A couple years ago, a certain job opening was made known to me. For years – maybe ten? -, it had been my dream job. But, on that day, when I was stressed at learning of its becoming available, I had a great talk with my cousin to help me sort through what was going on inside my body and mind.
As it turns out, I didn’t want the job anymore. Who I was was beyond the job. I had outgrown the dream. And I don’t mean in age. I just mean that who I had become at this point in time was more than that dream, more than the person who had had that dream ever imagined she would be. I had outgrown that person and that dream.
And, though it was a tad stressful at first, it turned it to be a wonderful thing, much better than the dream the job had once been.
Today, walking the running/walking trail loop at the park, a girlfriend and I were nearing the area with pull-up bars. Growing up, and even as an adult, I had always dreamed of being one of those guys – as I only knew guys who could do it – who could walk up to a pull-up bar at a park and just do a pull-up, like it was no big deal, and then continue on their way, returning to their different reason for being at the park in the first place. They weren’t there for pull-ups. It was just fun to do a pull-up whenever a bar was around like that, right?
I longed for that for myself in life.
I doubted that I ever would reach such a goal, but I never gave up hope entirely. When I finally got myself sorted emotionally, and had joined my current gym, my doubt lessened, at last, but did not disappear.
Now, remember how we were about to reach the pull-up bars on our walk today? Several years ago, at those same bars, a different girlfriend wanted to attempt a pull-up. She absolutely could not do it, so I told her to bend her knees and let me assist. I might have assisted in lifting her more than her own arms did. It was comical, but still satisfying for both of us, because she had experienced her first pull-up of any kind.
Those same bars always remind me of that friend. (She had joined the gym with me, but she moved out of town after about a year. At that point, she and I both almost could manage a real pull-up. Depending on whom you asked, we both got it. But I don’t really count it. 😛 ) So, on a whim today, I asked the friend with me to do a video for me, so I could send it to that other friend.
We went to the bars. They were super hot. I had to adjust my palms to the heat of metal that had been baking in the sun all day. After a matter of seconds, though, I figured I could stand the heat enough, and we started the video. I grabbed onto the bar, dropped my feet from under me, and did a few pull-ups. Four was all I did, as I doubted another was in me at the time. I said as much, and we laughed about it, as we headed back into our walk.
It wasn’t until I was thinking about it later, after the walk had finished, that I realized that, well, I had just achieved a dream of mine. And not just any dream, but a long-time, doubt-filled dream of mine.
So, why hadn’t I noticed? Why was I more excited about remembering that I had even had a dream, than achieving the dream itself?
And I realized: because I had outgrown the dream.
At the gym, after every work-out, I do a maximum effort set of pull-ups. From the day I got my first pull-up (though I did two rounds of that one rep), I have done this. For a long time, that max effort was one rep. Then, it became two. Then, it was two or three. Then, it was mostly three. Then, it was four or three. Today, after the morning workout that had had 45 reps of banded pull-ups (in sets of nine) in it, it was five.
I once dreamed of being able to do a single pull-up at any time, anywhere. After a few months ago, though, that dream transformed into ten pull-ups at any time, anywhere. So, doing a single pull-up in the park was no big deal for me today. But it was a big deal for me for most of my life.
So, where do I go from here?
Forward, just like my kakizome for this year says.
You see, I think dreams, rather than merely being a destination, are really just a starting point. As we grow in who we are, so do our dreams grow. What seemed colossal at one point in life, suddenly seems minuscule later down the road. But the colossal dreams we have today would have been too much for us back then. We needed those earlier dreams in order to help us become who we are today, to help us create these new, even larger dreams. Without the relatively small dreams, we never would have made it to the big ones of today.
So, yeah… I think dreams aren’t a destination. They are a starting point.