When I was a kid and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would respond with: a Pampered Chef Consultant, a world famous violinist, a singer, a fashion designer, a lawyer, a writer, a mom, etc.
I’m 24 years old and I’ve already given up many dreams. Sounds sad, right? Re-read it.
I haven’t given up on them. I’ve simply given up the dream. And I’m okay with that.
We’re told to dream big. But then we grow up. And since I’ve changed as a person, it seems only natural that my dreams change with me. My desires, interests, and passions have changed. So I’m okay with the fact that my dreams have changed. When my mom was no longer a Pampered Chef Consultant, I was no longer interested in selling overpriced kitchen gadgets. When I realized that I am not a good singer, I lost interest. When I went to study fashion for a summer in New York, I decided I couldn’t make a career out of it. When I started getting closer to law school, I wondered if it was really what I wanted. And when I started working at law firm, I realized I didn’t want to have the lifestyle these attorneys have. And when I realized that dream that was so set in my mind for years, was no longer a dream of mine, I figured out how much I love writing, and I replaced the lawyer dream with the writer dream, because that was more fitting to me at that time.
It feels as though once you’ve decided what you think you want to do, you’re stuck. Someone once told me, if you’re not working on pursuing that goal every day, then you don’t want it bad enough. To some extent, I agree with that.
But at the same time, some dreams have to be pursued part time, and that doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t want it badly enough, it just means that life creates different challenges and opportunities for each person.
We aren’t supposed to have everything figured out at this point in our lives, so why doesn’t anybody tell us that our dreams don’t define us? A child can change their mind a hundred times about what they want to be when they grow up, but it becomes less acceptable to do so as we get older. We’re supposed to settle down, become a contributing member of society, be realistic and stop chasing “unattainable” dreams. And you know who defines “unattainable dreams?” You.
If a dream makes you hate the lifestyle you created, maybe it becomes unattainable to you. If while chasing a dream you realize that you’re not actually as interested in that field as you thought you would be, maybe that dream becomes unattainable to you.
But again, only you can decide when your dream becomes unattainable, or better yet, undesirable. Just because you didn’t achieve a dream, doesn’t mean you have failed. Maybe you just grew up.
Don’t give up on a dream simply because it’s difficult, or because people doubt you. Give up a dream because you’ve replaced it with a better one.
“Today my dream is front and center, but living the dream isn’t the happy ending I once imagined. The truth is, my dream has changed; it has become clearer to me, and more challenging. Your story doesn’t end when your dreams come true, it changes.”
— Malinda Lo