Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Chase Alone - The Pursuit of Your Dreams

In our childhood flight of the imagination, a few of us wanted to be astronauts, some ballerinas. Some cowboys, others doctors – we had among us lawyers, athletes, presidents, chefs, pilots, singers, actors, painters, authors, teachers.… In the corner of our minds we had our future mapped out and it seemed so possible, so realistic, so within reach and inevitable.

Then life happened.
I cannot remember the last time I stopped to remember who I was. Or what I wanted to become or where I was heading. Used to be a time when I would “escape” the pressure forces around me, clear my mind, and continue to develop my plan for the future. In that entirety, however, I deserted the inner wishes of my essence. A moment of awakening when you notice that the hustle and bustle of life’s happenings have misplaced the dreams of childhood of what you thought would become; the mark you thought you would leave.

If we are being honest, most of us cannot remember the true feeling of having the world by its tail.
What was the price you paid to give up on your dream? Mine was a package deal, complete with three weeks paid vacation, parking (although three blocks uphill both ways), and a view overlooking a scenic park. It was meant to be a temporary stepping stone into medical school. But as I settled into my routine of motherhood, I quickly grasped the conception of a medical student’s schedule. The residency agenda alone was not the hands on approach I wanted in raising my son; watching him grow up in photos was not the ideal picture I had in mind. So I thought I would hit the pause button on that dream and pursue law school; it was a passion of mine – politics, negotiations, justice. But yet, after graduating with my undergrad, I soon fell into the comfort zone of that package deal I had signed up for. As weeks turned into months, I soon saw five years dissipate and with them my aspirations of what truly placed fire in my spirit.

The "Easier" Road
I saw a movie once that asked the question “why do children love athletes?” … the response gave me the giggles, “Because they have sex with lingerie models.”... and to continue those chortles was the response, “No, that’s why we love them” … Children love athletes because they followed their dreams. When we were younger we were taught we could be anything we desired. Destined for greatness. Anything our hearts most wanted could be obtained. As we grew older, we relinquished that fire inside of us that wanted to pursue our dreams no matter the cost. We quickly became wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of life, the easier road. Soon our dreams were sacrificed, put on hold, and for some, given up completely for the comforts society deems necessary. Money, power, the white picket fence – these are the consoles presented that gave us the illusion that what we so desired to be way back in the days of old was worth giving up …. To be comfortable.

Granted, the easier road is misleading as it truly is not that easy. More often than not there is more bills than money, more trials that success, more tears than smiles it seems. But what if, just for a moment, you picture yourself giving up your current comfort zone to once again chase your dream … That road too is hard, almost unimaginable to obtain … but those who become what they are meant to be only accomplish such an achievement by taking that HARDER ROAD. They never give up, even when, ESPECIALLY when the road is paved with hard decisions, tough trials, slamming doors, the “never going to happen”, the word no, the heartache, and at times despair. They continue the pursuit of their dreams because they know only in that quest will they find pure happiness. The easier road is not part of their traveled path. Trying and failing far beats regret any day of the week. And they choose to try, for without trying what is life? A meaningless exists of routine that provides a lack of true pleasure – just a series of events that we face, not that we LIVE. Choosing to persevere through hardships, self doubt, and defeat is the only solution for chasing that dream you so once held so close. In order to truly give merit to what we dreamed up so long ago, we must seek our goals and aspirations no matter the cost of hardship. For without dreams, there is no meaning or purpose and all is lost.

What if today was your last day?
Would you be comfortable with your legacy, your mark on the world? Would you have achieved those goals, aspirations, dreams that you once created and dreamt up many moons ago? Do you have the inner courage to give up the comfort of today in order to give your dreams a possibility at a fighting chance? You cannot ignore the pain of the past, but how long are you going to mourn and in turn move on? Life has given us difficult lessons to shape us, and will continue to provide such lessons; shouldn’t the classroom be in the format of “achieving your dreams” instead of “just getting by”? Nothing is set in stone, and call me crazy, but I don’t want to pretend any more that just getting by is enough to quench my appetite of what life truly can offer, if we are brave enough with inner courage to pursue.

Stop living in fear and fight for your dreams – the diminutive and the immense.
Life shapes us, and restructures our goals; there comes a moment when life goes off course and in this desperate moment you must choose your direction. For me, I want to be somebody who can face the things I have been running from. I want to feel and get back in touch with that girl who had the world by the tail; even if it means I fall down. I no longer want to be the expert at playing it safe and staying in the comfort zone; I refuse to let my life rule over what I long desire. Even though the tears, at least I will know I lived if I truly go after what I most wished so long ago … a person who changes the world one individual at a time … I want to be somebody who is true to her inner spirit and no longer sold out for a package deal – complete with a view or not – nothing can compare to the view I would have if and WHEN I truly achieve and become who I am meant to be. Does it mean I will get to wear ballet shoes and perform this year’s solo performance? Not likely … but it does mean that I will reopen my mind to the possibilities that I can have – the possibilities that are endless – the possibilities that make life mine. And in turn, I may not become a doctor that fixes the sick, but I will be in my son’s eyes “a doctor” of life’s achievements – of getting the point that getting by is not enough.

And … so can you be that somebody. Ask yourself the question of what is holding you back, and then in the same retrospect, what would be enough to push you forward? Fighting for that dream, even if it ends in utter failure, is the greatest achievement in one’s quest. It may not come in a framed diploma that hangs on your wall, but the chase alone is the wood, the air, the fuel your fire needs to grow … and the “smores” of childhood will never taste as sweet as being produced from the fire you yourself created.

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