It’s funny how years seems to run in themes. Or for me it does at least. I often find that whatever I was thinking on at the start of the year, tends to still be around at the end of the year, waiting to resolve itself.
Or maybe I’m just a bit slow on the uptake….
Anyway, way back in January, before Bing Bong, before Port Lincoln, and before NaNoWriMo consumed every available brain cell, I spent my days lazing around, drinking coffee and contemplating my existence. (Not really but it sounds more impressive than panicking about being a grown up whilst I picked up underwear off the bathroom floor again.) And I came to this conclusion that getting old was great because it narrowed down your choice of vocation, and told you effectively what you couldn’t be.
Inspiring stuff that was. 🙂
Anyway last week, I was talking to a new school-leaver and I left the conversation inspired. Also feeling slightly depressed and old, but mostly inspired.
Do you remember when you were seventeen, or eighteen or whatever age it was when you finished school? I do. The last day of school, was remarkably unremarkable which bothered me slightly (shouldn’t there have been a parade or at least a jaunty tune playing in the background?), but apart from that, the world was right there, at my finger tips and nothing was going to stop me.
There was no fear of failing in a really grand, supreme way. Of maybe saying the wrong thing or doing something so stupid that people would taunt you about it for the rest of your life (or, at the very least, you would replay on your ‘I’m the worst person in the world soundtrack’ whenever you felt the need.) I don’t even remember being worried about money, which says I was probably far more naive than anything, but it was also because back then, I believed anything could happen.
A few weeks ago, Potential Psychology linked a post to IBOT, about chasing down your dreams, and I went, ‘huh. What dreams?’ And for a devastating moment, I realised that somewhere along the road, in the midst of failures, and curve balls, and things happening that I didn’t expect, I gave up actually dreaming, and decided that going with the flow would be the better option. Just see what happens, and be content with that and trust that it was probably supposed to happen for a reason. Which is definitely a low stress way to live, and has its merit (flexibility and acceptance cannot be overrated), but it’s also a cop out.
A complete and utter excuse for not being proactive and doing anything. Sit back and trust that whatever will be will be, as if we have no say in that whatsoever.
Call me crazy, but I just don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to work.
When I left school, it was all about the big things I was going to do. The world was big and great and just waiting for me to change it.
And then I grew up a little, and a lot, and wisdom kicked in and said, ‘hey dude, it’s not always the big things. The little things often have so much more power.” And I loved wisdom for telling me that, because it’s right. Small acts are often the greatest. Valuing one can have so much more power than chasing the masses. Focusing on the seemingly insignificant, often is the exact opposite and carries more significance than the weight you give it.
That’s a great way to live.
But is that enough?
Because now that I’m a little bit older again, I find that wisdom somehow got replaced for fear, who is sitting here going, ‘keep it small, keep it closed, and just be little. There’s value in that. Don’t chase the bigger things. Put them out of your mind.”
And wisdom is like, “dude I told you to value small things; not give up and never chase your dreams.”
Wisdom’s cool like that.
Much like the inspiring school-leavers who are dreaming big and believing that anything can happen.
And so whilst I was partly right, at the start of the year, (growing up does make you realise there are some things you will never do), I also think I was really wrong. Because there’s always time to start again. To dream big and decide to make it happen. To follow the big picture plan, whilst still placing value on people at the grass-roots level. We weren’t ever meant to chase fame and popularity and success; life’s more than that. But that doesn’t mean we are meant to stay small and insignificant either.
It’s all about dreaming big, but loving small.
And kicking fear to the curb, whilst someone finally whistles that jaunty tune…
Do you feel more confident or fearful the older you get?
Do you still dream big?
What’s stopping you from doing so?