Plans. We all have them. Some of us plan a little more detailed than others. Some of us like to wing it while others get down to the nitty gritty. But we all have some sort of plan. It’s ingrained in us from the time we were little and were asked that infamous question (at least a zillion times by a zillion different people) “What are you going to be when you grow up?”
What I should have said was “I’m FIVE! I don’t know yet, but I’ve got time to figure it out!” Instead, I rattled off one thing or another, always in keeping with those typical childhood dreams: a teacher, a singer, an actress, an astronaut, a fire fighter, President of the United States. . . .
At some point, those dreams were popped as some realist came along with their cynical pin cushion. The balloons floated to the ground, only to be swept aside as a more realistic goal was formed. These new goals are often encouraged by those we hold dear. Someone well-intentioned who cares about our success.
The pressure to plan our future continues as we journey through childhood into our teenage years. Where are you going to go to college? What will you study? What are you going to do with your degree?
The pinnacle of this path is college graduation; where I am at right now. At this point, we have two expectations placed upon us.
We’re expected to know what we want to do with our lives and we’re expected to have the tools to do that thing (a.k.a. – a college degree). But what happened to living? What happened to dreaming?
Conrad Hilton, founder of the Hilton hotel chains, once said “To accomplish big things I am convinced you must first dream big dreams.”
I come from a family of dreamers, yet I find myself afraid of my dreams. To pursue my dreams means taking a risk. “What if I fail?” has been my mantra; fear has been my guide. But I’m slowly realizing that fear of failure robs me not only of my dreams but also of my joy and my hope. Dreams are just one way of hoping for a better future, and this is a hope we all need.
So, as I look beyond graduation, I’m heading off to pursue some dreams. Really, they’re bucket-list items. But all three are things I’ve attempted before… and failed all three times.
I’m going to go work in an orphanage in Uganda for three weeks. This is something I tried to do in 2006 and the door was closed then. But it’s open now.
I’m going to go to the United Kingdom. This is something I planned to do in 2005 and never left.
I’m going to drive to California and try to find a job, so I can move there long-term. This is something I did in 2004 and returned all too soon.
I’m going to go and pursue my dreams. I’m going to stop letting the fear of failure dictate my life. Might success elude me? It’s possible. But at least I’ll be able to say I tried.
Maybe I, too, will accomplish big things as I give wings to my big dreams.
–Deanna Voss is a senior English minor.