There is so much programming out there telling us to “follow your dreams” or “let your imagination run wild” or even “you can be anything your heart desires.” The problem with this programming is that it isn’t universal. Depending on where you grow up and where you come from, you might not have dreams, an imagination, or even know anything more than the small environment that you are part of. Dreams are not universal.
I was one of the kids who didn’t actually hear any of this programming as a child. My programming was more along the lines of “graduate high school before getting pregnant”, “anybody better off than us are assholes”, or “so-and-so should be taking care of us because they are better off.” There was no hope, no dream in the future that was being programmed into me. There was nothing bigger than living off of family who made a life for themselves. Doing more, being more was never a thought.
My imagination as a child was very limited. I didn’t know anything outside of the small town and poor life I was growing up in. I didn’t have good examples in my everyday life of following dreams or even dreaming big. Goals were not something that ever crossed my mind.
Today I am living a vastly different life than the one I grew up in. Why? Because I took the glimpses of life outside of the poor situation I was in from what little TV and movies I watched and books I read and knew there was more out there. I didn’t know how much more. I didn’t ever consider that I would be where I am today. I just knew I wanted more.
My first real dream I followed was going to college. It was never a consideration for my parents to even encourage college, but I knew I wanted to go. I figured going to college would give me an edge on living a better life. Once I was in college, I started seeing more and more of life outside of living a poor life, counting on everyone else. I knew before college that I wanted to live my own life and support myself, but my eyes were being opened and my mind was learning.
I never dreamed of getting my MBA or becoming a project manager, or being a traveling professional. I never dreamed of making the salary I do today or buying a home. I never dreamed of sharing my life with random people or becoming an overlander who has gear to travel to places most vehicles can’t make it. I never dreamed of working from home from a mission-driven company. I never dreamed of most of what exists in my life today.
I did dream of being a writer as a kid, but thought that would never happen because I wasn’t rich enough. I attributed everything to money. Yes, money does provide a lot, but so do goals and dreams.
Today my dreams are bigger than I would have ever expected growing up. I wouldn’t have even imagined my dreams were a thing. That’s the difference of the environment that we are in.
I frequently question why people don’t get off their ass and do something about their situation. I did, why don’t they? I’m learning that it isn’t that easy for some people. The programming that we receive during our formative years can and will determine everything about our life. Some people don’t have the mental acuity to look outside of the hear and now. I frequently lose my patience when people limit themselves, then I have to remind myself that I have limited myself in various ways throughout my life.
Not only does it take hearing or learning about what else is out there, it takes desire to do more. For those of use who come from places where dreaming isn’t or wasn’t a thing, it isn’t just about the dreaming. It is about what we have access to. Some people don’t even have the limited TV or movies that I had. Some people don’t even have books. These people may have a burning desire for something more, they just don’t know what that is because they are in a place where their imagination and ability to dream is limited.
Unfortunately in our world today, there is still so much limitation on the ability to dream and imagine a different life. We have a long way to go.
I am sharing my story because I hope that if you are reading it and you are someone who is in a position that doesn’t have access to anything that will stoke your imagination and dreams, it will give you a little bit of hope for something more.
Growing up I didn’t dream of a better life without the input of TV, movies, and books. I thought the only way to get a better life was to be born into it. Today, I work on my thoughts, dreams, and overall knowledge every single day. My inputs have changed my life tenfold. I am where I am today from one little dream, living a better life than what I grew up in. I didn’t know what that would look like, but I chased it.
What did you dream of when you were a kid? Did you have big, audacious dreams? What life did you dream of?