Day 3 – dreams deferred, taking risks

Posted on October 4, 2009


Leaping into the unknown

Today  we look at all the things that we would do if we had more time, more courage, more spirit  . . . and fewer responsibilities.  And perhaps most importantly, fewer excuses.  My list makes me look like an old lady who’s about to retire: travel, travel, travel, learning languages, playing new instruments, spending more time with friends, Winnebago-ing across the country, as well as taking better care of my health.  My “wild things” list includes skydiving (seems cliche after Bush I), storytelling, fire-walking, aikido, prison ministry, teaching (kids who do not belong to me scare me), litigating.

Generating some of the wild choices made me wonder –  were some of the choices I’ve made in life “tough” choices that I made to accommodate my family (as I’ve told myself) or were they “safe” choices that I made because the alternative seemed too scary?  At times when I’ve made the “scary” (i.e., risky, unconventional) choices, the dread quickly turned to anticipation and action and sometimes, something amazing happened.  Taking taekwondo, whitewater rafting, public speaking, and going to law school all seemed pretty scary at first.  But once I gathered enough courage to make the decision, they became exciting, life-changing.  Sometimes that knot in my stomach might be telling me – try it!  just see what happens.  Sometimes I listen to it and make the leap, and sometimes I can’t bring myself to do it.  However, in the end, I have never regretted making the scary choice.  So now, when I look at some of the scary choices I’ve left on the table, I wonder – why are they still on the table?  Do they hold the potential for more life-change?

Perhaps the scariest possibility – so scary it hasn’t made it into the journal yet – is the possibility of switching careers.  I’ve had a successful career as a lawyer and as a banker.  I know I could continue to practice law or to work in a bank and make good money, keep up the appearance of success, and even continue to be challenged and interested.  But is it my life’s calling?  Is this my God-given talent?  A career as a banker doesn’t exactly generate the blazing passion and dreamy potential of a career as a starving writer or artist (and why do artists have to starve???).  What does being a lawyer or banker have to do with serving God or following one’s calling?  What is my service to be?

Perhaps I need to find some writers and artists who are not starving.  Anyone out there?

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