Thought Catalog

Don’t Hold Onto Your Dreams So Tightly That You Choke Yourself

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God & Man

When you know exactly what you want, you build your entire identity around it, in little ways at first. Choices about school, choices about guys, choices about friends. Unconsciously, you choose these things, engineer them all towards one goal, the realization of a dream you have, maybe one you’ve had since you were a child.

That’s what we do, right? We people who know what and who we want to be, who know the type of man they want and when, that’s how we’re supposed to live, responsibly, creatively steering our lives toward accomplishment and realization and a love that timeless and forever.

After college, you fight hard to get into the field or job you’ve always wanted and dreamed of being in. When you start it, you couldn’t be happier. Your feet don’t touch the ground for three weeks after you hear those magic words “welcome aboard.” You’re on your way. Everything is going according to plan.

Then come the problems as they always do.

Your job isn’t particularly hard and you love portions of it but overall it isn’t what you dreamt it would be, what it should be. The field is nothing like what you’d hoped and despite your best attempts at keeping on course for years, you realize parts of you, just under the surface, suppressed, have changed. Parts of you no longer fit into that child’s dream or that teenager’s dream. But still, you push on and ignore all the things, large and small, that seemed to scream “get out!”

You keep the same friends but more importantly, you keep the same kinds of friends. Friends that you have little in common with besides a mutual passion for your field. Friends that only tell and only laugh at certain kinds of jokes and only listen to certain kinds of music.

Other opportunities come and go. You’re offered chances in positions outside your field that, if you’re honest, seem incredibly interesting and fun. They seem like adventures.

But, they didn’t fit into your grand plan and you are a person with a plan. That’s who you are.

You meet boys who are charming and beautiful and some even seem to genuinely care for you but they aren’t the kind of guys that your dream would let you date. They don’t know the right kinds of things or laugh at the right kinds of things. They are not in the original picture in your head of your dream life that you carry around, constantly checking it to make sure you’re on track.

And slowly, in the course of time, you find yourself drowning in your own demands and self-imposed limitations, your own expectations about who you are what you should be doing.

And your dream becomes a straight jacket, a noose around your neck, killing you slowly. And, one day, you realize that you have very few real friends of your own. You have few pleasures that you really enjoy, only friends and pleasures that you believe you should have. They resemble possessions more than people or experiences.

And you realize that your entire life is a borrowed life.

If life is supposed to be an adventure then we mustn’t allow ourselves to become slaves to our own dreams, our old beliefs in what we’re supposed to be doing, what we’re supposed to like and want and love. Without chance, without mistakes, without failures and things and people we simply never expected to love, our lives are simply a plan that, over time, becomes a duty, an obligation.

Life can’t be lived that way. It will choke you, strangle you all in the name of accomplishment and a fairy tale nightmare you’ve written for yourself and beaten yourself up over late at night alone in your sleepless bed.

The point of finding yourself is because you don’t know yourself fully. Surrender to the unknowing. Feel it. Live. TC mark

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