Dreams and despair are inseparable, that’s the contract. You want to dream? You get the risk that comes with it, that you won’t make it. You don’t like the risk? Pare back the dream or leave it, and get nothing in return.
We get older, and often leave our dreams behind. Things like mortgages, well-paying jobs, kids, soccer games…they all rush in to take the place of our dreams. We second-guess them, stop believing. Instead, we start living our dreams through our kids, or through the characters we watch on the movie screen. Our real self gets imbued onto others, instead.
When I was very young, I built-up this dream of being a writer. I poured so much of myself into it, there was no other option. Once I got a “real job,” I went so far as to deliberately avoid success so that it wouldn’t compete with my real dream, of writing.
But then I let it go. I started to worry I was a fraud, that I couldn’t do it. It got so bad, I even stopped reading because it only reminded me of what I should be doing, but was afraid to.
Kids change things. You start to see the world through their eyes. If I’m to encourage our kids to follow their dreams, what kind of role model am I to my daughter when she asks why I’m a project manager, if I really wanted to be a writer?
For all the fear I had of being a fraud, I became just that by not writing. The only way out was to return to the dream I once had for myself.
Since November, I’m writing just 15 minutes before work, each day. It’s a much better reason to get out of bed in the morning. I complete a short post, and I’ve started my day off on the right foot. Anything that follows is gravy.
Dreams make you real. They give you something to fight for, a reason to be. The bigger the dream, the bigger the risk, the bigger the reason you need to do it. Don’t waste your time worrying, accept the terms in the contract.
Dedicated to my lovely wife Dawn, and to my bald friend Seth Godin, both of whom inspired me to start writing, blogging, and being again.