A few weeks ago, a friend told me of a business he wanted to start: an online archery shop.
I wanted in.
It was easy to imagine myself in charge and building an incredible company. More than anything else, I imagined all of the content I could create for the world, particularly for young girls interested in archery. I had such good ideas.
But the dream wasn’t mine. I was hitchhiking on his dream.
It wasn’t the first time I had done this. I’ve lost myself in teachers’ plans for me, the requirements of companies I worked for, the expectations of graduate school.
I remembered standing in my graduate advisor’s office, as he told me that I needed to give up my hobbies if I wanted to be a philosopher, that I needed to dedicate more time (subtext: all my time) to this career. It was then I decide I was done trying to please other people.
I left grad school, got a job, and started working. I tried to excel but there was no place for initiative. I tried to fit in but I felt entirely out of place in a company where everything was wrapped in red tape. I was told I wasn’t quite meeting expectations. It was then I was done with not being myself.
I wanted freedom – to travel when I wanted to, to dress in a way that expressed who I am, to live wherever I’d like, to take time off when I need to, to be myself – my full, vibrant self.
I considered what working on this archery shop would look like for me. It wouldn’t be mine, not properly, and there would be new expectations. So I asked myself,
Why hitchhike on someone else’s dream
when I can dream something even better for myself?