There’s a few things I wanted to do when I grew up, namely: I wanted to be a taxi-driving-pediatrician and I wanted to write. I have yet to figure out how to do the first one, and the second I forgot about somewhere along the way.
I think a lot of us forget our childhood dreams on our way to being adults with life figured out. We surrender dreams to the space between vision and practicality, losing sight of the fact that those old dreams are invitations to explore what we’ve known about ourselves for a long time.
I wanted to be a taxi-driving-pediatrician because I love helping people, and I’ve found careers along the way that allow me to serve. And the writer dream? Maybe little Brittany already knew how much my love for people and ideas could intersect in this world of language and sharing, even if blogging wasn’t even a concept yet.
We surrender dreams to the space between vision and practicality, losing sight of the fact that those old dreams are invitations to explore what we’ve known about ourselves for a long time.”
I started thinking about all of this as I entered a new season of reflection in spring 2017. When I took time to be still, I felt prompted by God to start having dreams again. The challenge was: I didn’t know I’d stopped dreaming, let alone know how to start dreaming again. I responded with the only thing I knew how to: “are there any dreams that I gave up on that I need to pick back up?”
And the soft, but clear, reply was “writing.”
I sat on that for a long while. As a child the idea of writing seemed so natural. Of course I would publish books, write poetry, be a writer – because being a writer was something you could just be! As a young adult I blogged about life in Africa and it made sense to me as a means to process and share about my ‘other life’. But to pick up writing now, in this in-between season of life, felt like releasing too much uncertainty… And so I dragged my heels , taking until my 28th birthday to give myself the gift of writing again.
And maybe some of us also give ourselves the gift of the moment when we pick up an old childhood dream, face the uncertainty, and run it across the gap to reality.”
The biggest internal struggle I faced, was that when you write, people ask what you write about. And I have no tidy answer to this question: I’m writing about seasons of life, at the ripe age of 28. But that’s also exactly why this is a season to write: I thought I’d be a grown up with my life together at 28, but maybe I’m writing about seasons because I realize there’s no magic moment when we start to feel like a grownup that has everything together.
There’s only the moment we accept that life doesn’t look quite like we thought it would at the exact age we thought it would. And maybe some of us also give ourselves the gift of the moment when we pick up an old childhood dream, face the uncertainty, and run it across the gap to reality. In its own way, that’s a kind of growing up, isn’t it?
Have you ever asked the question “what dreams have I given up that I need to pick back up?”
Run child, run.