We all love to dream. As little girls, we dream of being famous ballerinas, or actresses, or writing books. Those dreams last with us into our teen years, as we imagine ways in which to make them a reality. It’s only as an adult that reality stuns us with the odds of our own potential success… and they are not good.
In that moment, we’re faced with a choice: to give up on our dream or to pursue it, knowing we have a one in a million chance of success.
Sometimes, it’s easy to give up on a dream, since it was never really part of us to begin with. But sometimes, it’s devastating to face the truth. If that dream has been our whole identity from childhood, it suddenly feels as if your life spins off its axis, and you are “No One.”
Recently, I’ve struggled a lot with that very thing. Nothing is comforting in those first few days of fleeting panic and sudden, total loss of identity. You sit and wonder, “What else could I possibly be?” and your mind flashes blank. You can’t imagine anything else. But if you are very fortunate, someone will come into your life and ask you, “If you could run any business, one of your very own, what would it be?” I didn’t even have to think about it—I just answered. It’s nothing I have ever done before, it has nothing to do with what I am best known for, but it shocked me how much joy I thought I would get from doing it.
My “big” dream isn’t gone, but it now has a rosy hue of reality around it. I know it’s probably impossible but if it happens I will be delighted (and terrified). But I’m creating other dreams for myself, more achievable dreams with higher odds of success. I think this is the key to happiness, not to put all of yourself into one dream, but to have many things you could do, or would like to do, in case your “epic” dream doesn’t happen for awhile (if ever). I also believe that God gives us ambitions and desires for a purpose, to use them, and takes them away from us if they are not what is best for us. After all, He knows what plans He has for us, right? So we can trust Him with our dreams.
I always thought I would be one thing, but it may be that I find more joy in another instead.