I spent the evening at an awards program for the graduating class of 2012. Interesting endeavor. I couldn’t help but listen to their hopes and dreams without a touch of sarcasm. The reality is that most of you aren’t going to reach those dreams. Well, maybe the girl who wanted to live in a barn, but for the most part your dreams will never come true.
I know that sounds like a horrible thing to say but its really a good thing. The dreams of an 18 year old are not normally the dreams of a 30 or 40phor year old. If your dreams are set as an 18 year old you may have a straight path but that straight path is going to be boring. It’s going to have bumps and detours. Some of those bumps will be the most fun you’ve ever had and some of those detours will lead you in a direction that you can’t yet see. The bumps and the turns and the detours and the hazards are what makes the trip worthwhile. I didn’t hear anyone say. “I’m just going to drift for awhile and see where I fall.” Not the correct thing to say in front of your family and friends. Not a bad strategy though. A friend from high school was just intimating about her daughter’s “gap” year. What a concept! Take a year and see the world. See the country! See whatever is out there beyond your present confines. Find out what’s out there. Take some chances and live. God knows there are no “gap” years when you turn 40phor. Or maybe there are but they are a lot harder to justify.
I wouldn’t take dreams from a kid because we need them to dream for us. To provide some sort of vicarious existence for the rest of us. I would ask them though to not dream so rigidly. Keep an open mind right up to the point where your brain is ready to fall out. That’s what young people should do. Take their time and see what the world is about before they wish for a 4 bedroom house with an attached two car garage, 1.4 kids and an MBA from Wharton. Develop opinions based on multiple points of view outside of their present existence. That is a position that I can vicariously wrap my entire entity around.
What I’m talking about is a true reality check. The reality that there is more to life than you have had the pleasure of observing in a mere 18 years. That the plethora of choices and attitudes and opinions waiting for you out there/out here is mind numbing, mind boggling, and scary. The thought you haven’t even thought to think. The places that you don’t learn about in 11th grade geography. The depth of discovery available to you. All out there for your enjoyment; yours for the taking.
It’s your reality check. Write it for yourself and for the rest of us.