Day 29: Isn’t 23 a little too young to be giving up on dreams?

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What WAS your biggest dream in life (you wanted to do as a kid but no longer can)?

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot

Approaching today’s prompt was a little strange for me. It doesn’t seem like a question that people should be asking, especially not a 23 year old. Isn’t that a little young to be contemplating about dreams lost? Shouldn’t I be full of dreams I’m actively pursuing right now? Anyway, I’m not the same person I was at 8. Some dreams have changed.

I’ve done a lot of soul searching in the last couple of years trying to figure out what career I wanted to pursue and one of the things I did was try look at what I dreamed of doing as a child. I was just as indecisive then as now. At one point, I wanted to have a different job for each day of the week. One of my dream jobs was to be a research scientist. I thought I would discover the cure for cancer or HIV/AIDS. That’s a dream I can no longer achieve because I don’t like biology or chemistry. I had a dream of meeting Pope John Paul II. Obviously, I can’t do that because he’s dead. I also had the dream of being an Olympic gold swimmer (Blame Leisel Jones). That one is also out because 23 is a little old to start Olympic training plus I’m not into swimming enough to commit my life to it.

Look at all those dreams claimed by time. A person could get depressed if they thought too much about the opportunities that have passed them by that will never come again. However, thinking about childhood dreams you never fulfilled shouldn’t depress you. You’re not the same person anymore and that’s why I don’t like today’s prompt. I may be reading too much into it, but it seems to be coming out of this fascination in American culture with the wunderkind. There seems to be a lot of belief that if you haven’t made it by 30, you’ll never make it. It’s such a ridiculous idea, especially when you think about how much easier it is to change direction in America than anywhere else.

I could still become a research scientist despite having a BA in English and French. It would be difficult, but not impossible to make that dream come true. True some dreams do have sell-by dates, but there is no need to be dwelling over them. This life is too short. Accept that the dreams are gone and get some new ones.

One thought on “Day 29: Isn’t 23 a little too young to be giving up on dreams?

  1. You are spot on about our culture’s obsession with regrets and missed opportunities. I suspect the prompt was written by someone younger, as it seems to be general opinion of today’s youth (18-21) that by the time one is 30, their life will be settled with a family, children, and so on. The common misconception is that you won’t have time to do anything “meaningful” or “fun” as defined by the younger generation.

    And boy are they wrong. To look on the past with regret is to continue living in a stunted state of emotional maturity. Instead, recognize the lessons from the past and use them as a positive guide for the future you want to construct. And one thing I think is of particular importance: look on the past with fondness. Like you say, smile and move on.

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