I don't need to ask you whether you have a dream or not. I know you do. Everyone does, even if they forgot it.
We all had big and reckless dreams as kids, the ones adults usually frowned upon and told us to be more realistic. But we didn't listen and went after them with the energy and stubbornness of youth. Or maybe we did listen and decided to pursue something safer. Either way, at some point we used our imagination to fantasize, aspire, envision what our lives should be like.
What did you daydream about? If you were anything like me, you wished to do valiant things and save the world. That's why we like superhero movies and fantasy books so much - characters with special powers doing exceptionally important tasks. And here we are, stuck behind a pile of laundry and a stack of bills. Watching them makes us forget how trivial our own daily existence is. But does it have to be this way?
What happens to our dreams if they don't get realized? If they get buried under a heap of responsibilities, circumstances, limitations, disappointments?
Let's imagine for a minute that you live in a perfect world where nothing stands between you and your dreams. Maybe you found the lamp with the gene who can only grant one request, but it has to be your greatest heart's desire. What would you wish for? It can't be anything for others. Only for you. What would you want to happen?
What's most important for us changes over the years. Someone's biggest request might be to stop hurting physically, to have a loved one turn their life around, to finally find a reliable life partner. But what if you had everything in order to be content, all your obstacles removed, every need met, what would you wish for then?
Write it down right now.
If your childhood was carefree and your young years provided for, what did you dream about then?
Maybe you have a dream that has been on your mind for years, but there was never enough time for it, never the right time. Take a minute and jot it on a piece of paper. Then list all the reasons why you haven't done it yet. Now, cross them all out (scribble over them with fervor!) and write one single step you can take today. Something easy and achievable. It might be a tiny one, but still put it there.
There is one more thing I want you to do.
For a few minutes imagine what you life would look like if your dream came true. See yourself already doing what you only wish for, already having the life you aspire to have, already having what seems like a distant mirage that could never be reached. What would it look like? Write it down.
Let me share about my obstacles. We can't compare ours as everyone's life is different, but I hope to encourage you nevertheless. When I was little I had a lot of crazy ideas. I wanted to be a policewoman with a big dog or just have a big dog period (which was impossible in our tiny apartment). If not that, then I wanted to work with animals at the zoo or in a circus. I also wished to be a famous painter or an author or both. It felt wrong to leave this earth at some point and not leave something behind. I was determined to make my mark, preferably a big one.
That said, I was very sick as a child. In and out of the hospitals until God healed me at age fifteen. Life got busier when I got my own family and a job in a healthcare field, but I still longed for something more. I did realize one of my dreams by having a small zoo/circus in my house - three pets and two boys, but everything else seemed impossible. Then one day I was laid off for a week right in the middle of us moving to another state and trying to buy a house. After crying and sulking, I decided to utilize the sudden abundance of free time to write a book. It was an idea that I carried inside for years but was never able to complete. This was my chance. Once I sat down at the computer, I didn't get up for a week. That's how my book The Seven Lives of Grace was born. It is about a young woman who was able to break out of limiting circumstances with the help of magical inheritance.
I think all of us could relate to her. But even though we might never meet a fairy godmother, find a magic lamp or fabricate a wand, we can still break through with talents and skills that are already inside of us. What it takes is realizing who you are and fighting for it.
Little did I know that writing one story down was just the beginning of a two-year journey into
the land of publishing. But I don't regret starting it. Writing and art, two of my life-long endeavors, have been my outlets since childhood. And if you think you don't have enough creativity, read my other blog post.
So how does this relate to what you want to do? Working towards my dream took a long time and lots of tiny little steps. What seemed impossible turned out to be achievable only because of persistent movement in the right direction. All it might take is setting a few hours aside, because otherwise they will get eaten by the never-ending tasks.
Too often the need to express our individuality, to find ourselves, to invest into something that we were created for, gets pushed aside. Maybe it's the job you had to settle for because you needed money. Maybe it's the relationship that's not up to par with your ideals because it's better than being lonely. But you only have one life, and I want to encourage you to follow the path that you won't regret. Ask yourself - are you living your dream?
We often start each January by writing down resolutions and goals, but end up drifting toward our comfort zone a few weeks later. I want you to step out of what's familiar, set a new norm, reach for the stars again. It won't be easy, but it is possible with persistence.
Here are a few things to do:
Write your wish down - post it somewhere you can see.
Determine what you can do every day to move toward it - even if it's a five-minute action.
Take your first step today - do it right now.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined."
Henry David Thoreau.