It was a great childhood. My mother worked in healthcare and my father was, and still is, the owner/operator of an electrical contracting business. My childhood was ordinary, but that never stopped me from dreaming big.
When I was five years old, my twin brother and I were playing on our swing set in the back yard. I wanted to use the gliding basket, but he refused to stop. I reached my arm out to stop the swing, and as a result, broke my wrist. My mother brought me to the clinic where my arm was placed into a cast. That is when I had an epiphany, I was going to be a “bone doctor.” I realize now this was just my primary care provider, but hey, I was five.
From that point on, I had several other aspirations ranging from superhero, wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings, pastor, or the next star on Disney channel. However, as I matured and learned more about the “American Dream,” I concluded that a job in healthcare was perfect for me. I remember thinking my future job needs to meet two criteria. First, and foremost, I wanted to serve people like the doctor who fixed my arm. Second, I needed to make enough money to support my family and live the “American Dream.”
I pursued a career in optometry at South Dakota State University. Within the first year, I changed my mind. I then applied to the SDSU College of Pharmacy. If I got an acceptance letter, I would be 5 years away from graduation with a doctorate degree. This is exactly what happened, and I felt like I was on the fast track to the dream everyone had been talking about.
After school, I landed a job at a small community hospital. They took a chance on a young, inexperienced, eager pharmacist and for that, I will always be grateful. I knew I wanted to work in a hospital setting, alongside other healthcare professionals. This has allowed me to operate at a high level, assist providers, and, sometimes, save lives. This is a feeling unlike any other, but something was still missing; the sense of freedom and adventure.
Is it fear of judgement? Have we even discovered our true passion? Are we limiting ourselves to meet the norm set by the American Dream?
Over the past two years, I have taken a deep dive into personal development. I, like many others, thought I understood the American Dream. Afterall, it is a concept that was continuously tossed around as I was growing up. Most people believe, like I was taught, the American Dream is finishing high school, potentially going to high education, getting a “good job” or “stable job,” marrying your sweetheart, buying a single-family home with the picket fence, and then come the two-and-a-half kids. So naturally, I went to college, finished a doctorate program, started my career, and was well on my way to the picture-perfect American Dream. At this point, I realized I wanted something else. I wanted my own vision of the American Dream. I wanted the better, richer, fuller life that could only be achieved by taking a leap of faith towards an opportunity.
But first, we must Redefine the American Dream. I am on a mission to share stories of people who are living unconventionally. Maybe you haven’t identified your dream, or maybe you are stuck living someone else’s. Follow along for tips, encouragement, and a RAD podcast. Who knows? It might just change your life.