When I Grow Up…

Why do we have the dreams that we do? When I say dream, I use the term loosely, in a sense of not only physical aspirations, but also what kind of person we want to be and what kind of things we want to have done at the end of our lives. I’m in the process of removing from my mind from the idea that career goals need to facilitate our entire lives so I was thinking about not only what I want to be when I grow up but who I want to be.

And at the same moment as I had these thoughts, I then noticed a phrase we often use too much without it having any clarified definition. The phrase is “…when I grow up.” I have determined that I should probably stop using this phrase because technically from a legal standpoint, I am an adult. I don’t feel like one though. When we ask young children what they want to do when they grow up, they say big things. They stretch their imagination to the farthest point and they actually believe with everything inside of them that they can do it. They are the ones who have it right. I’m not sure at what point we begin disbelieving in ourselves or when we begin to let others influence our opinion of what we think we can do, but it doesn’t take long. Then we grow up a little bit and we start to think that adulthood comes suddenly one day, like as soon as you reach your eighteenth birthday, you’ll know exactly what it is you are going to with your life and who you’ll do it with. But sadly that’s not true either. I don’t know when adulthood truly begins but I do know that it doesn’t come all at once. We grow when we don’t notice we are growing and to be honest, I don’t think I ever want to stop growing. I definitely have goals I want to reach but I would like to consider those stepping stone for further growth. I don’t think anyone aspires to land their dream job and then never get promoted. Or be able to run ten miles and then never go any further. So don’t think that if you reach one goal, although you’ll feel immensely proud, that you’ll be forever satisfied. This thought isn’t depressing. I don’t want to come off as saying that you’ll never reach fulfillment in life and that life is just a series of lists of goals that you have to achieve, but just that you might reach it in other ways than you initially imagined, and that you have the opportunity to continue to reach it not only when you become an adult but all through adulthood as well.

I know nothing with any certainty. But the sight of the stars makes me dream.” -Vincent van Gogh

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