I feel like I may have talked about this already, but I can’t find it in my archives, so maybe I haven’t.
Something I’ve noticed happen to me over the years is many things I used to long for aren’t desires anymore. In fact, most of my long-term desires are very simple. I’m not sure if it’s happened because I’ve become a cynic or if it’s a result of growing up and learning to be more realistic about both my own limits and life in general.
The best example of this is from when I was a child. One of the most common questions children are asked is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My answer was always, “I want to be an animal doctor.” When I learned how to say “veterinarian”, I would answer with that to sound more adult-ish.
Naturally, as a child with a very limited view of the world at the time, I assumed being a veterinarian was little more than checking ears and eyes, and occasionally giving shots to animals just as my doctor did to me, a human. I thought the only difference between playing “doctor” with my stuffed animals and being a doctor of real ones would be the animals are alive.
That childhood dream only lasted until 7th grade, when I finally learned being a veterinarian, and a doctor in general, is much more complicated than it looked in my childish eyes. You have to go to school for a very long time and it’s not cuteness and cuddling the pets most of the day. Of course, nobody told me that before I learned it from science class and the internet. Many people would deem someone cold-hearted, at least, for potentially crushing a child’s dreams. I can’t say if being told earlier what I learned later on would’ve been better, but I’m certain I would’ve recovered from the shock.
I’ve had several other dreams and desires change or fall away entirely due to learning the realism of them: owning a house, having a huge career, having children (yes, I did want children at one point; before I hit 12), certain jobs, and even having a garden, which I previously wrote was my biggest dream.
Some people may say it’s lazy or lacking motivation to change or not go after your dreams for reasons like not wanting to continue school, but I think it’s smart. Let’s face it. Everyone is not cut out for everything. It’s not so much I no longer want these things as it is I now know what I’m capable of handling and what I’m not. To use the veterinarian example again, I’m sick of school. Absolutely sick of it. Graduating high school felt like being released from a 14-year long prison sentence. I was so fed up with school, my family had to put constant pressure on me to attend college and while I did go, it didn’t work out since I had no clue what I wanted to study nor did I want to be there. It would make no sense to put myself through 8+ more years of schooling when I’m so fed up with school, having the debt I’ve obtained is preferable. Add to that I’m very squeamish, sensitive, and get disgusted at the sight of fictional blood and waste, and it wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever to pursue any kind of career in medicine, let alone one as a veterinarian. Let’s also not forget schooling is very expensive. I’d wring myself out like a towel if I went through even one year of medical school and realized I wasn’t cut out for it.
Does that mean I’m not willing to work, and work hard, for anything? Absolutely not. There are some things I still want, despite knowing what it’ll take to get them, and am very much willing to work toward. In fact, I have one of those things. At some point, I decided I was ready for and wanted a relationship, and after two years of bad dating and a little bit of luck, I found a very happy one with a wonderful person. Considering the stories I’ve heard, it seems I got off easy with that, but I sure don’t feel that way, especially since my naïveté led to me having the worst sexual experience of my life.
It only means I know myself better and I’ve discarded dreams that are not reality as I believed they were. I know the difference between the fantasies in my head and what I’ll need to do in reality, and have decided the reality isn’t worth it. If whatever path I go down leads to some of those discarded dreams returning, I’ll reconsider them and for that reason, I stay open to the possibilities. For now, however, they are not active desires, and the desires and dreams I do have remain much more simplistic and generic.