Do you know what I miss about being a child? That feeling that the possibilities were limitless. I never recall a time as a child where I thought there was anything I couldn’t put my mind to and achieve.
That’s probably a credit to the tribe of amazing adults who raised me, my quiet, quirky, hardworking father. My stubborn, humorous, doting grandfather. And the women in my life who I appreciate more and more as I get older. Our family had an over abundance of females, the scales tipped heavily to the second X chromosome. And these women were strong, fierce, funny, clever, creative, talented beyond measure (so much so that I didn’t even realise they were skilled until I went out into the world and discovered these talents were not possessed by everyone). Patient, empathetic women. When we get together in the same room the vibrance created by these women is uplifting. And that’s not to say they have not had heartbreak, disappointment or trials. Because they did. Their strengths show in how they weathered these. Sometimes waiting so patiently, gathering strength in the darkness and then stepping back out into the light and weaving their magic – living – despite those challenges.
So, you see, growing up I believed there was not a single thing I could dream of that wouldn’t be delivered to me should I put my mind to it and decide to do it. I’m not sure at what point I stopped believing this. That I decided to settle for the attainable instead of shooting for what I really wanted. That I became so scared of failure that it seemed safer to try for things I didn’t have to work very hard to get. I think a lot of us do that as we get older. Stop dreaming and start thinking about attainable goals. Which is fine, it’s good in some ways to be realistic. But in other ways it sucks. See, I think dreaming big is like a lot of things – if you don’t use it, you lose it. So when my therapist says, “What do you really want to do?” I come up blank. Literally can’t think of a thing. I can tell her things I can do, or things I plan to do to get from here (point A) to there (point B), but none of those things set my soul on fire. None of them make me excited. None of them make me dream.
And as I get older it’s harder too. I tend to do the math in my head and think, “If I did X I would be Y by the time I finish.” And you know what I read the other day? Someone said the same thing, I can’t remember what it was about but let’s say medicine. They said, “If I studied medicine now I’ll be 43 by the time I finish.” And the other person said, “And how old will you be by then if you don’t study medicine?” And that was an epiphany for me. Because you will be 37 or 43 or 57 anyway. You may as well spend that time doing something you love.
So long story short, I’m going to start dreaming again and see where that takes me. And if I practice really hard perhaps I’ll find something that sets my soul on fire. Perhaps I’ll stop limiting myself with can’t or shouldn’t or sensible, attainable goals and see where I fly off to.