When I was 15, I told myself I was going to be married, a full-time youth pastor (the hip relevant one with a soul patch or goatee and a tattoo), drive a semi-modern car, live in a townhouse and begin my dream.
I’m 22 (10 days to 23), I’m single, work at a group home doing overnights (I have crappy facial hair and no tattoos), I drive an 8-year-old truck and I live in Carver, MN (land of nothing). And, my 15-year-old dream has killed/killing me.
The American Dream teaches us to have our 2.6 kids, white picket fence, stepford wife and a crap ton of money. And, with this dream we have manifested a country of anxiety, depression and exhaustion.
Some days, I feel like a failure. And, for what? What does my 15 year old self know? If I had married the girl my 15 year old self wanted to marry, I would be miserable. If I had all the material possessions my 15 year old self wanted, I’d be exhausted working for them. I’m not sure if I want to be a youth pastor anymore, I have no problem going down the road, but, today, people mean more to me than a generation. We all need to be set free. We all need to be loved.
My 15-year-old self did not possess the wisdom to be speak truth to my current self, especially when life got in my way. What am I getting exhausted about? Maybe I need to abandon my dreams, and, be dreaming. Constantly envisioning the type of person I want to be, and, becoming that person. And, as my wisdom and life experience grows, then, so will my dream. I believe, this type of thinking, will set us free from the exhaustion of failure and set us free from the guilt and shame of this exhaustion. As well, the type of person we end up becoming will be far greater and significantly more attractive to ourselves and the people we live in community with.
Why punish ourselves for our former selves? This is just a pointless and empty thought.