Most of us have heard the cliché, “follow your dreams.” I believe that there’s more to a dream than an idealistic outcome; it’s the chase that counts.
When I was a kid I dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player. I joined Little League as a fifth grader and was the only girl on the team. My presence was not appreciated by all teammates, especially when I was given the opportunity to pitch. In spite of hurtful comments by two boys on my team, I played baseball with the boys two more years and made friends with many. In the process, I learned to ignore efforts to exclude me and I to work harder to overcome biases. After each baseball game when everyone had gone home, my dad and I would go out on the field to practice. I also discovered that being different can be an advantage; the moms on both sides always cheered for me. By the end of the seventh grade, my dream to play baseball disappeared, but the lessons learned from pursuing that dream continue to support new challenges.
Volleyball ended up replacing my love for baseball. I loved playing front row. At five feet, five inches, I am about six inches shorter than average front-row players, so I decided to learn to jump to compensate for my size. My vertical leap was eventually measured at 28.5 inches, and my position as an outside hitter was established on my high school team and my club volleyball teams. Perseverance and willingness to practice enabled me to compensate for a quality I lacked. A couple East coast schools recruited me to play outside hitter for them, but by that time my dreams had changed again. I wanted to go to Cal Poly.
I worked hard throughout high school to earn good grades. I was an average student who had to put in more effort to get above average grades. All the hard work paid off when I got my acceptance letter to Cal Poly.
I’ve learned that understanding your passions so that you can identify your dreams is critical but the most important steps come next. Following your dreams requires a willingness to invest effort into the journey. My journeys through my dreams have taught me important lessons. It is clear that the efforts to attain each of my dreams have shaped the person I am today. Obstacles in attaining each dream has created new opportunities to learn about who I am and what I can do.
My dreams have changed as a result of becoming more aware of the world and more aware of myself. I am confident my dreams will continue to shift as I progress through different stages of my life. I know that past journeys have taught me what I must continue to do as I reach for new goals. I look forward to all my future journeys as I continue to chase my dreams.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.