Wild

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"Wild" by Cheryl Strayed.

“Wild” by Cheryl Strayed.

I have been putting off reading this book for far too long.  I am not sure what was intimidating about it to me – perhaps I was scared that it would ignite something in me that couldn’t be snuffed.

I have set a goal for myself for 2015, and it is to hike the length of a beautiful trail near where I live that is 890km end-to-end.  I will not be doing this all at once (which I am told takes 30 days), but in segments.  I would like to finish the gorgeous end of the hike in a few days’ stretch.

So, what better time to dive into “Wild” then while planning my own hiking goals for the year?

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…I would teach her to follow her dreams.

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I am a daydreamer.  My whole life I have fantasized about my future and all of the different possibilities for my life.  Some may relate this to me being a Pisces (dreamy and intuitive), but I just think of it as a part of who I am.  I have always been imaginative and find peace in escaping into an alternative world where anything is possible.

I started thinking recently about what my true dreams are in life and how to achieve them.  One of my dreams is to be a positive influence in the lives of young women.  That is why I started this blog.  I was talking to my dad, telling him how I was frustrated at trying to find a job in a field that I really like, and he started asking me what that was.  I told him how I have a passion and a responsibility to the female population, as a female myself, to help all girls become everything that they want; to rise up to their full potentials.  He encouraged me to just get started.  Then, with the help of my aunt-in-law, I decided to start with this blog.  I have enjoyed writing about topics that affect us all and researching to learn new things.  Most importantly, I feel like I am working toward my goal while I am reaching out to girls everywhere (hopefully!).

A revelation I just had this past week as I started a new job is this: sometimes you have dreams that you don’t even know exist yet.  I had been applying to social work jobs, knowing that I wanted a fulfilling career where I could help people, but I always thought my true passion was working with children and youth (seeing as how I have volunteered with Child Protective Service non-profits and been a Youth Group Leader).  Well, I am now a case manager at a shelter for adult homeless women and I love it.  I feel so fortunate to be able to help women during my shifts–we are given the freedom to make decisions on our own with the women we serve about what we think is best for them.  There is some red tape, but not as much as I am used to.  It is an incredible feeling to want to go to my job because I am excited about the things that await me.  Who knows?  That day at work I may help a women get a job or find housing.  Perhaps she will confide in me and I can just show her support; whatever it is, I feel this calling that I have never heard before.  Working with this adult female population makes me feel like I have come full circle in the public service field and it makes me feel more complete.

While you have the dreams that you are aware of and that you think about a lot, know that there may be paths for your life that exist somewhere unknown to you, and that they have the potential to make you very happy.  I am sure there are many more paths for me and levels of happiness that I don’t even know are out there (although right now, I feel pretty great!).

Here is an exercise to help you get started on reaching YOUR dreams.

What is something that you love to do?  When you have any free time, what are you doing?  What is the one thing that makes you the happiest and gives you pride?  What do you think you are good at?

Once you have identified this passion of yours, list the process or series of steps that it will take you to get to the point where you can pursue your passion full-time, or reach a goal involving your passion.

For example, if your passion is writing, perhaps your goal is to become a novelist.

The steps to reach this point may be:

1-Finish school.

2-Sign up for creative writing classes at my local community college.

3-Start writing.

4-Attend seminars by authors in my area.

5-Meet with publishers to learn about getting published.

These are all great steps, but it seems like the goal is so far away.  It is important to stay on an academic path to reaching a goal like becoming a novelist, but you want to have a little fun, too.  And if you’re anything like me, you may be impatient, so let’s think of ways that we can enjoy pursing our passion NOW!!  Go back and add in ways that you can work toward your goal tonight.

Our budding novelist may add:

-Write for 30 minutes every morning when I first wake up.

-Start coming up with characters and make detailed character descriptions.

-Outline plots and possible scenarios.

Did the things you just added to your list get you excited to start on reaching your dreams?  I hope so.  As long as you have the passion for something and the desire to achieve it, you will.  No matter how long it takes, that passion is a part of you and it will take hold of you one day and lift you higher up than you can imagine.  Great things await all of us in life and it’s only a matter of time before we experience them.