Dixie Darr

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2006 at 7:33 am

Wisdom tells us that you teach what you need to learn. I learned that lesson again a couple of weeks ago when I had my students, who are all working adults completing their bachelor’s degrees, do a series of values clarification exercises.

They had to name their dream job and three reasons why this job appealed to them. Then, they named their real job goal and three reasons why they wanted that job. The next stop was to compare the two. Do they have any of the same qualities?

Why had they rejected their dream jobs?

Okay, one guy listed Oprah’s best friend as his dream job because he wanted to help spend her money. That’s not going to happen. But most of the dream jobs were attainable.

One woman dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. She owns horses and loves to watch the veterinarians working on them. Her face lit up when she was talking about it. Why couldn’t she be a veterinarian, we asked. She had heard that the nearby veterinary school didn’t accept people over 40. Where did she hear that? From her neighbor. Did she check it out? No. (It isn’t true, by the way.) She makes a very good living with her current job as a manager in the oil and gas industry and is being groomed for higher level positions when she completes her degree, so there was also a financial component to her decision.

Another student mentioned that people are now doing animal massage. She might be able to get some training in that and do it part-time in addition to her day job.

I looked around in amazement because the classroom had turned into one of Barbara Sher’s idea parties. Everyone wanted to offer information and encouragement to help the others reach their dreams.

Then they turned to me. What’s your dream job, Dixie? I had written down that I wanted to be Anne LaMott, my favorite author, because she writes wise, funny and very personal essays and she does it fulltime So, why, I wonder, am I focusing my energies right now on getting an adult education program off the ground? Because I have accepted the conventional wisdom that you can’t make any money writing.

Of course, I know that there are plenty of people who make fortunes by writing and many many more who make a living writing fulltime, so why am I so quick to back down from my dreams? What makes some people keep striving to achieve their dreams while others just give up? I’ll be exploring that question in the coming days.


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