What do astronauts, rock stars, world renowned soccer players, firemen, and princesses have in common?
When we are children, the world seems so big. Everything we experience is so fresh and new, perhaps even magical. With every experience, our dreams and our desires and our passions grow. Like balloons, we are continually filled. Our ability to fly becomes easier and more natural as the air flows freely in. We know that one day we will fly away to an infinity that we can see so clearly. Life is possibility. Life is heaven.
We never consider the possibility that there is a ribbon that is attaching us firmly to the ground. And we never remotely believe that the knot is poorly tied and that deflation is possible. Even worse, we rightfully ignore all the preexisting dangers that could instantly pop, burst or destroy the fragility that is our free-flowing, ungraspable dreams. Ignorance truly is bliss.
As we get older and we begin to see and understand the world, we come to different moments of realization. We learn that certain dreams are simply not attainable, regardless of effort or desire. That dream to be the best singer ever to grace the Broadway stage is pretty difficult if, even with lessons, our voice doesn’t agree with that childhood dream. Or the desire to create the most beautiful buildings in the world begins with a passion for mathematics that you just don’t have.
So we adjust. And readjust. And readjust again. We grow into and hone the skills and passions that we have, and we refill the balloons with what we, and often society, deem achievable for ourselves. We put our all, everything we have, into learning and experiencing what we need in order to purposefully manufacture careers, a word we now know and use, and we still expect everything to work out.
And you know what, many times it does. We become that teacher who first inspired us, and we help inspire others. We become that cellist that creates wonderful music and our creative powers just flow out of us. We set measurable and achievable goals that allow us to jump fully into a career that give us purpose and, most importantly, fulfill our passions and dreams. We are flying.
But, of course, other times it does not. We attain the degree that we feel will take us all the way up to where our revamped dreams live, and we realize that it isn’t what we expected it to be. Now what. We plug on and pursue other career paths, perhaps even get another degree, and then what? Perhaps we are hoping, be it purposefully or randomly, that our balloons will be magically filled by dreams; bigger, better, awesome-r dreams.
We learn that life can be too unpredictable to fully map out. Dreams come and go as this often surprising journey of life continually evolves. It doesn’t have to matter why the dream has changed, or if the new direction feels like a U turn, the true benefit is in the experience. For better or worse, we discover that our attitudes and abilities to embrace change will shape how we handle/cope/adjust/love/hate/adore new paths and new dreams.
Above all, we learn that the key to achieving our dreams is to pursue them for it is in the attempt that we discover who we are. Even through the failed or altered pursuit of a dream we’ve had since childhood, or since yesterday, we learn to embrace the experience and move forward without regret. Through trial and error, we discover that is often far worse to never pursue a dream than to try, fail and learn. With positive attitudes and a curiosity about the world and ourselves, our balloons stay forever filled and we fly high.