What do you want to be when you grow up?
I heard this question a lot when I was a little girl.
I had a ton of answers too: Wonder Woman, ballet dancer, designer, singer, artist, model, doctor, magician, circus acrobat, lawyer, translator, and more. You name it. I probably considered it. My dreams evolved and became more practical as I got older, but it was those “far fetched” dreams that gave me hope and opened my mind to possibilities.
When you have a family, sometimes it feels like you’re putting your dreams on hold, or putting them on the back burner. This is never fun because there’s always something in the back of your mind telling you that you’re missing out or your life isn’t complete. Even if your life is really good and fulfilling, there’s still that nagging tug deep inside that says, “Hey, you forgot something, . . . you know, over here in the corner?” I believe with all of my heart that each of us was created for a purpose, and that purpose is that seed planted deeply within us that we probably recognized at an early age, but because of life and circumstances tucked it away neatly and tried to ignore it.
This is something that I’ve been struggling with lately. As I get older and my personal space and time seems to be shrinking, I find myself having to fight those negative thoughts that tell me I’m getting too old, or I have too many responsibilities, or whatever shades of muck seem to be clouding my day and blocking my view.
So, here’s the deal and something that I absolutely know to be true: Just because our circumstances change doesn’t mean that our dreams can’t become a reality. They may be packaged differently or we may have to take an alternate route to get to them, but if they are inside of us (that’s you and me), then believe me, there is a way to see them fulfilled.
Honestly, most the things that I’ve been able to accomplish in my life have had absolutely nothing to do with my circumstances. In one way or another my circumstances have always been contrary to any success I’ve achieved. There seems to always be something in the way — negative people, lack of support, hardships, bad timing, low self-esteem, no connections, blah, blah, blah. I attribute my ability to transcend these obstacles to my faith because it keeps me positive. And when I am positive, my thought life is healthy. And when my thought life is healthy, negative circumstances are nothing more than a vapor. Here today, gone tomorrow.
One of my favorite quotes reads:
Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Chose your words, for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits, for they will become your character. Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.
I don’t know if this quote originated from Ralph Waldo Emerson, Lao Tse, or Margaret Thatcher (The original source has been hard to pin down), but it doesn’t matter. This quote has most definitely rung true for me in my life.
So, how are you doing on your dreams? You know, the ones you had before life got busy and you started putting everyone else’s dreams before your own. I know that it’s hard to focus on yourself sometimes, so I just wanted to encourage you today to keep believing in yourself and the possibilities no matter what your current situation might dictate.
My father is one of the most optimistic people I know (My mom is pretty spectacular too, but I’ll save that for another post ). He’s been in a war, shot down and left to die in the middle of a jungle somewhere. He’s faced unbelievable obstacles in his life from discrimination to you name it. But growing up, I never would have known because he has always faced each day as a new beginning and a new opportunity to thrive, and because of this, he has accomplished some really amazing things in his lifetime.
He was talking to me the other day about how thinking positively can affect the whole landscape of your life and how it doesn’t always come easily. Sometimes you have to fight for it. Fight for it? I asked. He explained what he meant by sharing how he starts his day:
Each morning I get up to prepare for my morning run. Sometimes it takes a minute to get the circulation moving. Sometimes I don’t want to move. I place my feet on the floor and wiggle my toes. I first thank GOD for the day to begin my day with gratitude. While I’m sitting there in the dark, I put a big obnoxious grin on my face and hold it there for at at least 30 seconds. Then I make my way to the bathroom, flip the light switch on and just look at myself with that big goofy grin. I can’t help but laugh at myself. This is how I start each day.
I’ve started doing this, too, my friends, and it works! Laughter is like medicine, except it works on your heart, your soul and your outlook. So many times I listen to my children laughing and marvel at how easy it is for them to “crack up” at the silliest things. And then I put one of those goofy grins on my face and look in the mirror. Then I remember. It changes my disposition, reminds me not to take myself so seriously, and places me in a really good position to command the day. That dreaming little girl from a long time ago peeks around the corner and says, “I’m still here. You can do this!”.
Life is short. You are important, and so are your dreams. Don’ t think of your life and your dreams as “either or”. Just figure out another way to make them happen! Your dreams are not only about you. They also make this world a better place.
Keep doin’ what you love!