Is it Your Dream that You’re Living?
About a week ago I had a conversation with one of my young co-workers, Jenny. Hoping that with age comes wisdom she said “why is it that older people always ask you what your life plan is?” Trying not to sound parental I replied that they are probably just concerned that you don’t waste your education and talent and end unable to take care of yourself. It sounded lame when I said it.
Forty-one years ago (wow!) armed with as much enthusiasm as a 17-year-old can muster I set off to college without much of a plan. My Mom’s parting conversation was that she didn’t care whether or not I attended college just as long as I did things necessary to take care of myself. The caveat was that since I had decided to attend college that she expected me to graduate.She said that I needed a plan.
Started out thinking that nutrition would be a good major. Not for me. Can’t remember my next bright idea but sometime during my second semester freshman year I discovered that I could major in Art History. I was in love. Everything about art caused great excitement. I was after all a frustrated patron of the arts. Having pretty much decided on this path, I mentioned my decision to an academic mentor. She said really and what are you going to do with that degree? I couldn’t answer. By the time I left her office I had decided that although it was my love it was not practical. I had to have a plan and that wasn’t it. A dream deferred.
So back to Jenny’s question. I think that those ahead of us want us to have the best life possible. Somehow that means that we must have a plan, a blueprint to follow. Usually this blueprint is set out for us by those who have much influence over us. Parents, teachers, other elders. I also believe that most of us are afraid not to have or at least say that we have a plan for fear that what “they” say will come true and we will live out our years in Penn Station begging for quarters.
I think that Jenny is smart and articulate and sharp enough to know that she doesn’t have all of the answers to life’s mysteries yet. She also knows that she really doesn’t have to have a plan today! That thing could have a revision a day the way the world is changing.
So after a thirty year plus career in the public sector I have to ask myself whose dream have I been living? I can honestly say not mine. No regrets but I wish I had developed just a little more courage. Fortunately (though some would disagree) I don’t think it’s too late to follow my dreams. Can they support me? Not sure. Can I try? Why not?
Anybody out there care to join me.?