When was the last time someone asked you, “What do you want to be when you grow up”?
The 2 and Half-Year-Old
We were sitting at the breakfast table. The sun was shining through the window and pouring onto the table. Our daughter, Charlie, was devouring her bacon and eggs with a smile on her face. My husband, with a look of satisfaction on his face, sat across from me.
I turned to Charlie, who is two and a half, and I asked her, “Charlie, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
She turned her head and gave me a look of not understanding.
So, my husband and I started rattling off examples. “Do you want to be a doctor, a mommy, a firefighter, a nurse, or an accountant?”
She smiled, delighted with herself, and answered “I want to be Charlie”.
The Almost Retired Executive
I sat across the dinner table from one of my mentors. It’s funny how so many of these kinds of conversations happen over food. He was talking about how, if he really wanted to, he could retire today from his the job he had since he was 15.
I looked at him and asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
His face lit up, he smiled with his mouth and eyes and said, “I don’t know”.
After a delicious dinner one evening, my husband was playing with our daughter while a family friend and I were finishing up the dishes. He was describing, with excitement, his plans to take next summer off and work out west.
At 28-years-old, the balance of feeling like you need to have it all together and not wanting to be chained down was really confusing for him.
Instead of asking him “What do you want to be when you grow up”, because that’s something he’s been asking for years, I asked, “What do you love doing so much, you’d do it for free?”
Discovering Your Dreams
In a book I recently read, Quitter by Jon Acuff, there was a lot that stood out because it’s a great book, especially if you are feeling suffocated by your day job and have dreams of doing something else.
The question that jumped off the page and smacked me in the face was the same question I asked my friend. “What do you love doing some much, you’d do it for free?”
This question left a red hand print on my face because it’s the kind of question that gets to the heart of the matter. It calls out what you really want to be when you grow up. It resuscitates life back into our forgotten dream.
Here’s the thing. In some cases the reason we don’t follow our dreams is because they are too risky.
Dreaming Throughout the Years
When we were two and a half, it was OK to dream. That’s when people start asking us the dreaded question. We could dream about simply being ourselves, which, can I point out as a mother, I couldn’t have asked for a better answer.
Then we get a little older, and at 28 our dreams and our realities are competing with each other. Do I settle down and buy a house or do I travel out west and do what makes me feel alive?
Before we know it, retirement is around the corner. Retirement! For years we have said I just can’t wait until I retire or I’ll do this when I retire.
When it finally does come, it’s like a big hairy beast breathing down our necks, threatening all we know.
The Reason Why Following Your Dreams is the Road Less Traveled
No matter what age or stage of life, dreaming isn’t easy. The reason why following your dreams is a road less traveled is because dreaming is risky.
Our heart, the very beating thing that defines us and keeps us alive, is consumed by our dreams. The risk of failure (or for some people success) is too much to take.
So instead, we put those dreams we dreamed when we were two and a half on the shelf. When we are younger we think, I’ll pick them back up a soon as ____.
Soon we forget that our dreams are even on the shelf because life happens. Like a favorite old book that has been on a shelf for years starts to gather dust, so do our dreams.
Bringing It Home
It’s time to take those beloved dreams off the shelf. It’s time to ask,
The risk of following our dreams is great. However, the risk of not following our dreams is greater.Click To Tweet
What do I love doing so much, I’d do it for free?
What is my dream?
Maybe, you’re reading this and you have already followed your dream. You are traveling on the road less traveled. As I’m sure you will attest, it hasn’t been easy, but hasn’t it been worth it?
What are your thoughts? Are you following your dreams? What made you pick up your dream off the shelf?
You may like to read: Never, Ever Give Up on a Dream and Never Giving Up on a Dream – Halfway to Our Goal.
P.S. When I was in college and riding on long bus rides after soccer games, I may have prank called some of our friends. Whenever I was prank calling people, I always went by the alias Charlie.
While I do love that name and haven’t ruled it out for future babies, this is not actually our daughter’s name. I’m using to here to protect her and her online identity.
Have a wonderful week everyone and happy blogging!