When I was a little kid, I had a lot of serious aspirations. For a while, I wanted to be a mermaid when I grew up. Then a babysitter. Then a professional soccer player. Then the lead guitarist for a super popular girl band. Then a surgeon. Then a fashion magazine editor.

Turns out that it’s basically impossible to become a mythological creature and then make some kind of career out of that. It’s also pretty difficult to get paid for playing professional women’s soccer. If you’ve never had a guitar lesson, girl bands are out of the question. Performing surgery means spending a really, really, really long time in school. And the fashion industry is for people who value clothes above literally everything else.

I am a certified babysitter, however, so cheers to that.

I’ve been thinking a lot about these aspirations lately, these lofty goals that I didn’t quite accomplish. As a college student, I still have a few aspirations, a few goals that might be a bit far fetched. But I’ve also come to the realization that every dream you have as a kid doesn’t always come true. You can’t live in the ocean, attend hours of soccer practice, have a top 40 hit, attach limbs, and bring flannel back all in one lifetime.

Sometimes you have to make choices and prioritize the accomplishments that are most important to you. Sometimes you have to find a balance between your dreams and your reality.

I am in the process of trying to find this balance, deciding how I am going to enjoy my last four semesters of college while simultaneously working towards my future dreams. And I’ve come to the conclusion that the minute accomplishments, the tiny triumphs, are incredibly important in my everyday life. Little things like completing a 5K, stealing high quality apples from the dining hall, making a funny Facebook status- these little things remind me that I have a pretty fantastic life. There are a lot of things to be happy about. And if I really think about it, all of my childhood dreams involved happiness. I shouldn’t feel this undue pressure to become the person I thought I would become at the age of 18. I should enjoy a run with nuns or a club baseball game or a Panera dinner date with my best friend.

Besides, I’ve swum in the ocean. I’ve played a soccer game in a professional stadium. I’ve learned two chords on the guitar. I’ve worked at a Federally Qualified Health Center. I’ve been to a casting at Teen Vogue. And most importantly, I’ve been a babysitter for seven years. I’ve got nothing to worry about.

It turns out fashion was never really meant to be part of the Dugans' destiny!

It turns out fashion was never really meant to be part of the Dugans’ destiny!

~Erin Dugan

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