This time of year is always filled with mixed emotions for me. As a teacher, May is the month of graduation speeches. The future of our society stands beaming on top of a stage, proclaiming their open futures and dreams. And why shouldn’t they? They have a new world open to them with endless possibilities. It wasn’t that long ago I listened to my graduating class’ speeches. Now, about to leave my 20’s, I have seen dreams soar, demolish, and left forgotten. I have seen life throw curve balls as well as open doors never imagined during graduation.
With all the discussion of dreams, I began to realize
something. No one discusses two things. One, how dedicated you must be to
achieve dreams. The world will not hand it to you. You have to work. You have
to maybe even bleed and cry a little. And you have to stay persistent because the
world will show it’s easier to give up than to achieve. It will challenge how
much you truly want that dream.
The second thing no one discusses is what you do in the
meantime. Reading blogs and author interviews this week, I have been bombarded
with a recurring thought. Don’t strive for greatness, or even success. The
chances are so slim in the publishing world of being a bestselling author, or
having a book adapted to a movie, that it is best not to set this as the one
thing that’ll bring happiness. I can see the logic in the thought. If this is
the only thing that will bring happiness, then life is going to be long, difficult,
and frustrating. And, at the end, maybe even unrewarding. Finding myself at the
end of life with a lot of regrets and wasted effort is one of my deepest fears.
This week I also encountered an equally scary idea. What
success exists outside of the pursuit of a dream? In other words, I have been
pursuing the grand success of a writer for over ten years. But what else is
there to my life? What else have I accomplished? I have found that the idea of getting
to the end of my life with only my writing is not something I want to do. But, for
me, I get wrapped up in my passion. I forget that life is about more than
writing—even though my brain automatically disagrees with that statement. But, if
I focus solely on my ambitions, then I can forget to cultivate friendships. I can
push away opportunities to grow as a person. I can miss out on life
experiences. I can forget that some things are more important.
So, my wish for all of the new graduates is to pursue their
dreams; to never give up and settle for ordinary. But, most of all, do not to
forget to live. Life has a lot to cherish. Goals should just be one piece in