Lately, if you ask how I’m doing, my reply is “living the dream”. I remember Mr. Smith (my high school history teacher) asking me, “Bobby, what are you going to do with yourself when you an adult, assuming you survive that long?” At that time, I wanted to be a teacher and “to have enough children to warrant owning a minivan”. Guess what folks? I’ve finally got the minivan of my dreams as I enter my 18th year as a teacher. I am, according to my teenage self, living my dream.
But there are other dreams I’ve had along the way. I’ve dreamt of serving in combat, working on some high-speed mission in a dangerous land on the other side of the globe. I’ve dreamt of being in school forever; as the student, not the teacher. Seriously, I would love to have degrees in everything; especially astrophysics! I’ve dreamt of running the dojo full-time and wearing my karate uniform for most of my waking hours. I’ve dreamt of making a million dollars in one year, only to give it all away. I dream all the time. You have to.
The thing is though, that I’ve had to put most of those dreams on the shelf; some for a season, others forever. I’ll never serve in a combat zone. I had the opportunity…it could have happened, but when the opportunity came, my oldest son was a baby. I was not going to leave my young family for a dream. There are countless men and women who can…and God bless them. They are rock stars and heroes in my eyes.
For at least the next twenty years, I don’t see myself getting all of those degrees that I dream about earning. That dream is on the shelf for a season.
It’s funny, in the sad sort of way, how we can become so attached to our hopes and dreams; almost as if our entire identity were wrapped up in the image we project for our future selves. Don’t get me wrong…putting dreams away, either for good or just for a season, is tough. There a grieving process that goes along with it…a real, legit process.
Dreams are meant to drive us toward goals, but shouldn’t distract us from the things that matter most. Our dreams and goals are mean to show us a way, not a destination.