I am a bit of a dreamer. I mean that figuratively and literally. I have vivid dreams every night, which are usually just a nonsensical jumble of what happened to me during the day; and I can get fixated on a daydream as well, which is usually about real things I would like to happen in my life. I like to think that both of these things help me grow as a person; but I might be reaching with that one. Who knows.
Regardless, I still think it’s important to have dreams, or goals or whatever you want to call them. It’s nice to feel like you’re heading somewhere, even of it seems far off. This, I know, is easier said than done, but we did it when we were kids, so why stop now? I mean, when I was a kid I dreamt of one day becoming a business woman, a writer, a psychologist, a singer, and even an actress. Have I achieved any of these dreams you ask? Well, erm…no? But I am currently writing this, so one out of five ain’t bad.
And although I didn’t fulfill those wishes, they still helped me strive for something, and gave me a bit of purpose. They drove me to work towards becoming what would have been for me at the time, the best version of myself.
Dreaming as an adult however, I have found to be a little more practical, and lacking in that reckless abandon that comes with youth; but that doesn’t make it any less important. My dreams right now are things like, living in a place that feels like home, working in a job that I really love, travelling to different places in the world. I say these things are practical because they are not easy, but there are a number of things I can do right now to make them happen.
However, it’s all well and good having dreams and a plan to somehow make those things come true, but if you keep getting knocked off that path/ horse (depending on your preferred mode of transport), getting back up again can start to get a bit tedious/ difficult/ hell-like. I’ve written before about rejection and how after a while, you can develop a thick skin for it, where eventually the next rejection will hurt less than the last.
I still think those things are true, but sometimes you can be working towards a goal for so long without results, that your physical and emotional muscles ache and you can’t imagine yourself going on anymore. Or perhaps your skin has become so thick that you actually no longer feel anything, including the good things that happen in other parts of your life? Or maybe you’ve been knocked back so many times that you lack the ability to even crawl to a sitting position, let alone get back on that damned, disobedient horse. Life has this amazing ability to kick you when you’re down and take your phone away so you can’t call for help; and a lot of the time it can make you have doubts about your goals and dreams.
So what do you do when you’ve struggled for so long that all you’re left with is uncertainty and questions about your life choices? Well, when it happened to me, I had to take a step back and question everything I had been doing up until that point, just to make sure the dream I had been working towards, was still what I wanted. Some of the things I asked myself were:
- What is it about this dream/ goal that I really want? I asked this because I needed to remind myself of the reasons why I wanted it in the first place; to make sure that those reasons were still valid now that time had passed and I’d had new experiences.
- If I never achieve my dream, can I imagine myself being happy doing something else? This is a really important question because it’s about the joy/ happiness that I imagined this dream/ goal would bring me, and questioning whether I’ve stumbled across something that makes me just as happy, or realising that actually, I won’t be my most joyful/ happy unless I achieve this goal.
- What the heck do I do next? This is obviously a pretty broad question, but for me it’s an opportunity to think creatively about my next steps. Look at what I’ve done before, and try to come up with a new angle to achieving my dream/ goal; that’s if I have decided that I still want to pursue it of course. If, however, after those first two questions I’ve concluded that I’m actually chasing an old dream and it’s not really what I want anymore, then I get to take a breather and decide what my next big goal will be, and think about whether I even need a dream/ goal anymore.
The aim here is to not be so hard on yourself if you haven’t yet achieved your dream or goal, and to appreciate that in life we are always growing and changing, and some things just don’t turn out the way that we expected, because we ourselves did not turn out the way we expected.
I like having something to head towards, whereas other people are happy to just see what happens, and I salute those people because they probably have less anxiety than the rest of us dream/ goal oriented lunatics. So here’s to the lunatics, living our best lives the only way we know how; in an organised manner.
Image credit: Dream by Danil Polshin from the Noun Project