I’ve been musing – what’s the difference between our daydreams and our aspirations? Is there a real difference or is it just a matter of which things we choose to pursue? Does it all originate as a daydream and later become an aspiration – how does this work?
Sometimes I think I know what my aspirations are. Sometimes I can’t say I have a clue. I know what my daydreams are, but I daydream about everything and anything. I mean, I daydream about living in a tiny fishing village in Norway, but would I consider that an aspiration? Perhaps, perhaps not.
Is it just a matter of what you actively want as opposed to things you just consider or ideas you toy with?
I cannot put my finger on what it is I want. When I was a kid people still said things to us like “you can be or do whatever you want.” People don’t really tell kids things like that anymore. Maybe that’s why we’ve got a generation and a half that lacks ambition. (I’m hoping that’s an exaggeration.) But when I heard people say that I kind of took it seriously. I still do.
I can be or do anything. I used to think that I had to pick right away or the window would pass. For some things that’s true but I’ve also come to understand that there’s very little for which time constraints really apply, if you’re still ready to work for something. I could be a brain surgeon. I could be an astrophysicist. I could be a storm chaser or a dancer or a novelist. I could be a professional photographer or a world traveller or a hermit. I could be a deep sea fisherman or a graphic designer. I could be a chiropractor or a mom. I could be a classical musician or a lawyer.
Isn’t that strange to think about? People don’t like to think that they can change their trajectory at any point in their lives. Why? Because it makes whatever they’re doing seem less serious. If you could pack up your doctor’s practice and be a dancer because you suddenly realized that’s what your true calling was, suddenly being a doctor and all that goes with that would seem less of a big deal. If you could stop being a fisherman and put yourself through school and become an astrophysicist (I just like typing that word…), being a fisherman would seem like nothing, even if it was your whole life before.
It doesn’t even matter how old you are or how much education you have or what your life experiences have set you up for. If you want something different, it’s just about there for the taking. Some people don’t have that option of course. Some people don’t have the option to eat on a daily basis. I’m not making light of that, I’m just saying I know this isn’t universal.
But for those of us who have this at our fingertips, I’ve got to say, we have no excuse. We have no excuse to live a life we are not satisfied with. We have no excuse to have an occupation or a job that we do not love. We have no excuse to be uneducated in something we’re interested in. We have no excuse to stop moving forward, even to do an about face when we realize we’re not where we wanted to be.
So I still don’t know the difference between a daydream and an aspiration. And I don’t know what I want from life – but that’s because I want it all. I can’t narrow it down, not yet. It seems a shame to cross things off a list and say I can’t. Because I could.
Maybe I will.
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