come true?
I want to find out.