Lately I have been reading through old journal entries in search of patterns, specifically looking for examples of how my life has changed, and coincidentally, how my perceptions and opinions have changed.
Life is a never ending journey in which everything changes; as much as one tries to fight it, one inevitably and subconsciously changes to adapt to the challenges of life. Most of my life is documented in books filled with written pages, time and time again I revisit my past in search of clarity or the occasional nostalgia.
When I was younger, I would dream about how my life would be in the future. I clearly remember at age 16 when I drew picture-perfect maps in my mind that included where I would live, whom I would marry, and what level of success I would later achieve very early on in my career. For example, I was sure to live in Seattle, work at Microsoft as a front-end visual designer, and be married to a girl named Allegra. Today, as it turns out, none of these very ambitious dreams ever came to be, and as crazy as it seems, looking back on it, I am happy that things turned out differently.
From a psychology standpoint, these changes of perception and adaptation of future plans is an example of normal cognitive development. However, from a parenting standpoint, with respect to the fact that I am not a parent, and as of yet, have no plans to ever bring a child into this world, parents should be realistic when they tell their children that they can do anything. Don’t get me wrong, my parents were good to me, and provided me with just about everything I needed to succeed, but at the same time, they did me a great disservice by telling me repeatedly that I could do anything I wanted with my life as long as I put my mind to it.
Ideally, parents should tell their children that while anything is indeed possible, much depends on unforeseen circumstances, our decisions, social privilege, and luck. Parents must also instruct their children that as they grow older, that time and time again their plans, decisions, and general outlook is subject to change, and that even with the best of plans, one should have at least one set of backup plans just in case. I have a theory that if parents were honest with their children that not every dream they dream will come true, and if they are lucky and have the means and perseverance, that half of their dreams and goals will come true, they will be lucky. There is no such thing as a failure who persists in seeking their goals, dreams, and aspirations in life, even if the majority of those things never come to be.