If you haven’t had the chance to catch the film, Jane, go see it. It’s a National Geographic Documentary about a woman in the late 1950’s set off to Africa to unlock the mysteries of the chimpanzee. This was at a time when there was very little understanding of chimps and no notion of similarity to us. Her journey was fascinating, but her life story was even more thought provoking.
There were moments when she talked about living in her dream, not just living her dream, and not imagining doing anything else. It makes me question how much I’m doing what I love and how much I am living my own dream. Deep thoughts?
The thing for me is that when I am absorbed in climbing, I’m happy; but at the same time it feels a little lacking, like something else is missing. When I work solely in tech, it’s the same experience. I have come to learn that I need the mental and physical challenge to feel complete. There are some tech aspects to climbing, but they aren’t so interesting. My ultimate question is, is there a way to reconcile both needs into one interest?
I’m reminded of this quote:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”
Just like Jane’s life, this quote is inspiring. I think questioning our direction in life is healthy and staying close to our dreams even healthier. Like in Jane, there has to be some risk to have a chance at creating or finding something bigger than you imagined. I don’t think it has to be going to Africa to study chimps, or leaving that tech job to climb full-time, or giving up climbing to have the family you always dreamed. Although, doing so certainly makes ones life more focused. Perhaps there is a 3rd option–something outside the box and like Jane, perhaps an unconventional approach to explore. After all, if Jane had remained conventional, her initial research would not have turned into a 50 year long study of chimps that would have helped us understand how similar chimps are to humans.
Not only did the movie take me back to my own time in Africa, it made me question my purpose in life. Even though I think I have taken steps to live in my dream, I have to question if I feel the same clarity and fulfillment as Jane.
See the movie and dare to dream.
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