where the writers are
Dreams Need Not Die

Originally written 19 August 2011...

I've wanted to be a dozen different things growing up: Jedi Knight, astronaut, teacher, marine biologist, secret agent, and professional baseball player just to name a few. Seriously, how many phases did I go through as a child? Granted, I'm now an adult and I still want to be a Jedi Knight, but I question my sanity when marine biologist comes across the screen. If I'm really honest about it, I just wanted to swim with dolphins at the time, considering I'm terrible at any branch of science with math that goes beyond basic arithmetic. I also wanted to walk on the moon or hit a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth to win it. I've grown up with these fanciful dreams, figuring I'd just get there someday if I was patient enough. If I studied hard enough in school, I'd just get the job, right?

Honestly, I think our entire education system's rubbish. How am I supposed to learn something according to how someone else thinks I should learn it? If I'm an individual, a person with no identical match in this world, how am I supposed to grow to my fullest potential? Think about it this way: if you allow a tree to grow, but circle it with whatever it is you used to force a tree to grow toward the sun, it can never grow naturally. Even though the boundaries are there for it's health and protection, it is automatically limited in what it can do and how it can grow.

So the problem is that no one ever told me how to take those necessary steps in getting to where I wanted to be in the future. Instead, they just asked me what I wanted to be and why and set up the necessary boundaries for my growth without considering that I may be destined to grow differently. Disclaimer: I'm not here to write some wordy essay about how we should teach our kids, and I'm sure as hell not here to preach or say things should be a certain way because I say so. No. I'm just saying that after twenty years, I've finally realized that what I want to do with my life isn't any of those things I used to spout as a child. I've never wanted a traditional nine-to-five job. I never could thrive according to someone else's precise schedule. And I don't think I'm alone in that. Not just with work, but with school. And now I realize that that's okay.

Now that I'm half way through college, I'm beginning to see how my education has shaped me a certain way. I'm not saying it's good or bad, just that it's not my style. So after much meditation and consideration, I've come to the conclusion that "traditional" just isn't in my repertoire. My tree may be destined to grow toward a different star. I don't want a traditional home with a traditional job and a traditional social life. It's my life, and I just can't live like that, even after growing up thinking that's what I was supposed to want. Sure, some people can live that way and love it, and that's the beauty of the human race: we're all a little bit different while still being a little bit the same. It's okay not to be exactly like our neighbor or even our idol. It's okay to pursue something completely new that we've never delved into before. It's okay to give things a second glance and challenge our opinion about it. Embrace the change, and embrace the life that only we can lead. It's time to embrace ourselves.

So what's the point of this somewhat-coherent blog post? That I declare that I have embraced my alternative interests when it comes to learning and working, and will now pursue the nontraditional bits of life that I was never formally taught. So farewell astronaut and secret agent faux-dreams and hello to the online world of digital media creation that actually speaks to me and not to what I was told speaks to me. Thus begins a new installment in my series of life. I hope you, dearest reader, take something from this, whatever it may be, that benefits you and your own dreams. I invite you to comment, even anonymously, about something you've always wanted to explore and tell me one thing you can do to move toward that dream. Then go out and freaking do it.