If you’re like most people, there will probably come a time in your life when you are faced with the realization that the things you once wanted in the past are not the things you want for the future, and this isn’t a comfortable thing to accept.
The truth is that we all exist under the impression that one day, when we are established enough and successful enough and have hit a few more milestones, we will reach the point at which we can “coast.”
We’re fed this narrative from the time we are young, where we’re advised to pick a single straight and certain life path and then to stick with it through thick and thin until we ultimately arrive at the other side, which is supposed to be safety, and fulfillment, and a life well-lived.
On the outside, you’re told to “never give up,” and always believe in yourself, and remain consistent, and stay the course.
On the inside, your subconscious mind knows that people do not like change. What’s unfamiliar is frightening, even if it’s a positive change; what’s familiar is comforting, even if it’s destructive. This is the unfortunate paradox that so many of us are trying to battle our way out of, and this is the exact problem you will face when you know it’s time to finally change your path.
The truth is that you are allowed to revise your dreams, because the plans you made in the past were designed for a person you no longer are. You are not here to just do one job, play one role, be one person. You are a constant evolution. You are a continual unfolding. You haven’t met every part of yourself yet, you haven’t unearthed every desire. There is more to you, and there is more to life, but you have to do the first subversive thing, which is to accept that you are letting go of the dreams you once had.
What start out as hopeful aspirations can often devolve into places in life where we are most attached and stuck, the aspects of our existence to which we have pinned all of our meaning and security.
To weather the continual discomfort of growing up, we hang tight to our future plans as though they will be a reprieve, a result, the life we want, which we earn by enduring the life we don’t.
Of course, all of this is misguided, though we don’t quite know it at the time.
The truth is that none of us know ourselves well enough to plan way ahead in the future, and more importantly, we don’t know what will happen around us, either. The only time we’re truly afraid of this is when we are resistant to adapting. The only time this becomes a hindrance instead of a relief is when we are invested in being attached to one plan, one identity, one person we will be and then never change again.
This isn’t the point of being alive.
The point is that we continue to discover pieces of ourselves, and integrate them into our experience.
The point is that we wake up and continually question who we are and where we are and whether or not we are content.
The point is that we find the courage to live in a way that’s true to our most essential selves, not a way that appeases who and what everyone else wants us to be.
Because those old dreams? They probably aren’t even all yours.
They belong to your parents, your grandparents, your peers, your society. They belong to expectations, they belong to fear. They belong to whatever made you feel as though you could not step forward in your life without having a ground to stand on, and that ground would be the manifestation of this very specific dream.
You are standing right now, you always have been.
The actualization of those old dreams are not and have never been your ticket into being loved and accepted and secured.
Do you know what is?
Your willingness to show up as you are each day and ruthlessly question yourself until you’re arrived at your deepest truth, the one that makes everything else make sense, the one that overwhelms you with clarity, the one that sparks a little, tiny fire in your heart, the one that makes your gut say, yes.
The one that might not make sense.
The one that others may not understand.
The one that might leave you less “successful” by some measures, but nonetheless far more fulfilled in your heart.
See, when we’re imagining our dream lives, we see them through the eyes of other people. We construct them based on what we’ll say we do, how we will appear, and how others will respond. We think about the elevator speech, the one line summary of our existence, and very rarely what happens once we’re down the hallway and sitting down and ready to begin.
What do you actually want the day-to-day of your life to look like?
That’s your true dream.
You might be startled to find it’s quite different than the one you adopted when you were still convinced that you needed to prove your worth or find a semblance of “safety” or appease the powers-that-be.
The truth is that the only safe choice is to follow our hearts and express ourselves to the fullest, because anything else leaves us a fraction of the people we intended to be.
The truth is that this all ends, and safety doesn’t exist either way.
The truth is that you are allowed to pursue what’s right for the person you are now, and then you are allowed to pursue something else for the person you will one day become.
You do not have to exist within the confines you set up for yourself.
You are allowed to choose again.
You are allowed to let go.