Most people have their biggest dreams as children. When we’re small, faced with the question of what we want to be in life — most answers are ambitious, if unrealistic. Young children have big goals; to be an astronaut, a professional athlete, to be president, or a singer. Yet somewhere along the path between youth and adulthood, we’re faced with the harsh reality that many of us will never achieve those big dreams, for one reason or another. Life gets in the way, so to speak, and we often stop striving toward those things we once so desperately wanted.

When I was a kid, I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I knew that I wanted to be happy. And I wanted to do something I enjoyed. If you haven’t noticed, I’m not like most people. As a child, I had realistic dreams — to graduate, go to college, and get a good job, doing something that paid the bills, that would give me a decent quality of life. I never strayed far from that goal. As I got older and neared the end of high school, I was forced to consider why I wanted to go to college and what I wanted to accomplish. Still, I wanted something I could enjoy doing, make a decent living, and be happy. After changing my mind again and again, I decided to become a teacher.

The job itself is an adventure, and I have watched myself become better because of it. I have made friends and learned valuable lessons because of it. But yet — I’m not as happy as I could be, and that weighs heavy on my mind. You could say I am the opposite of the norm. As I have gotten older, and learned more, the bigger my dreams have gotten.

Now, at almost 30 — truly nothing seems impossible. I finally have the confidence, ability, experience, and grit to go for what I want and achieve it. I always tell my students to set achievable goals. Start small — those small goals add up to larger triumphs. I know that as fifth graders, only so much of what I say and what I teach them will stick with them in the long run. Ultimately, they will have to learn for themselves what they want from life.

But me, I think I finally know what I want. And I lack nothing to get it.


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