The Road Not Traveled…

A recent article I read said that only 6% of Americans pursue their childhood dreams. In its title, the article promised to provide insight into why adults abandon their infant aspirations, but instead argued that it’s “probably for the best” to NOT pursue these dreams, or to at least not worry because you’re a better person for it. It said that people who do not end up in the profession that they hoped to attain as children grow up to be realistic adults, who handle rejection better, are less empathetic, less narrow-minded,  and more able to embrace change. I, of course, had many problems with the direction of the piece, because if anything, it is in the very struggle to achieve my childhood dream that I have grown in all of the areas listed. It’s because of the countless rejections, the moments of doubt, the ever-changing environments which I’m regularly called to perform in that have forced, or rather, encouraged me to become more open to new experiences, and to grow into a more thoughtful, and generous performer, sister, friend, neighbor, daughter, teacher, counselor, and Christian woman. So to argue against the piece, I would ask, are we better people because we abandon seemingly immature expectations, and fantasies, and because we are somehow made aware of the impossibility of achieving these dreams, and thus develop more rational outlooks on life? No. Are we better people because we DO pursue those fantasies? Again, no. Is it possible to learn the same life lessons, and turn into wonderfully strong, honorable, caring, and brave people regardless of what path we’ve taken? Yes.

At the end of the day I can’t regret the path I know nothing about, because I only know what I’ve lived. And what I’ve seen in my brief years of this gift of life has made me thankful for each moment. So I welcome the possibility that I am a better person because of the decisions that I’ve made, the trials I’ve overcome, the blessings that have been granted to me by my Maker, and the gifts I’ve received to continue on that path. Choosing to follow my dream makes me no better, or worse than a person who does not, or could not.

The author of the article is right about one thing, and I would say, one thing only. The world isn’t black, and white, and we often have to reconcile with the grey areas in order to be at peace with where we are in our lives today. It makes little sense, and adds little to one’s life to contemplate the “what ifs”. A valued former professor, and mentor of mine once said that you’ll never know where the “other” road would have taken you, but you have to believe that the “right here” is the best place to be. We won’t always be where we dreamed we would be, and we won’t always be with the people we hoped, and prayed we’d be with, but life has a magical way of taking us to where we need to be, and surrounded with those people who need, and love us in return. And, to quote one of my favorite Shakespearean characters, “there art thou happy.”


Yesenia with a ‘J’ sound