The other side of chasing your dreams
I’ve done a lot of things in my nearly fifty four years of life. And chased a lot of dreams. But I’m not wealthy. Not even close. Because that was never one of my dreams. I’ve written about some of my dreams before:
There were other dreams though.
When I was in my late teens or early twenties I literally dreamt of being in a loving relationship. I mean as in being asleep and seeing the person in my future. The details were vague, even then. But I knew it was going to happen. I never had to chase it. The Universe provided that dream to me. She just showed up one day and we spent the next twenty two or so years in love. When she died, letting go was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, or likely ever will do.
I remember sitting down at a computer in college for the first time. I had never even seen one before. It was probably 1985 and I was taking a Fortran programming class. I was fascinated. It was several years before I could afford to buy a computer of my own. When I finally did, I spent every spare dime on language compilers and development software. By 1995 I had taught myself three different programming languages. I wrote a mostly complete 2-D CAD system just to learn the C programming language. In the back of my mind I thought “I could do this for a living.”
Then one day the opportunity came. And I took it. Programming RPG and CL on an IBM AS400. It was like getting a job in a sweatshop after spending years dreaming of designing runway apparel. There was no magic. Programming for a living was hard work, long hours and not really fun at all. It was time to let this dream go.
A lot of people might say “but that was just a stepping stone, you rise from there to maybe run the company”. Yea, no. I’ve never had a dream to run a company. See above. Money really holds no fascination for me and neither does power. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. To anyone who will listen:
Don’t let society or culture decide your dreams for you.
I like learning things. And when I’ve learned what I want to know it’s time to move on to the next thing. It’s a great big world out there. Staying in some place because it was a dream is no less of a box than staying in a job you hate.
You get to define this life however you want. For some that may mean reaching for the stars and never resting until they have all of creation looking up at them in admiration. For others it might mean raising a child to adulthood. Don’t put expectations on your dreams that don’t belong there. The most important part of a dream isn’t achieving it. It’s reaching for it and enjoying the ride along the way.
Learning to let go when the dream has been achieved is every bit as important having the dream itself. Have a plan for what comes after you’ve achieved your dream or you’ll never find real peace in life.
Thank you for your time.