I watch her tenacity, and I find myself envious at times. My eight year old knows exactly what she wants, and when she puts her mind to something, she doesn’t let anyone get in her way. Her determination and quest for accomplishment are amazing. A goal, no matter how big or small, is all the motivation she needs to put in the hard work, to go the extra mile. And, so far, she has accomplished all that she set out to do.
She is teaching me, reminding me, what it’s like to pursue a goal without fear of failure, and to dream without concern for what others might think.
Something happens when we grow up. We become so predictable, so practical, so…safe. We think through every possible scenario, every outcome that could result from a decision, and more often than not, we choose the path with the least likelihood of road blocks.
Some of that is simply out of necessity. When you have bills to pay and mouths to feed, you cannot live life on a whim. Decisions have to be made with a heavy amount of respect for the future. Sometimes, however, (many times?) we let practicality be the boss of us. We fear a path of imaginary destruction.
But if we choose to follow a different path, one that is less practical on paper, and the road is rockier, the terrain filled with more ups and downs, and the ultimate outcome less guaranteed, then does that mean we made the wrong decision?
More and more, I find myself inspired by people who are doing hard things, who are fighting to carve a different path in this world. Each of them are motivated by different things – whether it be pushing us as a people and a country away from the comforts of the American dream, living out a dream in an effort to teach their children, and the world, that a life lived simply is a marvelous place, or selling their house, packing up their children and possessions, and taking the adventure of a lifetime, while living outside the mold of predictability, and exploring the United States for a year.
All of these people inspire me to live more intentionally. They have each taught me through both their words, and their actions, that life doesn’t have to be predictable, and you can still be responsible while chasing the things you love.
Living a little outside the lines requires that we make a few sacrifices. We can’t be confined to that which is predictable, and we certainly can’t expect the path to be easy. Fulfilling? Yes. Exciting? Most definitely. Challenging? Without a doubt. Responsible? Depends on who you ask.
But easy? Rarely.
Dreams and goals shouldn’t be laid to rest with childhood. We can still be responsible without being predictable. And the beautiful truth is that if we’re willing to make those sacrifices – if we’re up for the challenge of living intentionally, and doing the hard work necessary to live our lives in pursuit of the things that will leave a longer lasting impact than the boundaries of a 401K, we might find that something beautiful occurs.
We may just carve a different path for ourselves, for our children and for the world around us.