When Did You Abandon Your Dream? (Part I)

We all lose hope at one point or another. It’s almost inevitable that our dreams become reality and that reality usually means giving up on your dreams. When did you abandon your dream? We’ve all done it. Whether it was a dream of becoming a major league baseball player as a child, or an astronaut, or during your teen years, wanting to work on a beach somewhere relaxing the rest of your life. Reality, a.k.a. responsible adulthood, intervenes (later for some), and jerks us out of the clouds and into the bill-paying, job-filling, individuals that we are today. Not necessarily a bad thing. We certainly do need to be society-benefiting young people in the world of today. But, the abandoning of our dreams trickles into our post-childhood years and can wreak havoc on our happiness.

To some extent, these dreams do need to stay in our childhood. I gave up my childhood dream of playing third base in the major leagues around my senior year of high school, and I’m sure many of you can recall that moment where your reality conflicted with your dream. Absolutely, there is a lot of variability in this context, and without a doubt, many areas were that childhood can and should be pursued into adulthood. However, what I’m advocating for in this post is the grown-up version of those dreams. The dreams that have become realistic. Hey, it could even be one of those childhood dreams fleshed out a little further. These grown-up dreams are the dreams being quit on every single day.

Float around your workplace (or college campus) and ask your coworkers or classmates if they ever thought they would be doing what they are doing today? You can almost be certain that the answer for the majority will be an overwhelming “no”. Dreams of owning a bakery, teaching ballet, opening a gym, becoming a doctor…the answers will probably surprise you. When you start to think about it, it really seems crazy to think of how far many of us have strayed from what we really wanted to do.

The main reason we abandon our dreams is that we’re settling. It really is.

At some intersection of life, we tell ourselves that certain things “just aren’t feasible” and we drop back to what’s safe. We eliminate risk from our lives, decide that we do, in fact, enjoy mediocrity, and move on with the next phase of life. The boredom becomes the new normal, and sooner or later, we adapt to assuming it’s like this for everyone. This helps us cope. Excuses cloud our vision. Excuses hold us back.

In Part 2 (now posted), we’ll get into how to get out of the rut of mediocrity and take action towards those “grown-up” dreams.

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