I think I finally figured out what the difference between adults and children is. Dreams. When we stop acting in ways that are consistent with following our dreams, we are then acting mature. When a kid skips school to skateboard with his or her friends, that is a childish act. In the child’s mind however, they aspire to be a professional skateboarder like Tony Hawk.
The sad thing is that we all tell the kid that even someone like Tony Hawk wouldn’t have made it without going to school, we all know that to be bullshit. Ask everyone’s favorite dropout, Mr. Bill Gates, I think he is worth a bazillion dollars now.
I constantly look back and remember how grand my dreams once were. I guess that remembering is what makes me feel like an adult. I don’t chase my dreams any more, I might throw a passing interest at something related to them, that’s it. How do we get to this point in our lives?
I used to think that I was going to be a judge, or a lawyer, a lobbyist, or most likely a politician. I was going to leverage my power and knowledge and change the way the world works. I was going to help lead this country in a direction of prosperity and equality. I was going to make this world the best place it has ever been in history.
I am now a middle manager in a retail chain. I can’t even change the way my company does things without jumping through 800 hoops, when I get to the last hoop, I am pretty sure I will be too tired to remember why I started jumping in the first place. Please to not take this as a complaint against my job. It challenges me, it provides for my fiancé and I, it offers me opportunities to lead and develop others. I am thankful for the move they paid for and the amount of responsibility they put into my hands on a daily basis. That being said, I am still a middle manager in a retail chain.
I know that I am lazy and I can only blame myself for that. I should have taken more opportunities that were put in front of me. I slacked, hard core slacked! Instead of seeking help or tutoring, I let myself fail statistics in college. In lieu of trying it again and conquering my lifelong fear of math, I simply changed my major. It was clear to my History professors then as it is to me now that I should have been a Political Science major or maybe Business, because I am no historian!
Brings me full circle doesn’t it? I said I should have majored in business, now I manage a business worth tens of millions monthly. I have accepted that I will never be well-connected nor financed enough to be a politician. I do feel that I am smart enough be some of the above jobs I have mentioned. If I get there though, I have a sneaking suspicion that I will be disappointed by who I am then. Part of what I dreamed about is not what I would do or how much I make, but rather how I would feel.
I am cynical enough to know that when I got done at the end of a hard day’s work as a judge or a lawyer, that justice was in somehow compromised in my hands. Some of the wicked would get away and some innocent lives would bear that hairshirt. I would not feel like I was saving the world but jut bartering another day of its existence. If I were a politician, beholden to those who got me there and those who want to keep me there, I would loose sight of my ambitions and forget who I am supposed to represent. I would grow tired of hearing my own words because I wouldn’t know who they belonged to.
Back again to me today, I suppose I am in pretty good shape. I can be myself most of the time at work and I provide a good living for my family. I just need to find something fulfilling to take care of the void I feel for forgetting to change the world every day.