What am I doing with my life? What do I want to be when I grow up? Where do I go to college? I have my degree, now what? Why didn’t I pursue my dreams? I worked so hard to get what I want so why do I still feel empty?
When I was in elementary school I wanted to be an art teacher. When I got into highschool I moved to wanting a more graphic design/marketing approach. By the time I finished college I had changed my major three times and changed minors half a dozen times. I came out with my degree in Religion specializing in Women’s Ministry and minoring in Psychology. Yet five years later, though I have worked actively at my church in numerous ministries, my career path would find me working in the world of contracting for the DoD, supporting the military.
I grew up having a plethora of hobbies and passions. In high school I was on the basketball team, in band, in jazz band, in art club, and a part of DECA (we ran the school store and competed in international business competitions). Currently I enjoy weightlifting, playing volleyball and basketball, writing, painting, and playing music just to name a few hobbies. Some of these things are more plausible for a living than others and some I’m more passionate about than others.
Funny thing though, as children we are encouraged that we can be anything we want to be and to dream big. But somewhere along the way some of us stop chasing the dreams we had when we were younger. Or maybe our dreams change but we cease to chase them with the same determination and drive. Then one day we “wake up” and realize we aren’t happy in life where we are or we feel like we have just wasted time. You could have the career you always worked to have but your personal and social life have suffered. On the other hand, you might have a dream social and personal life but you dread going to work every morning.
The other day I was sitting in my parent’s kitchen with my mom when she announced that she finally knew what she wanted to be when she grew up! It made me smile. Then a few days later I was on Facebook watching a video when a very cool and profound thought hit me that I want to share, well two thoughts.
1- It is never too late to pursue your dreams and chase after what you want to be when you grow up.
2- Wherever you are in life, however old you are…YOU are someone’s hero.
The video I was watching was a compilation of professional athletes meeting and/or interacting with their pint-size fans. It made me smile to watch these kids light up at getting to interact with these people that they held in such high regard; their heroes. And it struck me that you don’t have to be at the top of your game (no pun intended…haha) to inspire someone and to be a hero to someone.
I remember being in elementary school and every year the high school Choral singing and dancing group would come and perform. I would watch in amazement and think how pretty and handsome the girls and guys were. I couldn’t wait to get to high school to be as grown up as they were (if only, right?!) But you get my point. Then I got to high school and my junior and senior years had a chance to visit some friends in college where I would later attend. It was a whole new world- a grown up world full of freedom and excitement that I couldn’t wait for.
Oddly enough, we seem to always be in a constant state of looking up to people even if we don’t feel very hero-like in our own circumstances. But the reality is we are; you are! Maybe you are a stay at home mom who feels like she’s wasting her education and youth because she sees all the Facebook posts of her college friends who are off traveling and being promoted in their work field while you sit with spit up in your hair and are so tired you can’t remember if you changed your underwear this morning. Maybe you’re a blue collared dad who never could afford college and so you learned a trade but feel inferior to the other dads you see at your kids basketball game because they don’t have grease caked under your fingernails. Or you can’t afford to buy your wife that gorgeous diamond bracelet she’s been hinting at for her birthday because you’re fighting just to make ends meet this month. Maybe you are a CFO at the top of your business who is well liked and appreciated but you are constantly stressed at the thought of falling from the pedestal that your colleagues have put you on. Not to mention that you haven’t talked to your parents in about a month because you have just been too busy meeting this quarter’s goals and your spouse has had to take on more than their share of the weight because your career goals have somehow weaseled their way to the top of your priority list.
Or maybe…maybe you’re a 27 year old single woman who dreamt that she’d be married by now, thriving in ministry, and would be closer to her career dreams instead of feeling stuck and afraid.
To my first point, if you don’t feel like you’ve pursued your dreams or passions in life…it’s never too late to start. Carve out what time you have in your schedule to start, trust the Lord, and follow the open doors he has waiting for you! Go! Do it! If my dad can go to school as a 45 year old freshman with two girls in middle school & high school, complete with activities and still work a full time job with a 2 hour commute both ways so can you! As a junior in high school I was even his math tutor until he was able to get past his pre-reqs. No shame whatsoever in getting help when and where you need it. My 55 year old mother is looking at the end of her IT career of 20 years and looking to the future with her sewing and Etsy business! You CAN do it! I’m finally putting my gears in motion to start honing my craft for what I’m passionate about and hope to see a successful career one day!
My second point, you are more of a hero to SOMEONE than you even realize. To the stay at home mom, you’re a hero to your husband because the second you go out of town and he’s left with all you do, he completely panics and realized how incredibly strong and beautiful you are, how on point all of your multitasking skills are, and how he can’t picture his life without you. To the blue collar dad, you are a hero to your kids because you may be at their basketball game with grease under your nails but guess what? You’re there! And they see that even though you are working hard, you are always there to support them. Your wife may not have a diamond bracelet but she has your loyalty and love and she sees how hard you work to provide the basics, which is enough! To the business executive, you’re a hero to your co-workers because even though you have an incredibly heavy workload, you always manage to have a positive attitude and you exude leadership that inspires others to want to work hard for you. They also see your efforts to re-prioritize your life so that your family gets your number one attention and so you have a better work-life balance.
And to the single woman who feels like she’s failed in so many aspects of her life because she hasn’t “accomplished” anything that the world deems successful. I would take a look at what your measure of accomplishment and success are. You may not have the financial stability you want but God has always met your needs and the lives that God has graced you with the privilege of being a part of cannot be counted. Your deeds may not seem much of a success yet, but your character is…at least it’s getting there. And you are taking steps, moving forward to see what doors God is going to open and bless in your new career/life ventures.
So go…be someone’s hero today just by being you. And if you still have more in this life you want to see accomplished, be brave and bold to go after it. Because after all, it’s never to late to figure out what you want to be when you grow up!