Once upon a time, I wanted to be an entertainment news reporter. I had this vision of living and working in Los Angeles, interviewing celebrities on the red carpet and getting my friends VIP tickets to the Oscars. And in this scenario, I owned a red convertible BMW. I imagined myself driving through Beverly Hills with the top down, loving my life. Depending on where you stand, this old dream of mine may sound really fantastic or really shallow. Regardless, it was my dream. And a dream is a dream. And to me--at least for a time--it meant something to me. But I stopped pursuing that path. I let it go. Because eventually, I realized it wasn't what I really wanted.
How did I know?
I stopped enjoying the journey. After years of climbing the ladder--navigating raises and promotions as a television journalist--I was no longer willing to make career choices that were simply "a means to an end."
I didn't love my career, as much as I loved the idea of it. It took a long time to realize why I kept seeing myself driving with the top down through sunny California. That image represented how I wanted to feel. I wanted to feel happy. I wanted to feel free. I wanted to have a career that made me feel alive, not like I had a two ton brick on my chest.
So today, whenever I find myself trying to create a very specific scenario, thinking it holds a key to my happiness-- I challenge myself to examine what I really want. We've all quoted The Rolling Stones.... we know we can't always get what we want. Sometimes we get what we need, instead.
But here's another way to look at it. Sometimes our heart's desire is delivered to our doorstep-- the real thing. Not some dollar store imitation. But we may not recognize it at first. But there it is, right in front of us. In a package we didn't expect.