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Living the dream – or not

POSTED: May 3, 2017 1:00 a.m.

We focus a lot on the pursuit of our dreams, don't we?

I know I do.

We romanticize them and want them to wrap up all nice and neat like a movie.

We think if we try and want it really hard, and work towards them, those dreams will happen.

And sometimes, they do - sometimes, we get tiny glimmers of the dreams and think they are coming to fruition.

But when they don't, we get discouraged and think life is just horrible.

We have been fed this idea that in order for us to be happy, we have to be living some ‘dream' we have concocted.

A friend and I were talking about this the other day.

She is wonderful at making her dreams come true, seemingly without effort.

But she feels a bit of wistfulness that she is not making a living following her bliss.

As we talked, I had an epiphany.

We have been told "follow your bliss and you never work a day in your life."

We have thought we needed to be happy all the time and that is wrong.

"I think the whole following our bliss thing is grossly overrated," I said, surprised at my own words. "I have found the bliss doesn't necessarily pay the bills."

And it doesn't.

The bliss, the dreams, may give us something fun to pursue and maybe we one day can make a living out of it.

But the fact we have been told we are living some inferior experience because we aren't living our dreams is a bunch of bovine waste material.

I think of my Mama, who wanted to be a writer when she was younger.

She's a good one, too. I have found some of her novels before, written in her flowing long hand and sat endlessly for hours reading them.

She's also a pretty dang good artist, too, using everything including her closet door as a canvas once when the inspiration struck.

"Why didn't you do this for a living?" I asked her once.

Mama laughed.

"I had a child to raise, bills to pay - I didn't have time to try to chase a dream."

At the time, her words filled my heart with so much despair.

Would she have been some great fiction author pre-dating J.K. Rowling or some noveau Monet had it not been for me?

Instead of following her bliss, Mama did what she has pushed me to do for years.

She got the stable albeit boring job - you know, the one with benefits, vacation time and retirement packages.

She may have felt like she was missing out on not pursuing her dreams but she never complained.

Maybe she didn't follow her dreams but she found something even more blissful - stability.

And that was something she has always wanted for her only child who had never seemed to settle in one field for long.

"I am trying to pursue my passion!" I would cry.

Now, years later - not too many years, mind you - I have realized: Our passion can be what inspires us but there is something to be said for being grounded and stable. The bliss is great but it often doesn't pay the bills.

"Does this mean you are giving up some of your dreams?" my friend asked when I shared this little parable.

Maybe.

I think some dreams do have an expiration date and a few of mine are long past that point.

Sometimes it just means we outgrow our dreams, and new ones emerge to take their place.

And those dreams are the ones that actually put us closer to that place of happiness we want to be.

 

 

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