Today is going to be a tough read. Either you’re going to celebrate the severe lack of bullshit and think ‘thank god someone else realises this’ or you’re going to feel so depressed at the realism of my statement you’ll need several chocolate brownies to cope and wonder why the hell you read my words (I apologise in advance if you’re the latter).
So here goes:
Not all dreams come true
Ouch right?! Hurts to realise that all our quiet or announced dreams can’t and won’t come true despite all the work and wishes for miracles we put into them.
But I don’t believe in dreams and neither does Mark Manson in his article. That’s ironic given that I called Bondi Beach home for the last year; a dream of mine. But I’m lucky. Ouch. That’s another controversial statement; ‘I’m lucky’ – that’s too big a topic to discuss in this article given how big the rest of it is so we’ll get back to that one another time.
Not all dreams come true and, as Gretchen Rubin wrote in the Happiness Project, there is a sadness to our limitations. Not all of us can or will become astronauts, service men and women, change the world despite the games we play in school breaks and announce to our teachers and parents growing up.
And when you stop to think about that, it’s really fucking sad isn’t it? That our dreams won’t come to fruition? Sure, I could sit here and spout a whole list of people that achieved their dreams but I won’t because this article isn’t about them. It’s about all of us who made some dreams and have, over the years, come to the realisation that they’re probably not going to happen.
We’re probably not going to start and run the successful business we want to. Probably not change the world. Maybe not have the career we’d always wanted. Not have the family we craved. The list of unrealised dreams is endless.
How many brownies have you eaten so far? Deep breathes. This article is going to get worse…
I’m not saying we shouldn’t chase our dreams but at some point, after months or even years of chasing them, those dreams become more imprisoning than empowering but that’s another depressing article for another day (I’m on a roll with the negativity today!)
I follow a lot of inspirational/life pages on Facebook which means that my newsfeed gets filled with lots of quote photos saying that dreams are always possible, never give up, ‘you can do this!’; you get the picture and as I pass every single one of them, I realise what utter bullshit it is.
Not everyone can afford (or have the necessary skills) to travel the world indefinitely. Or have a book published. Or work for themselves full time. It’s the fact of life. Not everyone’s dreams come true. The mortgage and bills prevent the travel. No publisher thinks our words are worthy enough. We don’t have business brains to become self-employed (that’s me!). And sure, there are millions of people throughout the world that have overcome those issues to go out and live the dreams they have chased but they are the exception to the rule despite our current society telling us it’s the other way around (no wonder we’re all suffering mental health issues).
There are plenty of people in the world who have achieved their dreams and are happy to say that everyone can achieve theirs but can they really? Sure, I know people that bought a one way ticket for their travels and now they’re making over £250,000 a year, have two properties and live their life the way they want to but it often comes from an idea, knowledge and having the freedom to explore their options.
When you’re holding down a job, 2 kids, a household (with its bills) and a social life, it’s pretty hard to find the energy and time to sit down and work on your dreams. Yes, you could argue that you ‘should’ push through that because there’s never going to be a good time to chase your dreams but I’m also acutely aware that if you’re constantly slogging away at 2am on jewellery for your Etsy shop and you’re running on 5 hours of sleep, your ‘empowering’ dreams will quickly turn into the prison I talked about just now.
I just don’t think we’re designed to all live our dreams (pass me another brownie?!). After all, if we were all astronauts in space, who would be left to run the Earth? We need mechanics for our cars and plumbers for our homes. Bin men to collect our refuse, administrators to answer all of our calls. There is nothing wrong in being ‘average’ (another topic we’ll discuss at a later date – once we’ve recovered from our brownie coma) but we’re told that we all have to chase our dreams and if those dreams don’t align with our lives (i.e. we want to be an astronaut but we’re rubbish at science etc), we are setting ourselves up for failure before we have made any headway on our dreams in the first place. That’s another ouch.
I could sit here and shout from the rooftops that I made my dream of calling Bondi Beach home a reality but I won’t because it’s just one dream I achieved and I was lucky. I was lucky enough that, at the time of making the dream, I didn’t have a boyfriend or child to think about, no mortgage or monetary commitments tying me down, had the freedom of time to chase my dream and that my health came under control quickly enough to return to Sydney. But I am not a published writer or even a full time writer; this website is not a success (or even making money) and I don’t have a husband or a child of my own. Those are my real dreams; the ones that keep me awake at night and I may never achieve them despite how much I work on them.
Sometimes achieving our dreams balances on the mere fact that we met the right person at the right time; that we went to a party and happened to start talking to a publishing editor or we have a friend of a friend who is looking for an intern in their legal firm and your son would fit right in. Again; I call this luck and I have seen it happen many times. Of course, you make your own luck to a certain point and you have to work hard on your dreams but the rest is down to the Universe.
Controversial? Potentially. Accurate? Fairly.
It’s one of the reasons why talent shows are so popular and get so many contestants…do you want to spend your entire life playing in dodgy pubs and clubs on the off chance someone influential spots you? Or do you want to put yourself in the perfect place to be seen?
Again, however, it comes down to luck on whether or not you are put through to the next round or win the competition but you took the right step and the rest, unfortunately, is out of your control in that moment.
Not all dreams come true. It’s painful. Heartbreaking. Gut-wrenching. But it’s the sad truth of the reality we live in. We can’t all be firemen or doctors or astronauts. Sometimes the hands we are dealt in life, whether they come at a young or old age, are too strong to fight against and though we may live our lives with dreams; they are unrealised ones.
Not all dreams come true.
And I’m sorry.