If you aim for the stars, maybe at least you will hit the moon.
If 30 is the age where you lose your idealism, then 40 is the age where you find your place. Life is really good at forcing you into your lane and telling you to stay there which is a hard thing for a young person growing up in America. In this country, we tell our youth to live out their dreams and become their "best self". We measure things in hard terms of success and failure.
This usually comes along with completely ignoring upbringing, circumstances, income, prejudices, mistakes and personal preferences. You probably could have that executive position at the company if you wanted to. You have the aptitude and the work ethic. But you also have a family and/or other interests that don't fit very well with working 70 hours a week, so you make a choice. And it's the wrong choice for your external legacy. Everyone but you likes the potential "CEO you" better than very real "Assistant Middle Manager You". Everyone but you. And maybe your kids and your husband or wife.
But people ignore that part because they don't write books or do reality TV shows about Ordinary You. So yes, CEO You may never come to be, but "Great Mother of Four You" or "Selfless Friend to the Lonely You" is living and breathing and reading this right now.
Maybe it isn't even your personal preference, but instead it's just all you're left with. After the divorce, the illness, the bankruptcy, the unbelievably stupid decision, the accident, the guy who cheated you out of all your money, or possibly a combination of all those things that we're too embarrassed to talk about. Regardless, CEO, Published Author, Senior Pastor, Humanitarian, Entrepreneur, Astronaut, Whatever You seems to be out of reach right now and maybe forever.
I think 40 is the age where I've become OK with saying goodbye to the Other Me.
That doesn't mean I've completely dismissed some of the things I dreamed in my idealistic 20's, but it does mean that my day to day happiness isn't controlled by something that I'd hoped for as a blessing in my already very blessed life.
If you've shot for the stars and hit the moon, mathematically you're a complete failure. The moon is 238,900 miles away. The nearest star is 2.4925e+13 miles, so you just hit something that's one one hundred millionth of the distance that you intended to travel. By the numbers, you'd be just as close if you aimed at the roof of your own house.
If you find your aiming is in vain, believe with me for just a moment that maybe you're in a healthy place in life and really are aligned with God's plan. And maybe because of that you'll have dreams until your dying breath. So unfulfilled dreams may just be something that comes along with the human experience. I don't know. I haven't hit the stars yet, so I guess I'll see.
We call people that walk on the moon heroes, right? So there's gotta be hope.