As a youth, I aspired to be a lighthouse keeper. I know that’s a very strange dream for a teenaged boy growing up during the counterculture years of the 1960s. I thought it to be a good choice because of my preference for solitary living.
When I was younger, I considered the usual, stereotypical career options for males in the United States. Being a policeman didn’t appeal because I’m not a letter of the law kind of person. Firefighting was an option I liked because of the adventure and the qualities of helpfulness. However, I found out that firefighters need to be physically fit. I was anything but a young athlete, a more bookish lifestyle was a better fit.
At one time, I really wanted to be a train engineer. When I was growing up, long distance trains were a more common sight in the U.S. than today. I remember the trains driving parallel to the highway. I’d look out the car window and wave at the engineer in the cab of the locomotive. What a thrill to have him wave back. Engineers were my heros.
By junior high, I’d decided that my choices were between journalism and lighthouse keeping. I loved keeping up with current events. I knew that reporting the news, was important in a democratic republic such as the U.S. I remember learning how to operate a large format, glass plate camera and using the darkroom. Writing up interviews of school administrators and teachers gave me a hint of the value of journalism done right.
My final choice of broadcasting seems like a perfect aspiration. I could basically work alone. I was able to work past my painfully shy nature, too. The knowledge that thousands of people could hear me at once thrilled and humbled me. I found it rewarding to play their favorite music and keep them informed about the latest news events. What was really wonderful, is that, in a sense, I was a lighthouse keeper.
Lighthouses warn of hazards on the coastline. Broadcasters can warn of dangerous weather and other dangerous conditions. Lighthouses are tall, light emiting structures. Broadcast stations have tall towers that emit lightwaves not visible to the human eye. It’s amazing that my aspiration to be a lighthouse keeper manifested in a way I didn’t originally plan.
Each of us has an inner dream to which we aspire to fulfill. I think of the kids who aspire to help other folks. The future firefighters, nurses, doctors, aid workers and more.
I know of people who aspired to work with technology who tore apart clocks, radios, televisions, cars and engines. They still have those interests and derive great satisfaction tinkering and messing around with gadgets. If you can think of anything on earth, somebody, somewhere has aspired to invent it, work with it, maintain it and improve it.
I think of the state of our civilization today. I admire the men and women who broke away from the status quo. The people who imagined great public works in the cities and countryside. There are the inventors, architects, and workers of every type imaginable who aspired to build for the betterment of humanity.
I hold in great esteem the individuals and groups who have advocated and helped to achieve the civil rights and liberties so many of us enjoy. The courage to go against the roaring rivers of outmoded beliefs and behaviors to open minds to the necessity of freedom and liberty for all. There is a little bit of Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Junior, Susan B. Anthony, Harvey Milk, and Mahatma Gandhi in all of us.
To what dream do you most aspire? Are you living it?
The Blue Jay of Happiness enjoys thinking of all those people who work to make the world a better place for all living things.