With Jon’s first day of school today, I couldn’t help but think about dreams. He’s had this one, of going back to school for engineering, for almost as long as I’ve known him. I remember him saying in his first year of law school that he’d made a mistake, but it was too late to turn back. (If only I could go back and shriek, “No! It’s not! Drop out of law school right now and get your engineering degree!” But alas.) I am very excited for him that it’s really beginning to come true.
Jon has always been a big dreamer. He has dreams of being a pilot, dreams of being an engineer…when he was a kid, he had dreams of being a paleontologist. Me, I’ve never been a huge dreamer. Lots of things make me really happy, but there’s no over-arching goal that drives me. I’ve always known I was meant to be a writer, but I’ve never had a specific dream tied to that objective.
In a way, I think I’m lucky. I’ll never be bitterly disappointed or deeply let down. I’m content, and I think that’s rarer than one would imagine. I enjoy my job and find fulfillment and growth in it each year, and I can see myself doing it for years to come.
Yet, in a way, I envy Jon his passions. Flying puts a light in his eyes that is really unique, and he is truly dedicated to going back for his engineering degree, spending hours upon hours for the last few months brushing up on math skills so he’d be ready. If I was more of a dreamer, I might be doing more with my writing. Maybe I’d even be published (beyond the newspaper articles and news releases I’ve written). I used to love writing children’s stories and I’ve had an idea or two for a young adult novel kick around in my head. But, the same contentment that I mostly prize can also be seen as a lack of drive, and I haven’t pursued any of those goals.
That begs a question: is it that I’m not a dreamer, or is it that I’m afraid of failure? When I really stop and think about it, I think it may be the latter. I do have dreams: a Mediterranean cruise and a two-week tour of Europe come to mind. I’d also love to have my byline appear in a magazine someday. Most of all, I want to lose weight and be pretty. (And healthy, obviously.) But I’m easily swayed away from them, whether because I think the money could be better spent or because I think there’s no real chance of something happening–so why try, only to be disappointed?
I am hoping that the Fittest Loser contest is a sign that my dreams will start to come true. But even if I am not accepted, I have to think about Jon’s example and be inspired. His dreams are coming true due to sacrifice and hard work, and mine can be accomplished if I am willing to do the same. And, this year, I really believe that I’m willing.