Do You Risk Going for Your Dreams or Should You Stay Home and be Safe?

Lava Beds National Monument

Lava Beds National Monument

A few weeks ago we went camping at Lava Beds National Monument with another family. The kids ran around like puppies and we grown-ups sat in the shade and talked. I told our friends about my daughter’s teacher.

Hesperus’s first grade teacher was one year from retirement when she found out the cancer she had battled years before had come back.

Lynnette died four months after she was diagnosed.

She was 59 years old.

When I called her husband to offer my condolences he told me Lynnette had so many plans for her retirement, that she had watched friends postpone their dreams and had promised herself she wouldn’t do that.

It’s so easy to postpone what we want. We give ourselves all sorts of reasons.

I know I do.

And the reasons I tell myself—that we don’t have the money, that the idea is too risky, that I’m afraid I’ll fail—are all usually valid and true.

But isn’t life about pushing through fear and doing what you dream to do anyway?

This isn’t a rhetorical question, it’s something I’m grappling with a lot lately: do you risk going for your dreams or do you stay home? By stay home I really mean stay put. Do you stay put in your job, in your house, in your life, enjoying the safety of a routine, a steady paycheck (if, unlike me, you actually have one), and a fixed dinner time, or do you push yourself out of your comfort zone but closer to your dreams?

“It’s no good to put things off,” I insisted to our friends. “If you’re hit by a truck tomorrow, you’ll never have a chance to do what you always dreamed of…”

But fear is also an evolutionary device to keep us safe, isn’t it? As parents it’s our job to protect and nurture our children. And we can easily use keeping our children safe as an excuse to never leave our comfort zone.

When we were washing the lunch dishes a little while later my friend whispered, “My husband’s the guy who always finds a reason not to. He’s a worrier. He worries about everything. He’s afraid if we take a trip to Europe next year the boys won’t be able to go to college. I’m so glad we were talking about that. Maybe now he’ll stop second guessing everything.”

Readers, what do you think? Do you go for your dreams or do you stay safe? As I ponder this question, I actually have a particular adventure in mind—a crazy trip I want to take with my two older daughters and the baby. Check back next week and I’ll tell you all the details.

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