I have been thinking a great deal about my friend Adam (not his real name) who died several years ago at a relatively young age. He comes to mind nearly every time I observe someone who is not pursuing her/his dreams. Adam wanted to study law after college, but his parents had other plans for him and he followed their dream instead of his own. Unlike some people who fall in love with their profession even if it was not their first choice, Adam never did. And he was never happy with his life.
In recent conversations with several acquaintances, it has surprised me to notice how many reference a dream they have put “on hold” while they fulfill their current and more pressing responsibilities. These energetic people have exciting plans for some point in the future when they believe they will be free to pursue them. In Adam’s case, the choice was a major one made long ago. But how many of us are making choices NOW to do things we “should” do rather than something we are thrilled to do?
Here are a few questions I suggest we consider over the coming days…
… Is fear of failing standing between me and my dream?
… Have I put my dream/dreams “on hold” to live the life others expect me to live?
… Is there someone in my life who feels threatened by my dream?
… With whom can I discuss my dream, and can I count on that person to encourage me in pursuing it?
Whatever our answers, we have much to gain by exploring the reasons we sometimes (or often) choose to delay our chance for happiness.
p.s. As I was writing this post, I came I came across this delightful interview with Michelle Nkamankeng, a 7-year old author from Johannesburg, South Africa. I plan to embrace her sage advice: “Always follow your dreams.”