“I Used to Want to Save the World – Now I Just Let People on the Freeway”

A friend of mine and I were talking the other day about the size of our goals. How some of them are so simple and small, yet seem infinitely harder to achieve than the big stuff. I referenced the quote above. We all start out with large and lofty goals, but there are smaller ones along the way, and that’s where the true life changes can be found. Do we resize our expectations? Sure. Sooner or later we realize that the odds of becoming the President of the United States are fairly slim, or that we’re just not small enough to be an Olympic gymnast (my heart briefly broke when I kept growing past 4’8″). The dreams that we start out with are often not the dreams that we end up with, but that’s okay, and that doesn’t mean that we’re “settling”.

For example, a person might start out wanting to save the world, but inevitably they realize that they cannot. No one person can. So instead they save their corner of it. They make it a better place, a more compassionate place. They let people on the freeway. And that is something, which is better than nothing at all.

I’ve got big goals, yes. Big, lofty, work-my-ass-off goals. And I embrace the challenge and dedication that goes along with that. But really it’s the little daily things that create change. Letting people on the freeway. Making a stranger smile. Or simple things like successfully baking blueberry muffins or, in the case of the other night, figuring out how to make food properly on the new charcoal grill. I have so-called “domestic” goals and relationship goals and life goals and professional goals, and no single one is too big or too small to celebrate when it is achieved. It’s okay to be happy about the little things. How miserable life would be if we weren’t. I think there’s a certain amount of cynicism in the quote used for this post, and that’s okay. Life makes cynics out of all of us in one way or another. But don’t let that cynicism make you think that if a goal isn’t monumental, it isn’t important. Go for the big stuff. Strive for it. But don’t forget to look at the successes you’ve achieved along the way.

 

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