This is what they don’t tell you about following your dreams.
Following your dreams is so much more than networking and pulling all nighters. Following your dreams is doubt. It is doubting yourself and doubting the one thing you thought you believed in because of how difficult it can be at times. Following your dreams is not knowing the outcome of your risks, it is not knowing the way things are going to turn out, and while it is easy to sensationalize listening to your heart, and pursuing the one thing you feel called to pursue, at times following your heart isn’t always going to be a positive experience. It will consist of confusion, and risk, and delving into unknowns, and with that territory comes with fear and hesitation in your journey and yourself.
When you follow your dreams you do things differently. In a world where society normalizes a certain kind of stable journey, in a world where most people in your generation are pursuing “acceptable” careers and taking the steps to check off degrees, and buy houses, and get engaged — when you follow your dreams you are the person who goes against the status quo. Whether that means you drop out of University, or you focus on creating your empire instead of focusing on finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you have to be okay with that. It isn’t easy to be the person who is unlike the others, it isn’t easy seeing all of the different kinds of journies your peers are on and feeling as if you are in a completely different lane. Embrace the different lane. Let it motivate you. It is those who innovate, it is those who do things outside of the boundaries of what is normal and expected, that change the world. You have to remind yourself of this.
When it comes to following your dreams, you have to understand that it is so much more than quitting your day job and padding your life with freedom. Some of the greatest creatives and innovators in the world had day jobs. Henry Miller was a copywriter, and he hated it. But he did it because he knew that the security that came from a job allowed for him to pay for his apartment, and his food, and the writing utensils he used to pen his first novels. Maya Angelou was a cable car conductor. Vonnegut was a taxi driver. All of these greats did what they had to do in order to support themselves, in order to feel like they could take risks without completely disrupting their lives, and that allowed for them to truly pursue their art and their dreams without feeling like everything was riding on their pursuits being fruitful right away.
Because that’s the thing — when you follow your dreams you will fail along the way. There is absolutely no denying that, and there is no way to fix that or change that or make it so that rejection isn’t a main component of turning your passion and your heart into your reality. When it comes to following your dreams you will take five steps forward, and ten steps back. You will learn and you will have to unlearn. You will be met with small, joyous wins, and you will be met with devastating curveballs that will throw you off your path. Life will happen to you. It will weather you. But it will never defeat you. You just have to keep pushing forward. You just have to know your purpose, and believe in it with ruthless conviction. You have to be your biggest fan, even when it is difficult, even when you feel like you’re not a shining example of success. You have to keep going.
So keep going. Keep going and remind yourself that there will never be a perfect time to do things differently, or to pursue something that genuinely scares you. There will never be an “aha” moment where the sky parts and beams of light shine through and you are suddenly living the life you always dreamed of. No, following your passion doesn’t work like that. You do the hard things. You break and you rebuild. You find your resilience. You roll with every circumstance that comes up for you. You move forward. You push towards the person you want to be, and the life you want to live, because while following your dreams is tough — you will always be tougher.