Sunday, January 6, 2013

Reach for the Stars

To start off the New Year, one of my dreams was smashed to smithereens. I won’t go into the gory details, but let’s just say something I’ve wanted for a very long time is clearly not going to happen (at least not in the way I planned).
            This got me thinking about the message I’ve been giving my kids all these years (and quite likely, if you’re a parent, you’ve been doing the same thing). Telling them to reach for the stars, encouraging them to be anything they want to be, cheering them on when they say they want to be a rock musician, a famous architect, or fly to the moon. As parents, we seem to think it’s our duty to be the yes-sayers rather than the naysayers, to tell our kids “Yes you can!” (as long as it’s something good).
            So at what point do we start telling the truth, do we start saying, “Your wants and desires may never be fulfilled, you may work all your life only to fail at the one thing that you’ve ever really wanted?”
            Well, that would be pretty harsh, wouldn’t it? And I don’t think it’s really the way to go. But sometimes I think we’d do our kids a favor if we’d point out that not everyone gets to be number one. In many paths of life there is only ONE number one, and if you miss that mark, you’ll have to re-focus on something less, or different.
            I’ve "failed" so many times in my life that I’m not really that crushed any more. I may drag around for a day, week, or perhaps even a month before I wake up one morning and say to myself, “So what! So your plans didn’t turn out as you hoped. Get over it and move on.”
            In fact, maybe if I’d had less disappointment in my life yet another knock-down would be harder to take. Maybe I wouldn’t be able to, as my best friend describes it, “re-frame” the picture, so that I could look at it in a different way.
            I’d like to think that in 2013 we’ll all get exactly what we want, but I know the chances of that happening are pretty slight. Maybe, as the lyrics go, we’ll get what we need. Or maybe we won’t get what we want or what we need, we’ll get something even better.
Sometimes I recall how disappointed I was when I didn’t get the house of my dreams (but the house I did get turned out to be right next door to a wonderful woman who became one of my very best friends). I didn’t get the job I wanted at a swanky women's magazine (instead, I ended up at a wonderful photography magazine). My second baby wasn’t a girl (as planned). He was a boy who turned out to be an amazing blessing (as were my first and third boys). And so on….
Sure, I’ll keep reaching for that star (and telling my kids to). But when I miss the mark, I must remind myself that there are an infinite number of twinkling lights in the universe.

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