Have you had the chance to watch a young child playing? Of course you have! They are amazing – children can find joy in the smallest things and be happy playing with a box.
Do you remember how that felt? The pure joy of feeling rain on your face or mud between your toes? Can you reproduce that feeling in what you do today?
Go back in time . . . what did you want to do when you were a child? What were your dreams? When I was a child there were two things I wanted to do – or be. Studying oceanography was first on the list. Studying dolphins, whales and sea lions appealed to me. Living near the ocean, being on a boat, diving and becoming familiar with sharks – it all sounded like heaven on earth.
Of course, I grew up in Illinois and the option of going to college on the coast – any coast – was completely out of the question.
The second dream was to become a writer. Books, articles, programs and screen writing were all possibilities.
Today, that’s exactly what I do. After practicing medicine for over 20 years and going through a number of different life experiences, the experiences have all come together to make this life work.
What did you want to be when you grow up? Can you remember?
Maybe you had a dream to be a doctor, cowboy or a ballerina. No matter how silly you might think these dreams are today, do you think your life is close to what you dreamed? In other words have your dreams met your reality?
You may not have become a doctor, but maybe you practice nursing, or veterinary medicine. Maybe you volunteer on medical missions or volunteer at a local clinic. Each of these activities fulfills the dream of helping others.
So while you might not have become a doctor, maybe you have realized your dream to help others. Too many times we listened to our parents and move toward a career or choice that seem to fit with their vision in life. And all too often we do the same thing to our own children.
My youngest son is a talented basketball player. He could have played a division II college – but his dream was to get a top-notch education, which didn’t include practicing for hours on end each day. While I would have thoroughly enjoyed watching him play college ball it wasn’t in his dreams.
Were your dreams thwarted by your parents or relatives? Sometimes even well-meaning friends can stifle a dream. BUT – nothing is wrong with any job – as long as you choose the job and as long as you are happy and satisfied with the choice.
The same is true for your children – you can’t live out your dreams through their actions and their actions will not complete you. I was happy with my choice of becoming a nurse – until I wasn’t. And when I wasn’t, I chose another route, a different path. A new path is not always smooth and easy and many times it’s so far from easy that you aren’t sure if you made a complete mistake by choosing it!
If you decide to do something and then your life plans fall apart, you won’t have been the only one. Events can conspire to push you toward choices you may not have otherwise made. But, those choices may leave you feeling as if your defaulted on a contract with yourself, leading you to feelings of depression, anxiety and lack of self-esteem.
No matter how well you perform your job, you may feel dissatisfied and unfulfilled. . . unless you consciously change your choice and honestly enjoy what you’re currently doing. No one can make you do that or feel it. Even you can’t force yourself to feel a way that you don’t.
The great thing about feelings is they don’t have a life of their own. There is no life in your feelings. You give them life by meditating on them and believing them to be true – but that’s an entirely different conversation!
So what’s happening today to make you doubt your decisions?
It’s likely that something is – it’s possible that you want something different without fully appreciating that you want it.
It could be you’re perfectly satisfied with your life and you would be a very blessed person.
Society and advertisers prey on your desire to have more, be someone better, do something memorable. And, while these desires are not bad – they are not good if they tempt you to want more than you actually DO.
It’s okay to be satisfied and to enjoy who you are and what you have, but if you honestly don’t, it may be time to start evaluating your choices and your options as you did when you were a child.
Without the addition of an adult filter, take a good look at your life, consider your options and decide if those choices are:
- Made from love
- Won’t hurt anyone
- Will help you and your family
- Smart financial choices for your family’s health
- You are willing to make the sacrifices to achieve those goals and enjoy the results
These are difficult questions – and the right answers are those only you can provide for yourself and your family.