Yesterday I listened to a Dirt Bag Diaries podcast and was inspired by the phrase in my title. The podcast was about the responsibilities of daily life and making the decision to do something fantastic. The point is, there's room for both. What I think it means is that who I want to be gives some loftiness and inspiration to the daily-ness of who I need to be.
It's easier to start with who I need to be. I need to be a partner, friend, daughter, sister, in-law, aunt, employee, dog mom, horse mom, responsible, reliable, loyal, cheerful, positive, organized. For the most part, those needs are very much in line with what I want to be also. I'd also like to be the person who has a much bigger disposable income, far more time off, a great rider. I must be close to who I want to be because I can't think of much more to want.
I doubt I'll ever be the person who has more disposable income because I'm an ordinary salaried worker, 8-4:30, 5 days a week. Someday I'll have more time off because I'll retire but that's too far away to start making solid plans for the daily-ness of that life. Some day I may be a great rider but for now I need to be the person who has inexhaustible patience with a horse who has big confidence issues -- a lot of horse with big reactions to small things. Being a great rider can wait.
Thinking about what I want to be shaped my life to be what it is now, which evidently is rather satisfactory since my wants are small. There was a time when I thought I wanted to be a horse trainer. When I was a kid I just wanted to be with horses and always made friends with the weird horse girls in my class because I needed their horses and they needed a friend like me, who was accepting, tolerant of weirdness. That strategy worked well all through school.
When I was a senior in high school, there was a Thoroughbred farm nearby and I thought I wanted to be an exercise rider so I called the farm and was invited to come by for an interview. The caveat was that I had to be under a certain height and weight. I would make the weight as long as I rode bareback with no clothes on, a la Lady Godiva, but I was already too tall and not quite done growing so an interview would've been a waste of time on both sides.
Plan B formed when I started riding lessons at a nearby stable. I cleaned stalls in exchange for riding lessons. I eventually got my own horse and then another. I started working full time for a Quarter Horse trainer. I rode a lot of horses, which was good for my education but paychecks went to support my horses. That was not going to work for me because while I wanted to spend all day every day with horses, I needed to earn a living on which to support myself. That was an unbreakable deal I had with myself: I must always be able to pay my own rent and buy my own groceries because I didn't want to be beholden to anyone else. I'd had friends who seemed to have sold their souls to the person who would pay their rent or board or groceries. Maybe I could've made it if I'd had the patience to persevere but I didn't.
Plan C was to go to college because I'd already tried the typical secretarial or bookkeeping job, which did pay my rent, board, and groceries but I was bored silly. If I'm going to spend most of my day at work, I need to be engaged in the work. The work had to be meaningful to me.
I did find meaningful work but lost horses along the way. At least for a while; however, who I need to be comes out whether I want to or not and I need to be a horse person. I don't need to be a horse trainer. I can get help from lots of great horse trainers who knew that's what they need to be and persevered through the tough times. I'm reasonably certain that the good trainers didn't sell their souls for rent, board, and groceries.
It's interesting to ponder that who I need to be and who I want to be have almost completely converged. It is said that to want little means that you are rich. I must be very rich indeed.