You're Supposed To Have The Life You Dream About
This essay first appeared in my newsletter, The Weekly Pep Talk. If you’d like to subscribe for a big old dose of positivity in your inbox every Sunday, you can sign up here.
What would your life look like if you could design it from scratch? If money was no object, and those societal rules you’ve always adhered to didn’t exist? What would you spend your days doing if your decisions didn’t affect anybody else, or you didn’t need a qualification to get started?
I’d give a guess that for most of you, your dream life probably looks a bit different to your life right now. Maybe you dream about doing more creative work, or work that has more of an impact on the world. Maybe you dream about having a big family, and being able to build your life around them. Perhaps you’ve always dreamt about quitting your job and travelling the world, or setting up a new life in a different place.
I’d also guess that once upon a time, you felt like those dreams were attainable. You might have been a teenager the last time you felt that way, or maybe even a kid with a big imagination. But I bet that there was once a time when you were absolutely certain that you’d be a published author, or a museum curator, or a travel writer, or the owner of a bookshop.
You might have been told by somebody that those dreams were unachievable, that they needed to be replaced with a safer and more suitable option. Perhaps it was a teacher steering you onto a new path, or even a well meaning parent who thought they had your best interests at heart.
Or maybe the thing that’s been holding you back from pursuing those dreams is the little voice inside your head. The voice that says things like “people like me don’t get to live their lives that way” or “sure, go off and follow your creative dreams, but who will pay the bills while you’re doing that?”.
It’s the voice that sounds well meaning and sensible, the voice that tries its very best to keep you safe. But that voice isn’t the voice of safety and success, it’s the voice of fear. And it will do everything it can to keep you small, and scared, and running in the opposite direction of every opportunity that might take you one step closer to your dream life.
So, today I’m here to tell you what I know to be true: you’re supposed to have the life you dream about. Even if it feels scary, and intimidating, and nigh on impossible, you’re allowed to pursue those dreams. You’re worthy of whatever it is that would make your life feel bigger, and better, and more fulfilling.
Sure, you might not be able to get there overnight. Sure, you’ve still got those bills to pay and mouths to feed. But that’s not reason enough to hang up your dreams and lock them away in a cupboard. Keep working on them, even if it feels like you’re taking baby steps while everyone around you is making leaps. Keep nurturing them, and checking in on them, and making commitments to your dreams.
And everytime you see somebody else living that life you’ve always dreamed of? Know, wholeheartedly, that you can get there too, no matter what that little voice in your head tells you.