The #1 theme of motivational quotes all over the internet and social media is an endless variety of Follow Your Dreams. There is an enormous amount of information on why we should, but not too much is said about the price.
Taking a leap of faith to pursue a dream can be a lonely journey. You start out with excitement and the adrenaline propels you forward. You become razor focused and sometimes put blinders on to fade out the distractions. Once you start on this course, it can take on a life of its own. That is not a bad thing. Channeling energy into one purpose yields results, but it leaves other pursuits with little or no energy to thrive. You watch as certain parts of your life pass by or begin to fade and then the doubt slowly surfaces.
So what are the dues paid to the Keeper O’ The Dreams?
The obvious one is MONEY. Few dreams are handed out free of charge. The bankers call it an investment, but regardless of the label attached to it, it is still funds, moolah, dough; and that means there is less for pre-dream activities you once participated in. Of course, the idea is for the investment to pay off down the road and money restored or even made, but my personal belief is a dream only pursued for money is a hollow dream. If a payout is the end game, you will never know if the dream was realized, because there will never be enough money to satisfy that curiosity.
The next cost is TIME. In addition to having less money for the extra-curricular activities you enjoy, there is less time with which to enjoy them. That’s not to say the pursuit of a dream is not fun because it is and should be; but it is a more personalized kind of fulfillment. There is satisfaction in the progress, but there will be moments when you miss your free time. Free time is at a premium when chasing a dream as it takes long hours and dedication. Sleep is sacrificed and chores or obligations re-prioritized to carve out just a few more minutes each day. It does make you appreciate time, however, and the fleeting swiftness of it all. Whether you are working towards a goal, or just working at being you, make the most of every day, never taking one for granted. Put positive energy into whatever you choose to do and go to bed at night fulfilled and content.
What about FRIENDS? This may be the highest toll in my opinion. Once you decide to truly take steps towards a dream or a goal, you make those steps alone. Your friends and family may support and encourage you, but you have to understand it is not their dream, it is yours. They may not share the same passion and enthusiasm as you do because they have their own castle to build. As you devote time, energies and resources into your aspirations, you have less to pour into a social life. The world keeps spinning, but your world is smaller and oftentimes you watch the lives of others move forward from a distance without your participation. You wonder if you are trying too hard or if the sacrifice is worth those lost connections and memories. That’s a hard one, and some of the responsibility is on you. You cannot simply cut yourself off from your pre-dream-chasing life and expect to remain relevant there. Dreams are important, but so are friends and emotional connections. You have to maintain a balance. Of course, there may be those fair-weather friends that will not try as hard and will fade away, but your true friends will stay the course with you. I do believe it is difficult for some to watch others pursue their dreams for a variety of their own personal reasons. Your circle of friends may end up being smaller, but if you maintain your friendships with care and love, that circle will become stronger.
And finally, there is the EMOTIONAL toll. I mentioned earlier that at some point the doubt will creep in. The lack of sleep, limited free time, lost connections and even financial concerns all compound until one day you stop in your tracks and consider quitting. The thoughts sound like, “What was I thinking?” and “Why put myself through all this?”. You begin to consider that you may fail and will regret all the wasted time and energy. You struggle because you don’t want to quit, no one ever wants to quit, but there are moments when it seems life would just be easier to do so. We are all guilty of moments of just wanting ‘easy’. Please don’t quit my friend. I cannot promise success or the gold at the end of the rainbow. You may fail if by fail, you mean every goal was not met, but I would like to suggest that is not a failure. Failure would be to not take the first step; anything after step two is a victory and progress.
The bottom line for me is this; I wholly and completely encourage anyone and everyone to pursue, chase, follow or even create their dreams or passions. Dreams come in all sizes and scopes. No one should ever minimalize what you choose to go for in this life. My advice is to be smart, diligent and patient. Be thoughtful in decisions and deliberate in actions. Have a healthy dose of reality and an extra dose of courage. And also understand, that just as with freedom, or any other worthwhile and important achievement, there is a price and there is sacrifice. Both are worth it. The peace in your heart that you stepped off the sideline and into the game, giving it your best shot, is a feeling that time or money cannot create. Even if the game does not exactly turn out the way you want it, you still played it.
That my dear friends is PRICELESS.
Hope With Abandon