|Posted on March 29, 2016 at 11:20 PM|
Never Too Old to Live Our Dreams
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney
As a clinician, I’ve heard countless stories over the years from individuals who were going through some of the toughest times in their lives. By the time they get to me, most feel extremely overwhelmed and completely hopeless. Face it, people don’t typically seek therapy if their lives are perfect. As a clinical social worker, I usually see people at their worse. When I first became a social worker, I used to become overwhelmed by the stories and would find myself pulling over on the side of the road to cry. Yet, I stuck it out and quickly learned to listen to the stories but hear the courage, perseverance, and strength. Since that time, each day has been a new adventure. I have met the most incredible people, I have seen and heard things that have changed my life. I could not imagine sitting at a desk crunching numbers all day or working in an emergency room with blood and gore all around me. I’m by no means knocking those professions, they’re great – they’re just not for me. I hate math and the thought of blood makes my stomach turn. I would make a horrible accountant and an even worse nurse or doctor. I’ve never balanced a check book, and I can recall every injury my son ever had due to the extreme panic and terror I felt at the time. Maybe in another entry, I’ll tell you about the time he ran to me with a fork sticking out of his eye, I literally almost died. . .
When I was young, I had no plans on becoming a social worker. I was a secretary for years, and took business classes at a community college with plans of entering the business world – not the human service field. Yet, life intervened. I changed. My dreams changed. After a decade of being out of school, a new dream was formed -- I dreamed of becoming a social worker and helping others overcome life's obstacles. It was at that time I enrolled back in college and dedicated my life to social work and serving others. I admit it was not easy. I was terrified. However, I walked through my fear and went for it.
I can’t tell you how many people come to me in their late 20’s, 30’s and even 40’s miserable in their career but too afraid to change fields or to go back to school to follow their dreams of what they really want to do for a living. The most common excuse I receive for people staying stuck is their age. They believe they are too old to jump out there and try something new. The fear of being the oldest in the classroom can be scary, I agree. Yet, it’s from walking through that fear that character and passion are nurtured and developed. My response to those who are stuck in fear has never changed over the years. It is not a text book answer nor is it something I learned from a social work training, it’s simply common sense. We are all going to age, why shouldn’t we be happy while doing so? If we have to work, why not work at something that brings us enjoyment?
While I was still finishing my degrees, I got pregnant with my son. I went to my social work mentor crying, convinced I had to drop out and give up on my dream of becoming a social worker. She looked at me with this perplexed look and simply asked, “Why?” I tried to make her understand that I was pregnant, there was no way I could finish schooling. Again, she simply responded with, “Why?” After a few minutes of this one sided conversation that consisted of me crying and hysterical while trying to convince her that my dreams were no longer possible, it finally hit me. WHY?! I did not have a valid answer. There was nothing that could stop me from reaching my dreams if my dreams were really what I wanted. From that point on, I moved forward with hope. I finished my BSW and MSW and have no regrets. It was not easy; those were probably some of the hardest years in my life. Yet I survived, my son survived, and I’m a better person for it.
I say all that to say, follow your dreams. Maintain hope. Believe that you can achieve, and you will! We are never stuck, despite how old we are, unless we choose to be stuck. I choose to be free. I choose to live my life in the manner that I want to live it. I choose to follow my dreams. I invite you to take this journey with me. . . freedom, peace, and success await you!
Peace, Love & Hope,