Adults would always as the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
What you wanted to BE, not what you wanted to DO! Not whom you wanted to work for, or how far up the corporate ladder you wanted to climb. It all seemed so simple then. The world was our playground and the only prerequisite to adulthood success was to grow up and take it.
But a funny thing happened on the way to adulthood. Things changed.
I don’t know when it happened, but it did. It slowly creeps in and invades our spirit. Joy, happiness and motivation get replaced with fear, frustration and defeat. Then one day the five year old with big dreams is gone. Crushed under the weight of obligation, expectation and guilt, he’s nowhere to be found.
What rises in his place is a mindless robot of self-perpetuation caught in a lie we’ve convinced ourselves is true. The lie that dreams are for children and fools. The lie that hard work is its own reward. The lie that a job, a family, and a home are enough.
We end up trapped in the pursuit of half-truths and pseudo happiness that leaves us comfortable and empty. Blindly we try to fill the emptiness by working harder and longer toward the dreamless goal of even more comfort. We are driven until pursuit of the goal BECOMES the goal. Before long, months turn to years and years to decades until we get so tired that all we want to do is stop, rest, and die quietly in our sleep.
But it’s not too late. The dreaming child is still in there, waiting to be resuscitated from his death like slumber.
If you feel like there should be something more to your life, but can’t put your finger on it, it’s time to wake him up. If you already have twice as much as anyone needs and its not enough, its time to wake her up. If you live to work instead of working so can live, its time to wake him up.
Not that you still want to be an astronaut or the President, because it wasn’t really about that anyway. It’s about the unbridled creative potential to become or accomplish something greater than yourself. It’s about making a difference. It’s about having an impact. It’s about being true to the passion at your core. The child’s dream that lurks within us has no ulterior motives, doesn’t care about money, and only seeks validation through expression. It’s about expressing the uniqueness that is you.
The key to waking the dream is simple. The key is to begin. Ignore the nagging voice that keeps you from trying. Be as unconventional as a child. Forget about what others might think. Toss aside the socially accepted rules of good sense and good taste. Plant a garden in your living room. Take a close up photo of everyone you meet. Park your motorcycle in the kitchen. Take a road trip with no destination. Paint a mural on your roof. Embarrass your children. Follow your heart.