“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
— Walt Disney
— Grumpy Cat
A rough truth we all have to face at some point is no matter how many childhood fallacies shouted at you with neon lettering “YOU CAN BE ANYTHING YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO”, not all of your dreams will come true. Tough break, eh?
This isn’t groundbreaking. I’m not the first to say, “Hey babe, this might not happen for you.” But it’s something I’ve been bothered with lately. This bright-eyed notion that as long as you want it enough, as long as you hope and squeeze your fingers tight enough, it’s going to happen. Life falls into place the way you pictured. Happily ever after, roll credits.
It’s not all going to happen. You won’t all become astronauts. You won’t all land a spot on Forbes. You won’t all have sex with Ryan Gosling or Mila Kunis. Some things you’re going to want. And some you just aren’t going to get. C’est la vie.
I don’t want to be mistaken for Buzzkill McGee, sitting on my porch and yelling at kids to get off my lawn. Because that’s not what this is. I’m a huge champion for big, overwhelming dreams and trying to do the damn thing. But the problem is when that becomes everything. When you pin all you have in something, sure, it might have massive pay-off. You might become an astronaut! You might be on Forbes! You might fuck Ryan Gosling and Mila Kunis until they go hoarse from shouting your name! But what if you don’t?
How do you keep living when life turns out a little bit disappointing? A little faded in spots you thought were meant to be vivid and shiny? What if you don’t get that one thing you so desperately wanted?
For most of us, aging starts to look more like a bunch of to-do lists, not the stuff we filled childhood journals with. It’s a lot more “get to the laundromat, update LinkedIn profile, use that coupon before it expires” and much less “Be Oprah.” I got really excited over buying a pair of socks yesterday, so listen, I’m not saying adulthood can’t be exhilarating. Because CLEARLY. But it’s okay that it’s not a movie. It’s okay that you aren’t under 30 with a hefty bank account and a gold trimmed resume. It’s okay that you still mess up. It’s okay to be a human being figuring shit out.
It’s OKAY for dreams to not come true. Things are going to sting. You’ll be bopping along, expecting maybe a monarch butterfly or dragonfly and BAM — an asshole wasp shows up and pokes you. WHY’D YOU DO THAT BRO?
You won’t always get that job promotion. That beautiful stranger isn’t always going to return your attraction. You can’t simply be anything you want. (I wanted to be an actual cat when I was 5, not happening baby Ari)
But here’s what you can do;
You can work. You can push yourself. Discover your passions and chase THOSE, not just some lofty idea of a “dream.” Do the things that bring you happiness, maybe not even as your income source, but just something for YOU. But also don’t beat yourself up if you can’t. Maybe now is not the time. There are moments in life we have to sacrifice, be it because of responsibilities, timing, etc. It’s a privilege to say “chase your dream.” And frankly, it can be quite isolating. Because we can’t all do it with a snap of our fingers.
So take small steps towards satisfaction. Instead of envisioning yourself as the next stadium-selling musician, just play your music. Learn your craft. Remember why you’re doing it. Is it because you love it or because it fits into this grand dream? Don’t sit back either. Remember: WORK! Find like-minded individuals. Make friends, not as just some social-climbing-networking shtick, but as ACTUAL friends. Make yourself laugh! Fall down and get back up. It’s okay to be bruised. Life is going to do that.
I talk about dreams a lot and maybe I’m just nauseating myself. Because it ends up swinging me on a cycle that doesn’t always feel good. There are days I feel closer, I feel like I can almost grab it. I can taste this vision. But I’m never full enough. Someone takes away my plate and I’m throwing my hands up, “no, no! I’m not done eating!”
I hope I never stop pushing to be better, to do things that inspire and engage me, but I do think it’s time to let go of “chasing a dream.” Why should we be running anyways? This isn’t gym class. So tell your damn dream to chase you.