The shiftiness of college years does not always create the best circumstances for keeping New Year’s Resolutions. Though I hardly ever pass up an opportunity to make a list, my typical resolutions seemed like they would only put more pressure on me in the midst of an already demanding schedule rather than encourage me to be a better person. So as far as resolutions are concerned, I’ve decided to go more abstract and simply try to accomplish everything ahead this year to the very best of my ability without going insane, with less emotional eating, and—most importantly—by remembering I will not succeed unless I lean on God first. That being said, it seemed a shame not to participate in the list-making craze that sweeps the nation around January 1st every year, so I sat down and did something I haven’t done in a long time: I wrote down my dreams.
Being a goal-oriented person who lives for the sake of accomplishing one thing so I can start working towards the next one, there’s always been something in the future which drives my work in the present. But goals are different from dreams; goals are work-oriented, focused in the now, and typically are attached to a certain amount of hard work that has to be accomplished for personal satisfaction. Dreams however are more special; they’re the things that we think about when asked questions like “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?” Dreams dominate our childhood because kids are less focused on being practical, and adults knowing this don’t ask them which college they’re working hard with hopes of attending, but rather what they want to do with their life. But often as we age and start worrying about gas prices and college applications, we become so caught up in the “real world” problems we forget to dream.
This New Year’s as I sat unsuccessfully trying to justify not making resolutions, I realized that maybe in the midst of all the studying, planning, and endless working that had me feeling increasingly depressed and burned out, perhaps I just needed a minute to be a little less practical. As I sat down and asked myself “If you could be guaranteed that your life would turn out any way you want, where would you want to be in ten years?” and “When you look back on your life during your final years on earth, what do you want to be able to see that you’ve done?” I realized that dreaming is incredibly important, because it makes you reevaluate what means the most to you.
After answering these questions, I found that what I wrote was significantly less immense and spectacular than some of the dreams I might have written about in childhood. Looking at my list, I wondered if maybe my simpler answers meant I had become a boring person. But as I reconsidered them, I realized that age had led me to appreciate the beauty of a peaceful life lived in the place that holds your heart, with the people you love more than anything, over the thrill of fame, travel, or experience. And though I’m sure my simple little three-item list would seem dull to some, it didn’t matter anymore if my life impressed the masses, only that it fulfilled God’s plan for me, and that it was full of beauty and love.
At this phase in my life where college stress and adult growing pains lead me to ask “Why the heck am I doing all of this?” more often than I’d like to admit, those peaceful, simple dreams were just what I needed to keep myself going. For dreams are like goals in that we hope one day to realize and accomplish them, and if realizing my dream of a peaceful, domestic life in the future means working hard now to reach my more immediate, necessary goals, then so be it. For with God’s help I know He’ll use those goals to pave the way, and one day as I sit back in my own little house with my family around me I’ll be able to smile and breathe a happy sigh, for though the work is all ahead of me now, it will be behind me one day, and then I know it will all be worth it.
I’d like to dedicate this post to an incredibly kind lady who works at my bank. While running errands I saw her and she not only remembered opening my account for me two years ago, but also took the time to ask me how college was working out for me. Upon telling her that it was going okay but that I was kind of burned out, she encouraged me, telling me not to quit because it’s all going to be over before I know it, and when it is I’ll be so happy I saw it through to the end. She was an uplifting breath of fresh air in a place I least expected it, and I want to thank her for taking time out of her day to try to make mine better!