Don’t Let Your Dreams Die
If you’re reading this, that means you woke up today.
Unfortunately, some people didn’t.
There’s a reason why we woke up: We have unfinished business.
The universe has granted us another day, another chance to change our lives around, and another chance to go in the direction of our dreams.
That same dream you let your moms and your best friend talk you out of pursuing because they said, “Everyone wants to be a rapper/actor/fashion designer/ballplayer. What makes you any different?”
That same dream that folks at your job chuckle about anytime you mention your aspirations and reply with “you won’t find a better job than this with good pay and benefits.”
The same dream society brainwashed you into thinking was only for the extremely gifted, privileged, or wealthy.
I know it’s hard to silence the noise. You don’t know how many times I’ve let people talk me out of my dreams and allowed their fears to drown out that little voice in the back of my mind until I could no longer hear it. Questioning myself to the point where I’m not even living life how I wanted but living their version of my life. There was a period, in fact a 3-year span, that I stopped going after my dreams completely.
Yeah, I might have kept writing and designing, kept my ideas in a notebook whenever I felt inspired, but that was about it. I traded my dreams for theirs and got a cushy job working as an underwriter at a FinTech startup in San Francisco literally a 5 min walk from Union Square.
From my very first week there, I knew it wasn’t the right fit but I’m not one to give up. Besides, I needed a job and they needed an underwriter. When I told my mom about the position she was ecstatic, reminding me that she always wanted me to be an accountant and this was close, right?
For 3 years I was mesmerized by the glitz and glamour of working for the hottest startup in the city. I mean who didn’t want to work in the financial district? We were surrounded by skyscrapers and cafes on every corner. The smell of the ocean breeze from the ferry building would slap you in the face as you headed into the office and the rush of commuters in the morning would make the city come alive, moving at a rabbit’s pace.
“I traded my dreams for theirs and got a cushy job working as an underwriter at a FinTech startup in San Francisco literally a 5 min walk from Union Square.”
And then, inside the plush multiple floors of the office, there were hyped (and sweaty) ping pong matches taking place in the game room on one side of the office, a barista whipping up lattes and sandwiches on the rooftop, an indoor gym anytime you felt the need to let off some extra stress in between clients, and even a taproom where you could enjoy an ice-cold brew with your fellow coworkers to discuss life in finance. Add to that the pay, benefits, bonuses, and holiday parties, the average person would think that this job was a dream come true.
And it might very well be for them but it wasn’t for me.
On the outside, to my family and friends, I had hit the jackpot. However, I was slowly dying inside. I had given up on my dreams and focused all of my energy on my job. I worked countless hours of overtime and even chilled with the same coworkers I was with while in the trenches on nights and weekends. In many ways, that job was my life. I was at virtually every happy hour and every outside of work function the coworkers could scheme up on the weekend. I never missed a coworker’s birthday celebration, wedding, you name it. I became so engulfed in the work-life that I gave up my personal life. I became so committed to who my moms, best friends, and colleagues version of me that I buried who I wanted to be.
I was killing my own dreams and it took for me to be fired to realize it. I was stressed and unhappy and unsatisfied because I was unfulfilled in my life. I was doing the “right thing” for everyone else but not the right thing for me. I was going through the motions instead of going towards my purpose.
But I needed to go through this experience, along with being unemployed for 9 months.
That 9 months with no cubicle to go to and just moving from the bed to the couch and back to the bed gave me ample time to slow down and think. This time in isolation and self-inflicted quarantine led me to reconnect with my dreams and reconnect with my purpose. Sometimes we get so caught up in chasing a paycheck and pleasing others that we forget who we are.
It’s not easy to remember that before others had an opinion about you and your dreams, we had a purpose for ourselves. Ever since we were children we’ve had a dream. Whether it was to be an astronaut or the president of the United States, we were made to believe as kids that any dream is possible. However, when we become adults the same people who encourage us to dream big turn around and discourage us from following those big dreams. Why is that? Are they trying to convince us to let go of our dreams because someone convinced them of letting go of theirs?
At some point, someone has to be brave enough to break this cycle. Will it be you?
Looking back at the last few years, I’ve wasted a lot of time living someone else’s life. Please don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made. I chased job titles, paychecks, and material things to impress others while trying to fill a void in my life. I did nothing to invest in my dreams for 3 years. Instead, I invested in clothes, sneakers, watches, and bar tabs all while waking up everyday living someone else’s dream and not my own.
However, today I woke up with a dream. That dream is to become a successful writer, fashion designer, and entrepreneur. My purpose is to serve my community by teaching others how to become successful writers, fashion designers, and entrepreneurs. Don’t let anyone try to convince you it’s too late to go after your dreams.
We are only granted so much time on this planet and every day we wake up is another opportunity for us to reach our goal.
I know we have a lot of work, so let’s get to it. No matter how hard it gets we can’t let our dreams die.