Dreams. Difference. Change. Reality.

I sometimes feel sad and ashamed. Sad and ashamed that I am unable to do more.

I sit and look at other people, so active in helping make the lives of others better. And I wonder why I am not.

When I was younger, I wanted to be someone. Someone who helped others. I wanted to be involved, and committed, and driven to make the world a better place. I wanted to make changes.

But I didn’t. I didn’t get the right education. I wasn’t encouraged to follow those dreams. I made poor choices. I didn’t realize my potential.

I did other things. Fun things. Happy things. Positive things. Exciting things.

But I never realized the dreams and the ambitions I had to be a part of changing the world.

So, now, here I am, 25 and 30 years on, and the opportunity to do and be and change has passed me by. I have a home and a family and a mortgage and a life here now.

Real life stuff.

Real life for me, for our family, means we can’t just pick up and go be part of a project. It means we can’t afford to donate to the causes we’d like to support. It means there isn’t the time to volunteer to the degree we might like to. It means we don’t have the means to make the difference we might have hoped to make when we were younger.

It means we have to commit to the here and now and, unlike some fortunate others, our resources don’t stretch much farther than that.

Am I happy with the life I have chosen? Of course. I am genuinely happy with it, which is something I never imagined. (A dream of a different sort, for another day.)

But it doesn’t mean I don’t regret the possibilities that I was unable to realize. That I don’t feel jealousy or sadness when I see others with the time, or the money, or the training, or the energy, to do these things. That I don’t wish I could do it, too.

Everyone says to just do something. I say it, too. It’s hard, though, to see the change you had imagined when you participate in that way. Organizations ask for minimums of X amount of time or Y amount of effort or, more pointedly, Z amount of money, and we can’t. What we can do for them will make no difference, doesn’t appear to have enough value, or does not seem to be on their radar.

It saddens me. In my heart, I want to help. So much. So often. But I want to see my help making a difference. And the little I can do these days really does not seem to make a difference.

Of course, I know it does. Eventually. Added to what others can do. Which is really the most important part, of course.


Still, it’s hard to reconcile. I dreamt of being a someone who did some things and made some difference in this world. And the reality is much less grand and inspiring.

7 thoughts on “Dreams. Difference. Change. Reality.

  1. I have no idea what sparked your post my dear, but I feel I need to reach through the Interwebs and give you a gentle swat upside the head.
    In a loving way.
    You my dear have touched and affected and moved and inspired people. Probably more than you will ever know. Because nobody says stuff like that about you (or to you) until after you have left this world.
    You have inspired me.
    You have made a difference in my life, and the lives of my family members.

    So, you can’t pick up and be part of a giant project. Right now. Unless there is something else going on that you aren’t writing about, you’re not dead yet.

  2. I second Jade. You have made a difference. When we were going through our rollercoaster ride of an adoption you always had a kind word to say on my ranty blog posts…you sent a beautiful care package for our wee man…and you were just out there blogging. Knowing that always made me feel better 🙂

    Also, it is true….even a little bit makes a difference…so even if you donate $5 sometimes or sponsor one child it budge allows you are making a HUGE difference.

    There are people who don’t do anything at all!

    You my friend! Are not one of them…and hey there are always the glorious retirement years ahead when you might be so busy doing stuff to help others you will wonder where the time goes.

  3. It’s never too late! And, I fully believe it’s doing small things with big commitment is the only thing that leads to real change anyway.

    Plus, aren’t you knitting me some hats over there? For my boys in Africa? That will be a pretty big thing for each one of them.

  4. I agree with everyone. Plus I do believe you have made a huge difference in the life of one lucky little girl who might not have had a very nice life if you and BDH hadn’t both decided you were going to donate your time, effort, and money FOR LIFE!!! I happen to think you have volunteered and made a huge difference in the life of someone very special. You may not feel that it was life changing or momentus, but I assure you it was. Keep up the great work and enjoy her every minute. She will be grown and gone before you know it and you will have lots of time and funds to make a different difference soon enough.

  5. PLUS, you know the children grow up, right? And then you will have more time on your hands than you know what to do with. There’s time. Really, there is. My mother says the hardest phase of our childhood for her was when we all moved out. Some parents I’ve known have had a terrible time re-focusing their lives in those years. Maybe start a list of things you hope to accomplish when that day comes, and when you are sad that your little one is off at school, you can pull it out and get busy. You never know…

  6. Alana what a great idea. I can’t imagine what it will be like anymore without the children around. Having a To-Do List will probably be invaluable.

  7. Ok my feed reader is totally broken, I only see new posts from you once there are about three of them. Catching up now!!

    I know what you mean, and I definitely wish I had done things differently in terms of education and opportunities missed when I was younger. In the PC (pre-child) days…. but like you said yourself, the little things we do still count, and maybe retirement will bring big things. 🙂

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