Remember, back when you were in school and your classmates and others would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” If you were an ambitious dreamer, like me, you would spin tales of unlived possibilities in an unknown future that lies just around the bend beyond the familiar terrain of the present.
You were young. You had dreams. As a young adult you were just starting your life’s journey and may have been willing to take the midnight train going anywhere, just to get a chance to experience something new and exciting. You were bold, adventurous, and though you may have been afraid, you were willing to roll the dice just one more time just to see what fate might tempt you with.
You were alive. The whole world was yours for the asking. You had a belief that you could do anything – and you could – all you had to do was to take the step and doors would open. You believed a vast world of possibilities held treasures in store for you, and if someone dared ask you about it, you could tell stories of a future yet to be realized, like a movie that never ends, and go on and on…
Then something happened
The rude awakening – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – you want the reasonable basics of life. And you start pondering more base questions about life, like “Where will I live?” Where will my next meal come from? How can I support myself? What do I have to offer a potential mate?
While you still believe and are willing to continue to dream, life grabs you by the wrist and hurls you into a sense of duty and responsibility as you reason, “I need to get a job.” Or some other sobering thought, as you hear the door to the cage close, realizing you’ve just been caught in the trap of life.
Life in prison
Day by day, your enthusiasm wanes as your dreams fade and you stop believing in a fabulous future. You resign yourself to the mundane day to day lifestyle of a reality where dreams no longer exist and become accustom to the engine’s drone as you taxi into your life of mediocrity.
The little, rare fanfares interrupt your otherwise “normal” life, where every day is just the same as the day before. The alarm goes off, the scurry to do what needs to be done. The hustle and bustle of your daily routine, which could probably be conducted while blindfolded, all to find yourself safely at home. Relax for a few minutes, until “lights out.” And it starts all over again.
And you go about making the best of your life in prison, without a thought of what’s going on outside, because to allow yourself to think of it would just be too tragic. That is, until you meet that young person, of whom you ask the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
In that moment you remember a time when you believed in all the possibilities, and you hope maybe to get a glimpse in the life of this young person of the flame that once burned in you so brightly. You think, even though you wasted your chance, maybe you could recapture the feeling by living vicariously through the life of this youth. Then, invariably, the young person with a dream of a brighter future begins to ask, “Where will I live?” and you know what comes next, as you shrug your shoulders and resign yourself to believe that belief is folly.
Don’t Stop Believing!
And that’s just how society has trained you to think and react. When you stop believing, the machine wins as you become nothing more than a functioning part of it, without hopes, dreams and unmotivated to disrupt the status quo.
It’s never too late to start believing and resuming your life’s journey again. All you have to do is to start where you left off. Have the courage to ask yourself, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Don’t think of yourself as someone whose future has already been spent. You can ever continue to grow and change, embracing a brighter future and daring to do something to make the world a better place, no matter what station in life you may be in or what your age might be.
Dare to dream about the bright future that lies ahead, waiting for you in the next season of your life.
As you step back into the driver’s seat, ready to embark on your renewed life’s journey, you can continue to grow, evolve, write and rewrite your life’s script, like the movie that never ends, it goes on and on, and on, and on…