Jan. 13, 2020
Through Seas and Boxes
Prompt: The Nightingale, and Be Still
Growing up, there is one question that every single child has been asked. “What do you want to be when you grow up? First, the answers are princesses, superheroes, spies and astronauts and after that comes the era of wanting to become famous, to be a reporter, or a teacher. Next is the phase of everyone longing to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer but inevitably, it comes to a point of harsh reality. It is simply within the nature of our growth that we long for the biggest things that we can ever hope to achieve, but as this dream moves on, the fog lifts, and then we see the stormy waters that separate us from our dreams. From this point on, we learn what our limits are, what things we truly can or cannot do, and from that we decide what we will spend the rest of our life doing. Sometimes that choice changes, depending on what events a person experiences, but for the most part, once one has picked their role, it is theirs until death parts them.
I am no different than any other child who wanted to succeed in life. My naivety turned a blind eye to all the hardships and realities of life and my imagination took me as far and wide as I could ever dream of. I dreamed of being a zookeeper, a vet, a figure skater, an actor, a reporter, a traveller, a princess, along with every other career I was ever exposed to. It was as if I had a box for every career I could ever want, and I went and opened every single one of them up, spilling the contents all over the floor. A place where the boxes were not constrained by any wall, but stretched out for infinite distances to which I could travel in the blink of an eye. The only time I ever threw out a box was when the box wasn’t pretty enough for me, and so I would take the box and put it in a void, a black hole where I would never consider bringing the box back and opening it. I could long for as many things as I wished in my blissful state of ignorance.
As time went on and I learned more about life, it was pretty clear that figure skating and travelling were two of the many careers that came out of the picture, no matter which way you turned it. I still grew to be ambitious, as the magnitude of my past dreams were strong enough to keep the boxes in my head. They might be packed up and tidied away but I will not get rid of them for “I’ve never been good at letting go.” Past dreams, no matter how crazy and unrealistic, will always affect my future for I will always long for things that are just out of reach.
However, as time passes and reality hits, it becomes harder and harder to keep my boxes as the reality of walls sets in, and slowly the room becomes too full to keep all of my dreams and ambitions, and no matter my strength, I don’t have the room to keep them. The loss I will always feel as I move on in life, and it will forever be a part of me, but I will not forget. It is a memory that helps give me the hope to move on and make enough room to keep the boxes that I still have.
As of right now, I am in between the phases of wanting to become a doctor and making reasonable goals for myself. Some say that I’m better off making reasonable goals for myself rather than long for dreams that exist past the tallest mountain. And yet, I still don’t want to. I finally have the map to find my way across the stormy seas that are visible to me. I have my feet in the water and I’m ready to go. The dreams of my past are clearer than my future but I can still see. The one thing I do know is that if I truly want to follow my dreams, I need to take my whimsical tendrils of longing, and turn them into tangible stepping stones, through goals and hard work. I know talking about my problems won’t solve them without the corresponding action. The only difference between my childhood and now is that I can see the storm waiting for me; the longing is still the same. However, it is the dream of my longing that will drive me to success, as long as I don’t let my dreams fog up the truth of my future.