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Friday, October 4,2013

You don’t choose your dreams, they choose you

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  

I came across this little nugget in one of my early morning, coffee enhanced Facebook crawls. Among all of the First Day of School photos, recipes and offcolor, but often hilarious Someecards cartoons (my favorite is, “I’d rather make new friends than help you move”), I saw this on someone’s wall: “You don’t choose your dreams, they choose you!” I liked it. The idea that fate is somehow at the helm is a reminder that we need to listen to our hearts and be open as life presents us with opportunities. It’s not always easy. Especially for young people.


My son, who is entering his senior year in college, came home for a visit this summer. When I asked him about school he was dismissive and a little irritable.

After several days of Master-Mom super sleuthing, I finally pulled it out of him: He didn’t think he really liked where his major was taking him and he regretted not following his heart early on. Like so many others his age, he neglected his true self to pursue a major that was supposedly more practical. In his case, he chose Business over Music. But as his senior year was approaching, he was haunted by the fact that he was spending all of his time engaged in activities he found absolutely joyless, and the idea of spending his entire future in Accounting was keeping him up at night.

Our culture is so wealthoriented. At no point in his decision making did he consider what would make him happy, only what told him would reward him with the best salary after college. Naturally we discussed the importance of being financially independent and quality of life... these things cannot be ignored. I asked him if he still plays and writes his music and he does. But he found a college that has a major that is so appealing to him and he was afraid to bring it up because he had spent three years already on “the wrong path.” He said something that was amusing to my nearly 50 year old brain, but no less devastating and grave to his young one: “It’s too late.” Too late! Too late? I took a deep breath (to avoid screaming or laughing) and merely advised that it is not too late until you are on your deathbed. A grim thought, but true. I tried to help him see that he was lucky to realize this at such a young age.

I’m not sure how far it sunk in, because, even though he said he felt better after talking about it, he decided to stick it out and get the business degree. I encouraged him to do that, but then to look at graduate programs in Music. So we shall see. The bottom line is that if he ignores what is clearly calling him (and I can testify that it has been calling him his whole life), it will continue to haunt him, as these things do all of us because we don’t choose our dreams, they choose us!


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