When I was younger, I wanted to become an entertainer. I saw myself dressed up extravagantly on stage, looking out at the crowd, clapping and screaming in appreciation of my performance. That dream stayed with me for a long time. Over the years, as my skills improved, missed opportunities piled up. Every time that happens, I tell myself — better luck next time.
That’s the beauty of youth. There is always the potential of the next big break. We can be whoever we want, assuming we don’t give up easily. We persevere. But there comes a time when we cross the line, and it becomes apparent that what we dream about is not happening. Is it practical to continue living with a hole in our soul?
I always believed that I owe it to myself to pursue my dreams at all costs. I refuse to arrive at my deathbed, regretting the what-ifs and the should-haves of life. Despite clinging to that image of living my dream for over half of my life, I’ve finally crossed the threshold, realizing I’m never going to get it.
Odds are, I’ll never achieve my dream of becoming a celebrity entertainer. I probably won’t get to live the lifestyle of the rich and famous. But given what life offers and the effort I put in to make it work, I ended up exactly where I needed to be.
Life always steers you in the direction you choose. The only downside is that it will not always turn out exactly the way you want.
I checked in with myself to see how I felt about missing the boat. To my surprise, I discovered I had my opportunity. I made it to the stage for a few years and experienced what it feels like to be acknowledged and appreciated for my gift. Although the outcome was far less than what I had imagined, I was there. I’m not living in despair of a broken dream.
On a smaller scale, I had it all momentarily. The fame, the lifestyle, the stress, and the thrill. Did my dream come true? Yes. Did I miss the boat? No. Do I want the next level? I guess not.
Are you in love with the results but not the process?
When we desire something, it isn’t the object or the event that we are after. What we are seeking is the feeling that comes with the attainment. It’s about getting into the good feeling space — satisfaction and fulfillment.
There could be areas in your life where you had the opportunity of living your dreams. Think about what it is you desire. Do you want to travel the world, own property, drive a luxury car, or fall in love with the person of your dreams?
In some strange ways, life will orchestrate that event for you to experience. Life always steers you in the direction you choose. The only downside is that it will not always turn out exactly the way you want. Because of that, you might think you have missed the boat.
Life will present you with hurdles that will force you to pause and reconsider if you desire that dream as much as you claimed you do.
Perhaps you got to drive that luxury car, but it belongs to someone else. You fall in love with the person who took you over the moon, but it didn’t last. You own that property, but it was a tad smaller than what you hoped it would be.
If you’re willing to look at it from another perspective, you got what you wanted. Life did not shortchange you. What you’re after is the experience, the feeling that comes with attaining that dream.
We are right where we need to be
We often overlook the point that every level of achievement presents a new set of challenges, pain, and frustration. Reality seldom lived up to fantasies. By attaining the first level, you get to decide if you’re willing to do what it takes to reach the second level. But most of us don’t. We are in love with the results, but not the process of getting there.
Falling in love is great, but staying in love is hard work. Driving a luxury car makes you feel outstanding, but maintaining one is another story. Owning a property will earn admiration from friends and families, but it may involve some drastic sacrifices. Are you up for it?
Most of us have a pretty fair shot in life, but we choose to live as if we’re at a tremendous disadvantage. Often we think we’re stuck in a less than ideal life because we’re not where we want to be. We blame it on fate instead of accepting that life is what we make it out to be. We are right where we need to be. Our dreams led us to where we are today.
If we are truly serious about wanting more, we will do more. But if it’s not a driving need, we probably do not want it more than just a periodic mental indulgence. Life will present you with hurdles that will force you to pause and reconsider if you desire that dream as much as you claimed you do.
Living the life of your dreams
I have to replace the picture in my mind with another version of reality. Do I want to live with the assumption that there is a hole in my soul because of unfulfilled desire, and I will never know what it means to be completely happy? Or do I want to replace that image and acknowledge that life has given me a taste of what I wanted? What happened after that was ultimately my choice.
All of us are capable of building the life we want. The reason we are not living it is that somewhere along the way, we have become content. Changes in our needs and priorities cause us to reevaluate. That is neither good nor bad. It was a choice.
Maybe somewhere in the back of your mind, you thought your life should differ from the reality you’re experiencing. That stops you from appreciating where you are and what you have. If you’re willing to look at things from a different perspective, you may be able to notice where you have gotten so far is truly worth celebrating.