"May you grow up to be righteous, may you grow up to be true. May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you. May you always be courageous, stand upright and strong. May you stay forever young." ~Bob Dylan
In preschool, there's a lot of talk about "what we want to be when we grow up." I always hear the standard policeman, firefighter, doctor, but the ones that make me chuckle are the tightrope-walker, Barbie, super hero, coffee-drinker, and even an invisible dog. Lately I've been thinking about what I want to be when I grow up. Some would say I am grown up -- I have a career/job, a house, 3 grown kids, and even the required pets -- all things that I dearly love. Yet, there is a difference between what I want to be when I grow up and being a grown up.
Please don't misunderstand me...I absolutely love how my life has turned out. But a part of me, and this part has been nagging loud lately, has been asking "what if?" What if...I followed my senses instead of my heart after college? What if...I took a leap of faith and studied what I really wanted to instead of what was "safe?" What if...I did what I dreamed of instead of what I excelled at? All of this is moot, and I am the first to say it never does any good to play Monday morning quarterback. Still...I think there comes a point in every person's life when those early dreams start to resurface.
When I was no older than 7, I remember spending part of a summer on my uncle's farm in western New York. It was full of farm animals, hay bales for jumping into from the top of the barn with my cousins, and an enormous vegetable garden. I can vividly remember pulling carrots and thinking how much fun it was. I loved the sound of the screen door being swung open and shut (a very satisfying "whack!") on the farm house, the glittering pond, the sun's heat, and the chickens running crazy-like all over the place. So, why am I thinking about that now? I think it's because I'm at that point in my life when it's natural to stop and re-examine life. How many more years before retirement, how much I should have in the bank, how my portfolios are working for me...all leads to "is this is?" In 2005, I told myself I would see my kids through high school, and then it was "my turn." Now I see how ridiculous that thinking was, and yes, even a bit selfish. At that point, it seemed ages until my kids were gone, and now the time-line is less than 2 years away. Of course, the most sensible answer is that I am thinking about all of this because my kids are on their way out. It is amazing to watch them grow and ponder about what they want to be when they grow up...
I have always loved the outdoors and living on acreage still appeals to me. But to be honest, instead of a farm with animals, I see myself on a tiny, little vineyard tucked away somewhere with warm breezes and beautiful sunsets...see, there I go dreaming again!
So, what would it look like if everyone went after their dreams? Would they be happier? More balanced? Have more fun? Or maybe most people are already doing what they truly enjoy...what a refreshing thought! Perhaps I just need to accept that life is full of mysteries and surprises and be content with all the riches that I already own.
But I won't stop dreaming...