I know you’ve heard this a million times, so have I. Parents, counselors, friends, life coaches, and whoever else is in involved in your life, all telling you to live you dreams, shoot for the stars, and never to let go of them. Whole commencement speeches at high school graduations are dedicated to this topic, and I’m sure college graduations too (I haven’t been to one of those yet). It makes you feel like you can go out and conquer the world. Then, the next day hits (or some time hits), and you’re back to doing what you’ve always done.
Originally, I had planned on writing this as my first blog post, but something else came up I felt like I needed to write. The reason I wanted to write this as my first post is because it’s the whole reason this blog exists in the first place. Some of it is in the “About” section, but let me give you some background here….
When I was little, I was the definition of “dream big.” I was convinced that my destiny was to become an actress (sound familiar to anyone?). I used to pour all my energy into writing, directing, producing, and, of course, starring in these little plays I made my cousins and best friend participate in. On top of that, I also wanted to be Shamu’s trainer. For those of you who don’t know, Shamu is the big killer whale at Sea World who I idolized during my elementary school years. Normal people idolized Britney Spears, I idolized a killer whale….but I digress lol.
I had a few other dreams mixed in there. Writing scripts ranked high up there with acting, but one day it just stopped. I have no idea when it did, but it did. I stopped dreaming. The bar got lower, and I started settling for dreams my family and everyone else wanted for me. I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced this (I hope you haven’t), but it is an absolutely terrible feeling realizing that you’ve lost your dreams. To look at your life and realize that you don’t have passions anymore, at least you can’t see them by looking at the way you’re living your life. The worst part? This usually comes when you’ve lost all confidence in yourself.
I was actually talking to my boyfriend, who is by far the most confident and biggest dreamer I’ve ever met, on Skype when this realization hit me. He told me that he had been noticing it for a while, as I’m sure other close people around you have noticed it if you’ve really reached this point, and he was going to help me get through it. I’m going to share some of the things he told me with you….
- Find your passions. Even if you feel like you don’t have passions anymore, you do. You just may not have found them yet. Think back on your childhood to now and see if any of your old dreams still resonate with the person you’ve become. If none of them do, then it’s time to try something new. Learn how to crochet, take a class on baking, sign up for intro college classes (ex. intr to criminal justice, intro to biology, intro to political science). Who knows? You may find out some things about yourself you never knew were there. Similarly, examine yourself to make sure what you’re doing now is still making you as happy as it once was. If not, it’s time to try something new.
- Stop with the negative thinking. Immediately after my boyfriend asked me to tell him some of my old dreams, I started telling him all the reasons why I could never achieve them. I think we can all see how this is a bad thing. Constructive criticism is good. Telling yourself all the reasons why you’re not good enough for something, is not. As he told me, “you have to believe in yourself before you can expect others to believe in you,” and it’s true.
- Start today. If you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “you know what? She’s right! I can totally do (whatever it is you want to do),” don’t put it off until tomorrow. That may give you (or others) enough time to talk you out of doing it. Start that blog! Sign up for drama in school or participate in tryouts for whatever that sport is you’re fond of, but do it now!
- Have an accountability partner. Sooner or later, things are going to get hard. Someone may post a mean comment on your new blog, or you may not make the team you wanted to for the upcoming year. During those times, you’re going to need someone to come alongside you, encourage you, and make sure that you’re not losing hope. Don’t be afraid to ask someone close to you to be that person. All of us need a little help with our dreams now and then.
- Don’t give up. As I said before, things are going to get hard, but you have to push through. Everyone has experienced a point in chasing their dreams where things started to look impossible. That’s why having an accountability partner is so important. You need someone who’s going to look past the situation and see that potential inside of you, and anyway, wouldn’t you rather spend your entire life chasing your dreams than settling for something you don’t really care about?
- Have fun with it! I think a lot of times, even when chasing something you’re passionate about, it’s easy to get stuck in a routine and forget why you started doing it in the first place. You lose the spark that you once had, and it becomes just another pay check or something to check off your To Do list. If this is you, or you think you’re starting to get to this point, try to remember why you started doing it in the first place. Remember that first “like” you got on your first post or the first goal you scored. If that isn’t helping, try changing it up a little bit or trying something new that still goes along with your passion. Try teaching another grade level or adding a new section to your blog to go with the old ones. Just don’t lose the passion that started it to begin with!
I hope that this advice helps you as much as it helped me. Maybe I’ll even get him to write a little on here. 😉 Now go! Start living your dreams, and above all, never stop dreaming!
*As always, if you have any questions, comments, concerns, etc. you can always e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave something in the comments section (I’m working on getting it set up where you can leave something anonymously).*