I went to college to prepare for a government job that would offer me long-term financial security, but it was not a dream job. At that time, I actually had no idea of what my dream job might be; I was focused on job security.
In college, I was amazed by students who were pursuing their dream jobs. One guy wanted to be a doctor and I could see it. He was very smart, and I figured that once he completed medical school and fulfilled the necessary requirements, he would be a doctor.
Another wanted to be a television news reporter. “News reporter?” I thought, skeptically. “Yeah, right.” It seemed to me that becoming a television news reporter was more dependent on forces beyond one’s control than on one’s ability or ambition. Quite frankly, I thought he was out of touch with reality, an unrealistic dreamer. I just could not see this happening.
And then one day, years later, I was in an airport and the TVs perched overhead were blaring CNN. I heard a familiar voice and then a familiar name—reporting the news. “Wow,” I thought. “He really did it. He became a TV news reporter.”
Charles had accomplished what I had considered to be an impossible dream. I remember feeling so proud of him (not to mention that I could say I went to college with someone who was on CNN). And, at that moment, something shifted inside me.
As a child, I think I confused dreams with fairy tales. I remember wanting to fly like Peter Pan and not being able to do it. I loved Rapunzel with her long hair, beautiful voice and handsome prince; I had none of these. The things I could do did not seem very special—probably because I could already do them. Dreams, it seemed to me, were bigger than anything my life presented, like flying or being rescued from a tower.
In that airport, hearing Charles’ voice, I realized my mistake. Dreams might be bigger than my current life, but they are achievable.