Chances are, you were on to something about yourself then.
Do you remember taking a careers class when you were a kid? You know, the class that got you thinking about your future employment?
I remember it. It was way back in 9th grade at Penndale Junior High.
I remember wanting to be a commercial artist back then. I was fascinated by typography and calligraphy, and, at the time, that was the only thing I could think of that would bring me happiness and capitalize on those interests.
Another thought I had was to be a teacher. Why? So I could write on the chalkboard. Again, the fascination with letters.
What’s interesting to me is that this is NOT what I became. Instead, I decided that I was even more fascinated by human behavior and pursued psychology. I wanted to help people.
My love of letters never went away. It just became more of a hobby.
Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up?
The thing about dreams when you’re young is that you only know what you know. Our life exposure is inherently relatively small. We’ve only seen so many careers in action.
It’s absolutely fascinating to think back on your life and identify the moment when your life’s path went one way instead of the other.
My uncle just told me a story about this. He had graduated from college and became a dissatisfied teacher in junior high. Wanting more, he enrolled in a specialized college program and found himself having to choose between two courses. One option was more psychology-based and the other option was more sociologically-based. How did he make his decision about which course to take? By when it was offered, of course!
Many of us chose our courses this way — for our own convenience. You didn’t see too many full classes late on Friday afternoons, that’s for sure.
He decided to take the course that was offered on Saturday strictly because it was offered on Saturday. That decision changed his life. Even though his decision-making process had nothing to do with anything “important,” like gut instinct or a particular interest in the content. It turned out to be a good thing too. By the end of the first class, his professor made such an impact on him that he had complete clarity about his career path, which ended up being in the field of university student leadership development.
He found his calling by accident. Or was it a synchronistic incident?
He knew something was off when he was teaching in junior high. He wasn’t content, but he didn’t know what he was looking for.
This is much like many of us in midlife. We know something isn’t quite right. We’re bored or looking for more meaning. We know we want more but don’t really know what “more” means.
Teenagers in career class and young adults early in their careers are different than we are in our 40s and 50s in one big way.
Many of us have forgotten how to dream.
We’re so busy with our families and/or our careers, that we just don’t seem to prioritize ourselves. And, to make matters even worse, we haven’t even entertained this kind of thinking since high school or college graduation ages ago.
There’s one more thing that gets in the way of midlife dreams. Plain and simple, it’s fear and doubt. We’re really good at those feelings. In fact, we’ve had a few decades to perfect them.
And we allow them to get in the way. It’s almost as if we welcome them in. We practically roll out the red carpet. Why? Because it’s way easier to use fear and doubt as excuses, because igniting our dreams takes courage and focus.
Teaching clients how to dream again is common in my life coaching practice. I don’t believe that midlife is a crisis. I see these years as a huge opportunity to finally live the life you want to live — the intentional life you were meant to live and share the gifts you were meant to share. I love helping people figure all of this out!
This guest article originally appeared on YourTango.com: How To STOP Being Content And Finally Follow Your Childhood Dreams.