When I was in 2nd or 3rd grade (I honestly can’t remember which one), I wanted to be a space policeman. For more than a month, I was convinced that there was an alien force coming to Earth, and I wanted to be the badass who stood in their way. Huge laser, helmet with a visor, insulated-gel armor – the whole works. Nothing would stop me, and I’d become king of the galaxy.

That was my dream job. I blame Independence Day and Aliens, but nevertheless, I was ready to pursue it.

And then I wanted to be a mailman. My dad’s a mailman – he’s been a letter carrier for over 20 years. In my mind, he spent each day going through every letter, and every magazine, preparing it for when he ventured out into the world with his bag. He was able to meet new people every day, and bring the gift of the mail right to their doorstep. When it got tough (and that was almost daily), he stuck through with it, and was able to take me to almost every ball game. Obviously, this was another lofty expectation, far exceeding the reality that being a letter carrier is absolutely grueling and painstaking without much reward. My dad loathes his job, and would do anything in his power to find a new place to dedicate his 9-10 hours of work. But when I was a child, all I saw was his smile every day, and all I heard were goofy jokes made while I watched cartoons.

I didn’t see it then, but years later, I realized that his dream job of being a parent was being lived. He was unhappy during the day, but by night, when we had family time, he could smile again. He still does.

I never really sat down and took the time to figure out what my dream job would actually be lately. I have a lot of dreams, just as lofty as childhood, but… they’re different now.

I dream of finding myself doing improv theatre in New York, and working my way to the cast of Saturday Night Live.

I dream of having my works published, and becoming a New York Times bestselling author for weeks in a row.

I dream of becoming a CEO for a large marketing firm, spending my days discussing synergy, and my nights researching whatever the hell “synergy” is.

The problem with growing up is that dreams get replaced with goals, and we lose sight of the importance of dreaming. Dreaming of being a space policeman, or being the friendly neighborhood letter carrier, creates entirely unrealistic expectations, while making goals to a better future has solid grounding.

Somewhere, down the line, we wised up to the harsh reality of the world, and we lost sight of the importance of dreaming. It became about the career, and not the self-expression it was meant to be. Now all I want to do, is to dream again. To remember what it’s like to define the “impossible” as the “probable.”

I’d take it all back any day of the week.

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