I have tried with all my heart

Photo by Kevin Lee

When I was a kid, I remember having this big dream. I wanted to be a dancer. I always loved modern dancing. I always felt fascinated by the way people could just let their body flow. Modern dance is almost like poetry. It’s simplicity. It’s intensity. It’s freedom. And all you need is a body and a piece of music to create something extraordinary. Well, more or less.

In my parent’s house, there was this living room with a big mirror hung on one of the walls. There was a space between the television and the sofa. Every time my parents and brother would leave the house, leaving me home alone, I would run to this living room, turn on the music and dance. Just like a human wave. The arms, the legs, the waist: they would just undulate exploring melodies, rhythms and emotions.

It was almost like poetry. Well, or maybe it wasn’t.

I never took dancing lessons. That was why, most of the times, I would just jump up and fall on the floor. I would get hurt. I would get disappointed at me: because I wanted it so much and, still, I couldn’t do it. “Why can’t I do it?”, I would ask myself. “Why can’t I just make it like they do?” Sometimes, I would even cry. Frustrated. I was trying so hard. Then, other times, I would just get up and try again even knowing that I would probably fail. Again. And fall. Again.

Needless to say, I am not a dancer today even though I still love dancing. But there are a lot of times in my life where I get to think about this phase of my life and how hard it was for me to face my own limitations and give up on this dream. It gave me one of the first most challenging and precious life’s lessons, and that is why I find myself frequently thinking about it.

1. Dreams have this incredible power of bringing a purpose into our lives. — For a long time, this was all I wanted: I wanted to learn, to improve and be like one of those dancers I admired. It made me, as I told you, run to the living room every time I was home alone. I wouldn’t even feel alone. I was busy setting goals and trying to overcome myself. It made me believe. It gave me a purpose. Having dreams is great. We all should have one or two once in a while.

2. Dreams don’t just happen. — Unfortunately, no matter how badly I wanted it and how many times I would cry or be disappointed at me, or try again and again, I just couldn’t make it happen. The routine I have put into it, of course, gave me the pleasure of doing something I loved on a daily basis. But it wasn’t enough. At all. I never took the next steps. At that time, I already knew that great dancers practice several hours per day and, still, I never committed myself to pushing that hard and tell the world (and myself): “This is what I want and this is what I will do from now on.” It was naive to think that it could be enough. Never is. Dreams don’t happen just because. They require self-awareness, effort and commitment, and effort, and commitment and self-awareness. (Have I already said self-awareness, effort, and commitment?)

3. Dreaming is awesome, but let’s focus on the tangible dreams. — If I wanted so much to be a dancer, why didn’t I really commit myself to it? Because I didn’t have the audacity to say “this is what I want and this is what I will do from now on”. Because I didn’t take those next steps. That was why, after a few months, I gave up this dream. It didn’t make any sense to insist on a dream I was doing nothing about. And this is one valuable lesson. Having dreams — achievable dreams — and not doing what they require to become a reality is useless. We may dream whatever we want, really, but what for? Let’s be realistic, put our feet on the ground, and realize what dreams are worth it, what can we do to achieve them, and what dreams may never see the light of the day. This is an important lesson to focus on what is vital, gain self-awareness and save ourselves from a lot of bitter disappointments. If I didn’t take my dreams seriously, why should they become a reality?

Even though this is just a story that happened so many years ago and so many things have I learned since then, I still sympathize a lot with that girl.

At the end of my life, I think I just want to be able to say that I didn’t just create a super awesome list of goals and dreams. Above all, I want to be able to say that I strongly committed myself to achieving, at least, one or two of those goals and dreams. That I have tried. Day after day. That I have tried with all my heart.

Let’s talk: I would love to know more about you. What dreams did you have when you were a kid?

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Laura Almeida Azevedo’s story.