Do you ever think back on the dreams you had as a child, and wonder. . .'what if I had taken that path?' or perhaps 'thank goodness I didn't take that path!' Or, maybe you are one of the ones who IS living their childhood dream.
I was reading a childhood diary the other day and it made me start to wonder, as many things do, why do we let some dreams go and yet pursue others? When is it 'ok' to let a dream go?
As with much of life, the answer is along the lines of: it depends.
As a young girl I wanted to be a ballerina (I know. . . very original.) I would pretend my dresser was a barre, I'd sew ribbons on my footie socks, and wait all year for the Nutcracker to be on TV and the live production to come to town. My parents refused to sign me up for ballet (not sure why exactly, probably that trifecta of time, money, and interest on their part) and it wasn't until it came up as a college elective that I was able to take a class. I was thrilled, and sore, and at the age of 19 was fairly certain I wasn't going to be mistaken for Anna Pavlova or Misty Copeland. While I could pursue ballet as a hobby, my dreams of dancing on a stage were let go. Frankly, I was fine with it
When you let a dream 'go', it is important to ask your soul some questions first:
-Are you letting it go because it may be: too hard, too expensive, your friends/parents/co-workers/significant other/kids/dog etc. aren't behind you, you don't have the time, or you don't have the energy? These may not be the best reasons. As the saying goes 'where there is a will, there is a way' and the people closest to you should be supportive of your dreams and your pursuit of them. When you look back on your life in 20 years will you be ok knowing that you let that dream go?
-Are you letting it go because it simply doesn't interest you any longer? People change, often dramatically. The world changes, often dramatically. What you once thought would be 'fun' may now sound like hell.
I used to sew and for a while made bags that I would sell at craft fairs. After the 300th or so bag I was so sick of sewing that I didn't care if I ever saw a sewing machine again. Someone asked me what I was working on and when I responded that I don't sew any more their response was 'Oh Jody, that's so sad!' I was taken aback. They remembered the 'old Jody'. It was not 'sad' that I wasn't doing what I had become sick of doing. 'Sad' would be continuing to do something because that was what people had come to expect of you.
-Are you letting it go because you have come to learn that it is a bit unrealistic? 'Marry a prince, become a prima ballerina at 40, birth a child naturally at 60'. . . While I like to believe in the 'anything is possible' mindset there also comes a time when following a dream simply isn't feasible and the price of pursuing it is not worth the possible (and remote) outcome.
When assessing your dreams look at what is behind them, and then think of how you can create those things in your current reality whether or not you pursue the exact dream or not.
-When I think of ballet, I like the idea of: being incredibly fit and flexible, wearing pretty pink dresses, having discipline, an old pair of pointe shoes hanging on the wall.
-When think of being a fashion designer I liked the idea of: owning my own company, always dressing stylishly, going to NYC, going to fashion shows, the power and prestige behind it.
- When I think of being a bestselling author I liked the idea of: being able to work anywhere, being the weird introvert who is holed up with their pets and coffee in a big old house (hey, it has to be someone's dream right?), sharing my vision with the world through writing, inspiring others.
Your dreams are there to serve you, to inspire you.
When they no longer do so, set them free. They are YOUR dreams, few things are more personal. You can change them daily if you wish. Let them inspire you goals, then your actions and see just what they can bring your life.
What are some dreams you've let go? Why?