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When Should You Ditch A Cherished Dream?

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I’ve dreamed many delicious dreams. Held them close. Cherished them fondly. Some I’ve pursued with great vigor, while others crumbled as I tried to hold them in my hands. Some of my dreams have come to fruition, while others never got off the ground.

I am just coming out of a long period of dreams fading and shifting. I have had to re-calibrate, to let go, to start new. It’s hard to let go of dreams, even when we can see they no longer bring us joy or simply haven’t gotten off the ground. Sometimes we encounter barriers, or brick walls; these are clues that we might need to spend a little bit of time looking under the hood to see what’s really going on or chart a new course, maybe.

The truth is, some dreams simply aren’t for us. They are great to think about from a hammock on a warm summer’s day but not for our real lives. Dreams can grow dull over time, losing their luster. We may have pursued other people’s dreams and overtime, lose heart. Knowing when to let go and move on can be tricky. Being a card carrying member of the “Help I’m Stuck” club, I know this intimately.

I have learned to embrace the lessons of my dreams rather than shun them. I have learned that brick walls are important teachers. I’ve learned to ask the hard questions to see what is working and what is not. Dreams can be full of imagery that can be very hard to decipher. We think we want one thing on the surface, but deep down, we want something else entirely. Seeking the truth what lies beneath the surface helps us navigate to the places that bring us joy, success and fulfillment.

Thinking about the essence of the dream, the why, what’s really at play–is this something that needs to be moved to the fun category rather than a money making venture, for example. Have I discovered this really isn’t for me? Do I only like one part of it, but hate the rest? Am I headed down a rabbit hole, here? Does pursuing this dream fill me with joy? Do I need help from others?

Bringing your dreams to life is a whole other subject…stepping up, stepping forward…the excitement, the fear, everything all at once. I’ve learned to set goals, establish mile stones, begin with the end in mind and work backwards to where I am standing. I have learned not to place the success of my dreams in other people’s hands–like winning a skating completion, for example–you and another skater can do perfect performances, and it comes down to the judge as to who wins. I don’t do that any more. The goal is no longer just to win the competition, it is the experience of doing my best all the way along. To learn and grow stronger. It’s the little picture, moment by moment and the big picture, becoming the best skater I can be, all at the same time. It’s being realistic about my prospects, (clearly, this 58 year old is not going to compete in the Olympics–but there are other amazing and fulfilling things I can do within the skating world–finding my niche—or just enjoying the sport–that’s what I am going for).

We all find ourselves at crossroads from time to time. Whether charting a new course, giving a old dream a makeover or renewing our resolve, this is the stuff of life, moment by moment, the little picture and the big picture all at one time, just living it, not holding anything too tightly–that’s where the joy, success and sweetness of live really is, and where our dreams really come true. UPDATED 2/17/2022

At a Crossroads, White E'Etoile Tennis Dress

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