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by Jim Gordon

This article focuses more on those of us who are, let’s say a little further along in life. Most people have a dream, something they want to do or want to become. Most often, this is in regard to some type of a job or career.

I certainly had a dream, and it started when I was ten years old. I wanted to be a firefighter. A lot of young kids have that dream, but I never lost interest in pursuing that dream.

I can remember the excitement I felt just thinking about one day doing this job. My heart would pound when I saw a fire truck going down the street with its lights flashing and siren blaring.

Over the next many years, I would dream about being a firefighter. I would read about it, watch TV shows about it, think about it, prepare and study. I constantly visited different fire houses and talked with the guys actually doing the job. Once I was old enough to do something about my dream, for various reasons it just never seemed to work out, at least not when I wanted it to become a reality.

When I was eighteen, there was a height and weight requirement for the job, and I was always underweight (wish I still had that problem). I could not do anything to gain enough weight to qualify for the testing process.

I ended up taking a job that I had never thought about or wanted to do, but since I needed to work, I took it. Not long afterward I got married and in time had a couple children. At that point, I could not afford to make a job change even though the height and weight requirements for the job were dropped. Yet after all this, my dream continued and I could not get the desire and the excitement of the job out of my mind.

Fortunately, when changes were made to the hiring process, the age requirement was dropped also. Finally, even though I was into my forties, I finally made the decision to give it a try. I was extremely fortunate to have a wife who knew how bad I wanted this job and who was willing to do whatever it took to help me and to keep the family finances in decent shape.

So, after all the years of dreaming, preparing, studying, taking tests and physicals and waiting, I finally got the job I had dreamed about for so long. Once actually on the department, I absolutely loved it. I am one of the lucky ones who actually got to live their dream job.

Now the issue was that since I started later in life, when I turned sixty-five years old, I knew it was time to retire. I had fulfilled my dream and loved doing it, but now I was ready for the next chapter in my life.

I certainly have not regretted leaving my dream job at all. I was blessed by God to get to fulfill it and I was blessed to have a wife who supported and encouraged me throughout the process and the job. But now I was ready to enjoy life outside of work.

Of course, this left the question of ‘now what’? After all the years of dreaming, preparing, studying, testing, day-dreaming about a job, then doing the job, it was over. So now what do I do after the dream is over?

At first, it can be quite confusing about what to do and how to handle this change. After having a specific identify for many years, then all of a sudden it is gone, it can take some time to adjust back into normal life. Then once you do, you wonder what can you do after you have fulfilled your dream.

The good thing is that it does not take long to start enjoying a life of no schedules, a life of never missing a family event again, a life of spending quantity and quality time with your spouse. Once you get into the groove of daily life outside of work, there are still plenty of things to do to enjoy life and fulfill a sense of purpose.

There are all types of hobbies, volunteer work, there is plenty of time to spend with kids and grandkids, there are plenty of parttime jobs out there, and for us, there is plenty of time to travel and see some places we have always dreamed about seeing.

So maybe the main dream is over in regard to a career, but there are plenty of other dreams out there just waiting to be fulfilled. The thing we need to remember is do not give up. Do not just sit day after day thinking there is nothing more to do. Focus on some of the other things you always would have liked to do if you just had the time.

I truly believe no matter what our age, God has a purpose for us to fulfill. We can do things that will bring us joy and give us purpose, and can also bring joy and be a help and encouragement to others. It is never to late. After the dream is over you can focus on the next dream to look forward to fulfilling.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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