By JoAnna Santanen
When we were kids, we were often asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. Some said fireman, while others said doctor. Lawyer, actor, astronaut, teacher– the list goes on. So what happened to those big dreams?How to Follow Your Dreams in Life? We grew up, maybe went to college, maybe not, maybe met someone special. We got married or skipped that particular union, had kids or just got a job to pay the bills. Either way, real life set in and we got farther away from our childhood endeavors with each passing year.
After years of the grind of waking, working, sleeping, we neglect to even so much as give a passing fancy to the things we believed so confidently that we’d accomplish in our younger years. Some manage to keep their eye on the prize and become the fighter pilot they’d set out to be, but most just take what life brings and try to live contently with who they’d grown into. While there’s nothing particularly wrong with being happy and grateful for your mediocre life, quite the contrary, there’s still that yearning deep inside for something more.
People who choose to hang on to their big aspirations, and heaven forbid – pursue them – are sometimes frowned upon by those who do not have the commitment and determination to carry on when all signs point the other way. A musician who’s still waiting for his big break well into his forties would be seen a hopeless dreamer, or a woman who longs for the relationship that doesn’t suffocate or belittle her but instead hoists her up into the heavens is simply delusional.
Following your dreams doesn’t make you crazy. In fact, letting your life pass you by while never holding the reigns is far more insane. Who wants to arrive on their deathbed wishing they’d done more, or really anything at all to live their life according to the longing within to become what they’d always wished to be? Yet we so easily become bogged down by the day-to-day that we don’t stop to consider what we could be if only we’d tried.
Setting out to accomplish your aspirations takes courage. It takes commitment. To persevere when things don’t come to fruition as planned is true strength. Seldom does anyone succeed right away at any given task, and striving for your undertakings is no different. Instant gratification isn’t likely especially if your hopes are big. Persistence often pays off, but sometimes it doesn’t right away.
So how long should you continue to work towards your goals? Indefinitely. If you long to be a musician, you are already are one. Perfecting your craft might be your ticket to earning your income as such. Continuing to play and learn will hone your skills until you’re discovered by just the right person to land a record deal. If you wanted to be a parent, it would be perfectly acceptable to continue to try to procreate for as long as it takes, and if that doesn’t work, you move on to other options like adoption, using a surrogate or taking in a foster child. Remember that not reaching the height of success does not equate to failure.
Some people would say their dream is to be rich; but that is not their dream. Being rich is more of a wistful hope than a dream worth pursuing. We all hope to live a life free from financial worry that which comfortably supports ourselves and our family. This is WHAT we want, but your dreams are the HOW of your life. How will you become affluent enough to satisfy your hope of financial freedom? That is the true dream. Few would say that they don’t want to be wealthy but not everyone wants to bother with being a celebrity in the public eye or working grueling 48 hour shifts as doctor to get there.
The best way to determine how to follow your dreams is to level the playing field between all the possibilities. Ask yourself what you most enjoy doing while assuming that all jobs pay the same. What activities did you spend much of your time participating when you were younger? Why can’t you do that now?
Becoming an athlete might not make you a lot of money unless you can make to the professional level, but trying to accomplish that goal will certainly will bring health and wellness. If you want to be an artist, can’t you become one simply by painting something you’re proud of? Why must your living determine whether you can chase your objectives? Choosing to follow your dreams isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. The pursuit is the goal, not success. When you stop placing such restrictions on your success, you’ll find that following your dreams is a delightful way to live.
JoAnna Santanen has independently published two psychological thriller novels, Restless Mind & The View From The Fishbowl as well as maintains a website and blog devoted to her writing.