When I was a sophomore in college, I aspired to major in history. American history, especially, awakened my imagination beyond names and dates in a textbook, to people's day-to-day stories buried beneath them. Sometimes I even felt that I was living in the wrong time period, that I should have been a pioneer, a suffragette, or stationmaster(mistress) on the Underground Railroad.
I scheduled an appointment with the professor of my Western Civ class to map out coursework for the next two years. I'll never forget his monotone response to my enthusiasm...
"There's no point majoring in history unless you're prepared to go straight through and get your PhD."
To my twenty-year-old self, his timeline felt like an unattainable eternity, with all-or-nothing the only options. At the time, it didn't occur to me that Dr. ?, in all his academic pomp and circumstance, could possibly be....wrong.
That pivotal moment swerved me to another major (speech pathology) and different life's journey, with its own joys and rewards. Throughout the years, however, I've often pondered what happens to an unrealized passion –a dream deferred –as Langston Hughes asks in his poem. Does it dry up "like a raisin in the sun," or does it live on – stronger, more determined to survive in its own distinctive way?
What happened to my dream of becoming an historian, of studying and enjoying history as a lifelong passion?
Here's a clue from the book on my nightstand...
And the Audible book I'm listening to on my morning walks....
And the slew of historical places I've visited and PBS documentaries I've watched.
And the delight I felt while helping granddaughter Anna research Harriet Tubman and prepare a life-size poster of her for a 3rd grade project.
The list is endless. That is the point.
There's never just one way to honor your dream.
Whatever speaks to us, we must pursue, for it is a part of who we are.
I encourage you – or better yet – encourage yourself to realize your dreams.
Find your own path. And take a step!