College Dreams

A few months ago, an old friend of mine attempted to take me to task over my old college dreams. The statement went something along the lines of, “Back X years ago, you had dreams and plans, and I don’t see that in you now.”

Well, around 10 years ago, I was in college. During that time, the future I saw for myself included being a well-known writer/speaker, marrying a certain someone (who hadn’t shown the slightest bit of romantic interest in me), and being financially well-off and well-traveled.

Pretty much none of those things have happened. But I’m okay with it; in fact, I was a little baffled that it bothered her so much.

Here’s why:

At some point in life, you have to grow up and take responsibility for your own life. Dreams and otherworldly guidance are nice, but essentially going wherever the wind takes you can easily leave you confused. At some point, divine guidance has to meet up with common sense. If you are in an abusive relationship, but you thought God told you he was the one, at some point you have to make a choice: Do I stay here just for the sake of what I think I heard, or do I leave and understand that the lesson here may have been less about a soulmate and more about developing a backbone?If you dream of starting a company, do you not try to provide for yourself until that’s accomplished, or do you work hard and keep your eyes open for opportunities to pursue that dream?

I’m not saying that dreams are bad or should be tossed out the window with the onset of adulthood. However, I am saying that if we were all judged by the expectations we had for ourselves in college, most of us would be considered failures at life.

Life happens. And that’s okay; it’s supposed to. As we get older, (hopefully) we get smarter and better equipped to handle those dreams, should they come true. But there is nothing wrong with going along with the twists and turns in life’s road. Of course, in the midst of particularly beleaguering detours, it can be hard to feel at peace with the current situation. Still, though, many times detours provide different scenery, unexplored places, new adventures, and a stronger character.

No, I have not achieved all my college dreams. But that’s okay, because I’m not in college anymore. I’d like to think my dreams are maturing with me.


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