I'm entering an entirely new decade in my life tomorrow. That is really quite the thought to ponder. I've lived three full decades of life and am about to embark up on a fourth. Phrased like that, it sounds downright epic.
A few posts ago, I wrote about how I want to dream again. At the time, I knew I wanted to dream but I really didn't know what that meant. As I've been thinking about turning 30 tomorrow, I've been contemplating what I'd like my third decade of life to be like. What changes do I want to make? What goals do I have? What do I want life to look like at the dawning of a new decade? What do I want to do next?
It's funny that the last year has actually been one of the most unstable of my life, sort of like the end days before the dawning of a new age. I thought for a time I was losing my marriage, I was very depressed, I drank a lot, I wound up spending a week in a wing of a hospital I never thought I'd be in. I left one job and started a new one and then realized that my marriage was going to work after all. I thought I'd lost everything and now I'm working on re-strenthening the things that are most important that I did not lose. All in preparation for a fresh start in a new decade.
So I've been thinking a lot about what I hope that will look like.
I think maybe I got a small peak the last few days into what learning to dream again could look like. I want to write. That has always been my dream. Everything I have pursued in my life has really been with the goal of wanting to write as a major part of my career. Initially, I thought I was going to be a theologian, so I got a degree from a Bible College. When that didn't work out, I thought I'd work in the nonprofit realm, where I could write grant proposals and annual reports, as well as perhaps assisting in designing social policies. Then I pursued teaching, thinking I could share my passion for writing with others. When I burned out on that idea, I thought I'd go back and get my graduate degree in Psychology so that I could get have a career in academia, pursuing my love of teaching and writing at the same time. But I'm starting to realize why none of these things would ever make me happy. I don't want to be restricted to writing about one specific field. I'm interested in everything, and I want to learn and write about everything. I want to be a writer.
Now I'm a salesman, and I love it. Because I've realized that a job does not have to be your dream, it can be a way to pay for you to pursue your real dream. It's okay if you simply have a job you enjoy so that you still have energy and desire to pursue your real dream. Really, this is the ultimate form of idealism, recognizing that your happiness does not have to be tied with what you get paid to do. This is purity because you can pursue your dreams and achieve your desires no matter what your circumstances, you simply have to be somewhat flexible in your perception of what that will look like. You will find a way to make your dreams reality, even if they look slightly different than you thought. Maybe this is the first step in achieving the full dream of your thoughts.
I take incredible inspiration in this realm from my wife. When she was a child, she desperately wanted to go to school to be a Marine Biologist and work with dolphins. Unfortunately, she was told by many adults in her life that this was an unrealistic dream because it was very difficult to make a career that pays well in Marine Biology. So she pursued other schooling. But she never gave up on that dream. When we moved to Baltimore, we were surviving on my salary and she started volunteering at the aquarium. She worked her way into volunteering with the dolphin program in under a year and now, three years later, her job is working with dolphins at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. She never gave up on her dream, and now she's realizing it even more fully. She's working on a plan to complete veterinary school and work with an even broader range of animals. Even though it has often looked different that she had thought, she never gave up. She has consistently pursued her dream throughout all sorts of hardship.
So I'm going to pursue my dream.
I can be a writer, in this space. Perhaps it's fate that landed me a job in a field I never considered, selling marketing software that deals heavily in social media, because I'm now seeing that the very tools on the internet that scared me can actually be used to make my dream of being a writer become a reality. In this space, I have guaranteed editorial control and publication. Even if my audience remains my wife and close friends whom I force into reading what I have to say, it does not matter. Because I'm doing what I've always wanted to do. And isn't that how everything great starts, with a simple desire and the support of a few close friends? I'm going to become a writer, even if that continues to mean having a full-time job and writing a few nights a week and on the weekend as a hobby. I'm still going to be a writer. But you better believe that I will take every opportunity to move toward the true dream of my thoughts, which is to make a living as a writer. So judge me as you will, but do not be alarmed if you begin to see advertisements within my blog. Label me a sell-out, but if I can make money by allowing companies to position themselves in front of the critical readers of my blog, who have the ability to decide for themselves whether or not they want to pay attention to the ad, then why wouldn't I take that opportunity? It could be one small way of taking a step toward one day making a living as a writer. Everything is possible. Why should I not try to contribute to the conversation?
So, there it is. I'm pursuing my dream. I don't know what the readership of this blog will begin to look like, it may stay around my close friends or the audience may grow wider. Whoever you are, reader of this blog, I invite you to follow my journey and become a part of my conversations. Here is what you can expect from me: absolute honesty at all times without fear of causing offense or risking judgement from my readers, and thoughts about a wide variety of topics. While the majority of my thoughts, at least in the immediate future, will likely be around faith and religion since that is a big part of my journey right now, do not be surprised if I share thoughts in a post that seem to come from out of left field. I'm going to talk about whatever is working through my mind, so that may be all over the place for a while. We're dealing with years of repression here.
Here's what I expect from you, my reader: engage with me in dialogue. I do not want to settle for surrounding myself with people who think the same as me. I want to be challenged so that the ideas and beliefs I settle on are that much stronger. I want to take all perspectives into consideration. I want to be called out when I'm being ridiculous. So, I invite you, come on this journey with me and let's start some honest dialogue.
I'm looking forward to it.