Major shifts in life direction at subsequent ages are often occasioned by a sense of betrayal or compromise of the Dream. That is, very often in the crises that occur at age 30, 40, or later, a major issue is the reactivation of a guiding Dream that goes back to adolescence or the early 20’s, and the concern with its failure.
Barry Levinson and Colleagues
If I think back to my earliest memories, I wanted to be a lot of things. I will unabashedly admit I always wanted to be the lead singer of a rock band. In my early 20s I even auditioned for one after a boring day driving around as a sales rep, but for some reason my clean-cut persona was not the best fit for the band. During an earlier time I believed becoming an architect was my destiny. I even drew up plans for a house that had a hide-away swimming pool in the center of the living room! And then there was the time I thought being an attorney would be fun. That dream ended when the father of a friend who owned a law firm wisely counseled me to seek out another path. OK, maybe it never was a dream.
If I go back to my childhood and search my memories for the dream, perhaps there is one that still is alive and kicking today. I wanted to be an explorer like Lewis & Clark and travel the world in search of great adventures. My first actual taste of this dream was in college when I left Oregon for a year to study in Denmark. It was a transformational experience that led to a bit of depression when I returned home to the monotony of daily university life. But the dream came back a few years later when I had an opportunity to travel to Thailand and Nepal and once again feel like an explorer. In more recent times I have been fortunate to travel a lot, and if I allow myself during these times to connect with the dream, then I know it’s alive and well and hardly just a dream.
There is another very important aspect to the dream that I need to mention. For years I assumed it was all about journeying too far-off lands. But now as I approach the ripening age of 50, I know this is only part of the story. Yes, traveling the world is among life’s greatest teachers, but the most important journey we can take is internal. It’s the exploration to the truth of our existence, to our true nature.
So there are dreams, and then there is the dream. Perhaps they are related in that as we pursue and fulfill dreams associated with our individual talents, we inadvertently discover our true nature and fulfill the dream.