Week 2: How big should I dream?
"If your dreams do not scare you, then they are not big enough." - Author Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
I think that from the moment most of us are able to talk, a common question we are asked from adults is, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" And we say the biggest futures that our young minds can create: a doctor, a lawyer, a singer, a teacher, etc.
When we begin going through schooling and begin to develop into our own people, we start making more specific dreams that align with our morals and goals: a brain surgeon, a district attorney, a record producer, a school counselor, etc. Notice how the next set of future are more specific (and therefore ideals that are more tedious to work towards) than the originals? We start to dream outrageously even when we're barely writing legible cursive in the second grade (yeah, I learned cursive in my second grade class) about a future that we can't even imagine. But somewhere along the way, we're then taught to be "realistic." We're taught to tamper down our goals to something we can feasibly achieve the way we currently see ourselves, instead of setting goals that force us to grow to achieve the seemingly unattainable. Let's read that again.
We're taught to tamper down our goals to something we can feasibly achieve the way we currently see ourselves, instead of setting goals that force us to grow to achieve the seemingly unattainable.
Here is my reality.
When I was a mere high school flutist practicing my little heart out, I thought that my goal of getting accepted into a music school was absolutely unattainable, no matter how much work I put in or the private lessons that I took. I took the "safe" route by applying to 5 different schools. Ironically the one that I am currently attending was the school that I had the least confidence about be accepted to. It was one of the few that I applied to out of my home state and the idea of splitting off from my high school friends, where the majority were splitting between the two biggest schools in the state, was absolutely terrifying. But then I got here, and somehow I ended up being okay. Now here's the kicker. When I understood that it was going to be okay, it became time for my dream to become scarier and to grow again.
In this case, it not only grew, it changed. I entered as a Music Education student, mainly because of my fascination of conducting and being around people. I consistently did soul searching (please note that I said soul searching and not being frozen in crippling self doubt. Two very different things.) and listened when my heart AND head were telling me that being in a classroom was not where I felt that I could do my best. Through another course I discovered the option of composition. It was something that I was probably the most unfamiliar with. But it connected with a side of me that I don't think I connected with before; a more emotional one. And that in itself was scary. And applying to be admitted into the Composition program was even scarier. But somehow I made it in. So it was time to dream bigger and scarier.
I decided that in a more specific way I wanted to write film music. I identified with the way that while the music added an important element to the scene of a film, it also carried its own personality. A listener of a movie's original soundtrack would generally be able to decipher the scenes mood without seeing it. And that's where I am now. I'm figuring out what potential paths I could take to get me to that dream. It's big. And dear God is it scary to me. But looking back, having something so vastly intimidating is what drove me, especially because it came from me and that is something that nobody can take away with their attempts to intimidate me, push me down, discredit me, patronize me or any of the above.
So what will I do when this dream one day becomes attainable? I'll dream even scarier and even bigger.