Monday, September 12, 2011

Letting Go of a Dream

For many years, I longed to have a career in federal law enforcement, but today, on my 36th birthday, I am letting go of that dream.

I remember the first time I realized I wanted to be in federal law enforcement. I was in grad school, pursuing my Master's degree in Criminal Justice, planning to go to law school once I graduated. Then, in April of 2000, I watched the video of INS agents removing Elian Gonzalez from his relatives' home. That was the first real seed that was planted. That was when I gained some direction. I wanted to be an INS agent.

After graduating with my Master's degree, I applied for many different jobs in different branches of federal law enforcement. Each one was a long process. I tested for at least four different positions. I began to get frustrated with the process. A state law enforcement job presented itself and I applied, thinking that it would be the last law enforcement job I would apply for. If I didn't get the job, I decided I would go to pharmacy school instead.

As luck would have it, the state hired me. I went through the law enforcement academy then, three weeks before graduation, I got a call for an interview for a federal law enforcement position in Dallas, TX. After much consideration, I decided that I wanted to give the job I had a fair shot and I passed on the interview, thinking that I had an opportunity to gain some experience before applying with the feds again later on.

At the time, I was 33 years old. To be eligible for a federal law enforcement position, you have to be hired before your 37th birthday. I figured I had plenty of time.

Time came and went and I was enjoying my job as a state law enforcement agent. I was tempted many times to apply with the feds, but I never did. I can't tell you how much time I spent looking at job descriptions and thinking about attending the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. I looked at the life my best friend had as a federal employee and was once again tempted. I still did not apply.

Last week I attended a training session at which an FBI agent spoke. She showed pictures of the countries she had visited as part of her job and I once again felt that familiar tug. "I still have time," I thought. "I still have a year to go after this." Later, I told my husband about her and he could sense what I was thinking. "Is that what you want to do?" he asked. I thought for a second and responded, "It was once, but it isn't now." I realized in that moment, that if I was going to leave the job that I have now (which, by the way, allows me incredible flexibility and freedom) I was going to do so for a different dream.

I felt a little sad as I realized I was letting a dream die. But it is the right thing to do. I need to focus on other dreams, things I am actually more passionate about. So today is the day that I let go of a dream.


  1. You didn't let go of a dream. You just allowed it to grow into a more complete and satisfying one. Sometimes we need to thank God for unanswered prayers. I ma glad that you found your REAL dream. :)

  2. I have found that life is less like a journey that you map out from beginning to end, and more like a road trip with no particular destination. You take the turn that seems right at the time and each turn determines the subsequent choices available to you.

    My life is nothing like I thought it would be in my 20s and 30s, but it is still very consistent with who I was then and who I am now. I'm sure yours will be the same.

  3. I agree with both Vickis :-)
    It's an evolution and a process. And knowing you, I can guess at what your dreams have evolved into (at least one or two of them!).
    And they are noble ones.

  4. Thank you, ladies. I admire each of you for the women that you are.

  5. I agree with the two Vicki's also. You do evolve over time and mature. Life circumstances sometimes get in the way too. It's a constant changing process. You will do fine and can be proud of yourself for who you already are. Thank you for following my blog - it means a lot.

  6. It is hard to let go of a dream. or what you thought your idea of a dream job was for you.....lovely post.