It’s funny how when we were children we knew exactly what we wanted to be when we grew up. It might have changed a few times through the years but we were confident about what we said we wanted to do when we grew up. So when does that change? Why is it when we reach college age, suddenly some of us have no idea what we want to do or we change our mind to something “realistic”. Our dreams fade as we let other people influence our decision of what career we should choose.
Sometimes, to be truly happy, you have to follow your heart, no matter what everyone else may think. –Ali Liebegott
I knew at the age of 8 I wanted to be a writer. I still have a school project that I did in second grade where I had to write down “What do you want to do when you get older?”, and in my 8-year-old handwriting I answered; I want to be a writer. Somehow as I grew up I lost that for a while. I didn’t have the opportunity to go to college right out of high school and I floundered for a while not knowing what I wanted to do. Finally, I made the decision to go to college. When I began, I searched through the catalog trying to decide what I wanted to get my degree in and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I finally settled on Psychology because I was interested in the field and thought this was the most “reasonable” career choice.
Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for. –Ray Bradbury
Fast forward a few years later (about 12 years) after putting college on hold for marriage and kids, which was worth the time spent with my family, but now both kids were in school and it gave me time to focus on my goals. I met with a college advisor and was given a timeline of classes I would need to take to finish my Psychology degree. During the time of contemplating my return to college my younger brother passed away and this added a new perspective to my way of thinking. Suddenly I realized that if I was going to spend the next 2 years finishing up my degree, I was going to do what I felt passionate about. I chose to go back to my original love of writing so that I could enjoy and love what I did in my life.
Here are some of my suggestions for following your dreams:
- Find what you are passionate about. This may mean thinking back to when you were a child. What was it that gave you the most joy? What did you see yourself doing?
- Make a plan. If you changed your path for your career, where would it take you? Set small goals to get you to the place you would like to be the most.
- Go For It! Take a leap of faith, step out, and choose to be happy and go after the life you want. Choose to have a life you love.
- Foster the Dreams of your Children. Talk to your kids and listen to what they want to be, watch them and see what they are good at doing. Try not to plant your own dreams and influence what they “should be” in life.
- Encourage those Dreams. Encourage kids to be confident in what they love and go after their dreams. Show them by your example that it is never too late to go after something you love.
Sharing the love of reading and books with my children, I believe, opens their world up to any possibility and I try to ensure I foster their dreams. If you have kids, what do they want to be when they grow up and are you encouraging their dreams or planting your own?
So I ask you, if you could go back to when you were younger and dreamed of what you would be when you grew up, what would you be doing?
Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming. –Alice Walker