An Engineers Dream and Your Goals!

Before this woman (circa 1970), men were afraid tunnels would collapse if women entered!

The saying ‘there’s always light at the end of the tunnel’ came to mean quite a lot back in the early ’70s for women, men, and their dreams during the Straight Creek Tunnel, aka Eisenhower Tunnel, engineering feat. First, let me back up a bit to tell you how I came upon this fact and why it matters.

It started this last year or so after my son went off to college and I was at home with a ton of extra time and lots of friends asking me, “what are you going to do now?” “You have a whole new life ahead of you.” At first that really scared me, after all I was in the habit of being a 24/7 Mom always on the alert for any needs my son may have. Now it was time for me to be on alert (and figure out) my needs! How exciting and terrifying!

I let years and dreams go by equally fast. Granted I accomplished many goals and bucket list items…having a beautiful, intelligent, intuitive, and healthy son who will always follow his own dreams and put his heart and soul into what he wants from life. I’ve bungee jumped, tandem skydived, was a #1 martial artist, created and sold art, etc….the list goes on as it does for most of us. But I still had dreams I had stowed away for some unknown, rain soaked day.

Was I afraid to follow some of my dreams? Was I more worried about what others thought than figuring out how to accomplish my goal? Did I think others thought I was not good enough? Only my idea of what’s good matters, right? Did I think others would not like my writing? No one else’s opinion matters to me but mine. Did I think no one would read my content…who cares! Even as the numbers of my readers grow by the thousands, I still wonder if anyone will read what I write the next day. It doesn’t matter if they do or not though, all that matters is that I am writing. The rest will come.

We all have a million reasons in our heads that stop us from following our dreams. And what if we accept those reasons and live our life without accomplishing, or at least trying our hardest to complete, our dreams and goals. How sad. I believe the hopes, dreams, stirrings we feel are the reasons we are here. If we follow our dreams lives can change, our communtiy can be changed, the world can be changed.

Janet Bonnema, pictured above, is a great example of following dreams and changing history. Janet grew up in Colorado and earned an engineering degree before she decided to stretch the limits in a man’s world. She became a pilot, rock climber, and parachutist. In her early 40’s Janet applied to a job as a technical engineer for Colorado highways department and was hired. She got the job because the employer read her name as James on the resume, otherwise her resume would have been thrown in the trash.

When her fellow engineers found out, she was fired from her job on the Straight Creek Tunnel (now known as Eisenhower Tunnel.) She was fired because at the time (1970!!) men had fears that if a woman entered the tunnel it would collapse. Seriously!

She filed a lawsuit of $100,000 against the then CDOH who settle out of court for a little over $600 and was able to return to her engineering job on the tunnel. She could care less about the money, it was the job and her dream she wanted. She shattered the old thinking of men and helped pave the way for women and equal rights.

So after reading her story and talking with friends, I thought, ‘how can I not follow my dreams or reach for goals I have?’ We all can and ‘should’, although I hate the word should, chase our dreams and accomplish our goals. Not knowing your dreams and goals or tryin gto live someone else’s dream for you will lead to unhappiness and empty feelings and relationships.

Janet knew what she wanted and went after it! Look where it led her, and all women. I’m sure she had no idea her simple desire to be an engineer in Colorado would turn into world wode news and open many doors for women across the globe.

Figure out your goals and dreams, who knows what the ripple effect will have! Check out Your Goals? Ask Yourself These Questions post.


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