I am not what I envisioned for myself. It was revelatory that at some point in my life I heard someone say college graduation or a few years after that is the big turning point. The theory is that at that point in time you realize what and who you truly are. You recognize what you are actually capable of doing and what, no matter how much heart and desire, likely cannot be overcome. You come to the somewhat sad realization that you aren’t going to accomplish the things you supposed you would- things like being a graceful dancer, or an Olympian, a famous actor, or a world re-known musician. I think I came across that bit of wisdom when I was closer to 50 and I found it quite shattering at the time as I guess I still had some hope at that point. I thought I might still be a great singer, in a band, make the Olympics running, or have a novel that sold millions of copies. It was rather an epiphany that I was in fact going downhill. It was a disturbing revelation that I needed to re-evaluate what might be my actual possibilities for attainment.
More recently I have heard that if your vision for the future isn’t greater than what you’ve done in the past you are essentially dead – you are on auto-pilot, merely existing. This seems somewhat like conflicting information since I have already learned what is not going to happen for me, yet, apparently, I am supposed to still shoot for the stars. I am supposed to have some compelling dream to catapult me into future passionate pursuits. Then it hit me, oh the “new dream” actually has to reflect reality not my youthful idealism. Oh gollee, more bad news rears its ugly head: reality, such a stark contrast to idealism. At least I have already discerned my limitations. This seems to be yet another piece of bad news. That is primarily because “ME” is on the downhill side of my physical well-being. Yes, sadly my physical being is not as well or lithe as it used to be. So, the future amazing accomplishments must entail something other than using my physical lack of attributes. As an aside, I was sidelined while writing this having debilitating spasms diagnosed (incorrectly) by me as a groin pull or MS. This was resolved after hip replacement surgery some four months of writhing agony later. Me, a marathon runner falling apart physically at a relatively young age (compared to someone 100), quite unexpected. So, the futuristic question is simple: “How do I then proceed?”
I always like research so I decided that I shall look up things old people have accomplished as my starting point for a new dream. Clearly, I will avoid anything that involves a physical activity such as the oldest person to run a marathon (87), climb Mount Everest (87) or jump out of plane (103, but hey, it was a tandem dive). There are many physical activities older adults (like really old) have accomplished. We shall make the assumption some magnanimous physical feat is not workable for you or me either because of lack of desire or because the physical body has become “impaired” and less mobile. One certainly does not want to accelerate their demise any further or more quickly. Therefore, the new bit of research on non-physical accomplishments has been encouraging – very late in life people have started to paint (artwork, not houses), earned a Nobel Prize, received a college degree, wrote a novel, learned a new instrument, engaged in community betterment projects, composed music, and . . . on and on the list goes. Hope again rises from the ashes.
The forward dream requires careful analysis of what your desires and values are, what you can actually do, or how you can enlist others to create your dream. The important thing is to create a dream to invigorate your soul. So, how is that done? You can start by reading about creating a dream in the earlier blog – then stay tuned for more posts!