Dinosaur Dreams

When I was a child I believed that I could be everything I wanted to be, in fact I told my kindergarten teacher I would become a dinosaur when I grew up.  In college, I exchanged that lie for another: “You can do anything, but not everything.”

That’s not true either.

Four years of studying entrepreneurship and economics taught me that we can expand the pie instead of fighting over the last piece.  Our Creator made us creative beings who construct buildings and businesses, families and food, and that’s a beautiful thing.

ECON 101 also taught me that our basic economic resources (land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship) are limited.  We live in a world of scarcity.  There are only so many hours in a day and acres on the earth.

I will never be an Olympic gymnast or piano aficionado, because I’m already too old for those things and I’m not gifted in those areas.  I can’t do everything.  I’m not a photographer or a coffee connoisseur or an amateur guitarist.  I can’t be anything I want.  As I get older, instead of happening upon my “true calling”  I’m mostly just getting good at crossing dreams off my list.

The pessimist in me says I’m giving up on my dreams but really, I’m just finally acknowledging that not only can I not do everything, I can’t even do anything.  Instead of chasing a vague notion of our “vocation”, Luke and I are spending time taking a hard look at the resources we’ve been given.  We still love to dream and scheme about the future but rather than hyping up false hopes, we’re thinking about what God has already provided us and how we can humbly position ourselves to receive the gifts He may have for us in the future.

There isn’t a limited quantity of happiness, wisdom, or fulfillment in the world that only the lucky few get to experience.  It just may not come in the forms we expected when we were 8 or 18. Recognizing that our time and abilities are necessarily limited allows us to more freely explore the possibilities for creation.  It’s okay when the dinosaur dreams go extinct.

Regime of Uncertainty

I want to be a person that people can depend on.  I want to be a person who has dreams and achieves them.”

Last week, 2 incredible college sophomores (Harvard and Bates University) visited my workplace.  One had come from a family of 14, all living together in 2 rooms after the Rwanda genocide 20 years ago.  The other made the bold decision at 15 not to marry as all of her peers were, and to pursue an education instead.

My opening quote came from the former, and his words have been echoing in my head ever since.  Being a dependable person and an achiever of dreams are inseparably linked.  Considering the speaker came from a more unstable situation than I will ever find myself in (14 person post-genocide household), I think the value of being dependable could not be overly emphasized.

Unfortunately, us “Millennials” have a reputation for being narcissistic, addicted to technology, and fatally afflicted with wanderlust.  All of which adds up to = not very dependable. Yet we are bewildered when our dreams don’t fall into place.

The only memorized quote I remember from my 12th grade AP Lit class was a Hemingway: “You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.” (The Sun Also Rises)

 I’ve repeatedly fought this temptation (and often lost).   There’s a reason we aren’t as dependable as we’d like to be.  Commitment is hard.  It means saying yes to one thing and no to a whole lot of other things. It means denying yourself the ability to get away from yourself whenever you want.

So the question is: Are your dreams worth it?