The Irony of Our Dreams
If you asked my family and friends, “Is Meredith a dreamer or a doer?” Hands down, they would all say, “Meredith is a doer, a real go-getter. When she sets her mind to do something, she goes for it, full throttle ahead. Nothing gets in her way. Nothing stops her.” And as far as they can tell, they would be right. When I set out to run a marathon, not only did I finish, I ran the race in less than four hours. When I decided to become a yoga teacher — while maintaining a career in TV — I did it. When I decided I wanted to write a fun, chick lit novel, I did it. I didn’t get published, but at least I wrote the damn thing. So yeah, according to them, I’m a doer.
But here’s the rub. While all of my family and friends think I’m a doer, I know the truth. When it comes to chasing my real dreams, the ones that scare the shit out of me, I have done nothing. I have sat and observed my dreams, the way you might watch the clouds float by on a lazy summer day. But pursue those dreams? Do something about those dreams?
Why? Because I hate fear. There. I said it. I hate doing anything that makes me uncomfortable or remotely makes me face my fear. And those dreams that I keep watching? Ironically, even though they represent the things I want more than anything in the world, they also represent my greatest fears. And achieving those dreams means conquering my fears, something that up until this point I have not been willing to do.
I know I’m not alone here. Many of us have dreams we desperately want to turn into reality but our biggest impediment is fear. Somehow, that’s not comforting. It doesn’t make me feel any better to know that collectively we are in this together, a bunch of scaredy-cats. It just makes me sad. We have become so paralyzed by our fear that we have become voyeurs of our dreams and our future lives, rather than doing anything about them.
After years of watching documentaries and TV shows and reading books and magazine articles about other people succeeding at the things they really want to do, pursuing the passions that make their hearts sing, I realize I no longer want to sit on the sidelines. I want to get in on the game. I want to face my fears, because guess what? On the other side of those fears are the things I want most, the ‘game changers’ that will lead to the most authentic life possible.
So I’ve started making some changes. I’ve started doing things, little by little, to chip away at these fears, to get closer to my dreams. But I’m not doing this alone. I am going to share my journey with you, and if you’re feeling courageous, I want you to join me. Is it going to be easy? Hell no. It’s probably going to be one of the scariest things you’ll ever do in your life, because not only will you be facing your fear, but you’ll be living it. Tasting it. Eating it for dinner. But as its been said many times before, the things most worth fighting for in this life aren’t easy to come by.
The upside? Because oh yes, there is an upside to all of this drama. On the other side of fear is something so amazing that you will forget how afraid you were. That’s right. You’ll forget your fear and how much you feared your fear. Because you’ll be living your truth. And when you are doing what you are meant to be doing, and living the life that you have wanted for so long, you will thank the stars and the moon and whoever or whatever you pray to that you had the bravery to face your fear.
So what are they? What are your dreams? What are your fears? Let’s start with one. Maybe it’s finding a new job. Maybe it’s losing weight. Maybe it’s getting a divorce, or going back to school. For me, it’s been about believing in my own voice as a writer and starting my own business. Whatever it is, own that dream. Own that fear. Embrace it. And start doing. Because dreams only come true through action. So make a list, take the reins in your hands, and get to work.
And when you fall — because you will fall — get back up on that horse and get back in the race. Each fall will only make you stronger, and braver. Each stumble will bring more wisdom. Each mistake is a victory in disguise. Because once you are in the race, once you are doing something about your dreams and facing your fears, you’ve already won. You’ve set a chain of reactions in motion that will guide you on the right path. All it takes is that first step. Apply for that job. Step on the scale, reconcile the number you see with the number you want to be and start moving. Meet with a divorce lawyer. Get the course syllabus from the local university. Stop daydreaming. Stop avoiding your fears. It’s time to lace up your shoes and take the first step. It’s time to get in the race.