What do you want to be when you grow up?
Every child is asked that question at some point. I’m sure I was asked it to, even though I don’t remember any specific occasions off the top of my head. What I do know is that growing up, I was pretty certain of what I wanted to be: a teacher. Sure, there were different phases of that dream: at one point, I dreamed of being a music teacher just because I thought I could learn how to play the flute. :p Or there were a couple of years where I dreamed of being an elementary school teacher because of the awesome teachers that I had.
When I reached college though, I had no trouble declaring my major: I was going to be a high school English teacher. Throughout my whole college career, I never doubted my path. I loved my courses and soaked up everything I could so that I could be the best teacher possible. As soon as college ended, I was hired at a school within a month and joyously taught my heart out.
Five years later, I left the teaching world and have no desire to go back.
It was heartbreaking to me to leave teaching, even if I did have very good reasons for getting out. In a way it felt like a betrayal of who I was and all that I had dreamed of growing up; my childhood self dreamed of being a teacher, and yet I walked away from it within the first five years. It didn’t seem fair to her or to the adult me.
I was directionless when it came to finding a new job–or specifically, a new dream. It seemed as if everything in my life led to me being a teacher, but once that dream was over, I had no clue how to find a new one.
Recently I was reminded of a quote from Tangled (aka one of the best Disney love stories ever). Rapunzel is talking to Flynn and is concerned about her lifelong dream coming to an end.
Rapunzel: I’ve been looking out a window for eighteen years, dreaming about what I might feel like when those lanterns rise in the sky. What if it’s not everything I dreamed about?
Flynn: It will be.
Rapunzel: And what if it is? What do I do then?
Flynn: Well, that’s the good part, I guess. You get to go find a new dream.Tangled
Finding a new dream can be intimidating. After I left teaching, I stumbled around for nearly a year trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. I shifted through a lot of dreams, but one that I considered for a time was working in a bakery and doing something with decorating desserts. But I had no formal training and while my cupcakes looked decent, my cakes left a lot to be desired when it came to appearance. There was no way I’d actually be able to pursue that one.
That’s what I thought, anyway.
In my time of spinning my wheels looking for a new dream, I found myself working at a grocery store in the grocery department. I’m switching over to present tense now because that’s where I am right now. Working in grocery means I sort stock as it came in and then put it on shelves. It’s not a bad job–it’s an honest living and it’s one of those jobs where you don’t have to think about it when you’re at home. But when I was recruited for the job, I was told that I’d only really be needed until early spring (nowish). As the store looks forward to not needing me much in grocery, the store’s bakery is looking to fill a position.
You know what they’re looking for? Someone with a passion to learn decorating.
I’m not bragging here, but my reputation for being willing to do hard work and willingness to learn has made it over to the bakery. Yesterday I was offered the job of my dreams and now I have an opportunity to pursue this dream that I was so sure was impossible. I guess I should know for now that nothing is impossible with God; I have no doubt He’s the one who led me to that grocery position in that store at that time, and now He’s the one who’s leading me to that bakery position at the time where grocery doesn’t need me as much.
The loss of an old dream can be heartbreaking, frustrating, and just about any bad adjective you can think of. The chance to pursue a new dream can be terrifying in its own way too. After all, what happens if this dream comes to an end? What happens if it is or isn’t everything you dreamed about?
This is where I’ll follow the words of Flynn Rider: “You get to find a new dream.” And that is an adventure worth going on.
Here on the blog, I’ll be sure to share every once in a while how my new dream is going. I’m excited to start this new adventure and see where it leads!