It can be easy to get so wound up in daily tasks, earning a living, and our "to do lists" that we forget why we are doing them.
The rat race takes over and childhood dreams are forgotten. Soon we look at what we wanted for ourselves and say, "That would have been nice," as we shuffle off to do something we do not enjoy
...not as a way of supporting and paying for the dream, but INSTEAD of it.
The lucky ones among us wake up at some point and dare to rebuild our dreams. We get all excited and set new goals that cause our old friends to worry about us. This is not the person they knew! They wonder (usually out loud) "What happened to trusty, predictable, old you?"
As I reinvented myself after completing my doctorate, I really struggled to find my place in the scholar-practitioner world, trying my hand at deeply philosophical writing and at the same time struggling to connect with a more practically focused clientele as a business consultant and strategist. It all felt a bit disjointed, as I tried to abandon my past work in aerospace and smiled at the Navy in my rear view mirror with fond memories as I hit the gas and set off for parts unknown, asking for directions from passers by and tossing several unproductive maps out the window.
My strategy students have often heard me quote Lewis Carroll's famous Cheshire cat as he tells Alice that since she doesn't know where she is going, any road will get her there.
(This is another "Physician, heal thyself!" moment.)
Down the road of life and entrepreneurship I swerved for a couple of years, like a mad woman zig-zagging across the scholar-practitioner landscape, taking out mailboxes along the way and struggling to stay on the road and at least head in one general direction most of the time.
Eventually my steering improved. The fear settled out and I began checking in with myself.
Am I on the right road for me?
Where is this taking me?
How can I avoid hitting those garbage cans over there?
...You get the gist!
So where did this bright, shiny object thing come from? After all, I am sufficiently focused to accomplish almost anything I set my mind to. So why did I struggle with finding direction in my career?
The answer came to me when I started thinking about an experiment I tried several months ago. A colleague had challenged a group of us to try lucid dreaming. We were each to contemplate a problem for our subconscious minds to tackle and write it down just before bed, then fall asleep thinking about it and see what kinds of solutions came from our dreams. I soon gave up because I rarely remember my dreams at all, something I have toyed with trying to improve since then.
The trends of my 26 years of experience in the workforce suddenly became crystal clear. Somewhere in the grind of day-to-day living, working, parenting, and dealing with various obstacles and tragedies, I had lost sight of those old dreams. Occasionally I would trip over one and have the chance to do something truly fulfilling, like writing or speaking, but for about 15 years these occasions were few and far between... and nearly always an accidental byproduct of something I was doing for someone else.
The fact is that you have to remember your dreams in order to chase them!
I believe that our dreams (daydreams too) are a space where inhibition is absent and we can actively consider what we want without judgment, naysaying, or self-doubt. We dare to want what we want, plain and simple! To know your heart's desire is to strip away judgments and fear and see what comes up for you. (Meditation helps.)
These days, my vision is clear. I have dusted off the old dreams and polished the ones that still suit the older, wiser version of the girl who had them. Not only that, but I have formed strategies and concrete actions for making them into realities and dared to dream a little bigger than even my younger self would have dared.
Am I there yet???
Not by a long shot, but a lot of what seemed impossible a few short years ago is now checked off of the bucket list and I seem to need a bigger bucket every few months.
Do you need a bigger bucket for YOUR bucket list?
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