Dreams always come a size too big so that we can grow into them.
But how DO we grow into them?
How do we take a little dream, a flicker and turn it into reality?
And when do we know how to shift from one dream into a new one?
For a variety of reasons, all I wanted in high school was to get out – to get as far away from New Jersey as possible. When it came time for my college search, my mom drew a circle on the map and said I could go anywhere I wanted to within it’s circumfrence. I chose the furthest point I could and decided that is where I was going to go to school.
Off I went to Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my 13 boxes of neccessities and huge plans for my future. I distinctly remember driving from my uncle’s house in Chicago, where we had spent the night before move in day, and deciding to be a different person.
And it worked – for a while. I was that dream. College was everything I’d imagined and more. I loved the freedom of doing whatever I wanted to, whenever I wanted to (within reason). I loved meeting new people and trying new things and kissing new boys.
One day in October my dream life shattered. My little brother, 14 at the time, was suddenly in full kidney failure. And there I was – living this new life, with a new “identity”, hundreds of miles from home. It was the scariest thing I’d ever experienced and I was completely isolated from my family. Whenever I went home it was a strange new world of hospitalizations and seizures and my terrified little sister. My parents, who were my age at the time, looked like their hearts were broken open. Because they were.
The good news is – my brother recieved a kidney transplant from my mom and is now an amazing suburban dad with 4 boys. And I stayed at Marquette, but my dream changed. I had reconcile te new me and the old me. I had to find some sort of middle ground. My dream became more about finding the person I wanted to be and less about “being” someone I wasn’t.
My brother’s transplant was a petrifying experience, but I am grateful for the slap in the face. And the shift in my perspective. Today, my dreams are about growth and change and improvement. They are grounded in the reality that we have the power to make ourselves whomever we envision.
Running allows me to reflect on my progress, to hold myself accountable, and to set new dreams. And I am so grateful.