Hey, good to see you!
Today, I’d like to start by asking you four questions:
What dreams do you dream of realising in your life?
What’s the main reason you haven’t already gone after them?
What dreams did you have that you’ve already realised?
And, how did you go about doing that?
It’s funny how the brain works, isn’t it? How a single sensory stimulus (like a smell, a taste, a sight or a sound, for example) can lead to a thought that, in turn, can lead you to a time or place far away from where you intended to be?
That’s exactly what happened to me earlier today.
I was lying here in my bed, working on this subdomain that’s going to house my personal blog, when a quote from auteur extraordinaire, former Swedish Academy member, Lars Forsell, caught my eye:
“Most girls wouldn’t dream of doing the things they dream of doing.”
Wow! And just like that, me ole watch and chain  had whisked me off to a place far removed from the kind of pesky ship builder’s issues, like uncooperative domain name servers, I was supposed to be focusing on.
My thoughts had wandered down a completely different track…
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It was almost like a dream, and it made me think of the dreams I once dreamed of and where they led me. Or maybe, more precisely, how they eventually brought me to this point right here.
What dreams did you dream as a child? Do you remember?
Me, I was a master escapist and so good at dreaming, in fact, that I often struggled to tell the difference between my dreams and reality. And not without good reason, I might add.
WHAT DREAMS DID YOU DREAM OF AS A CHILD?
Do you remember what you used to dream your life as an adult would be like?
From my vantage point, reality, by and large, seemed to be a rather horrific (not to mention entirely incomprehensible) place. But the beauty of my dreams was that, in there, the world could be whatever I wanted it to be.
It could be a beautiful painting, boldly positioned on an antique yew tripod. Or a handmade sheet of paper, perfectly fed around the platen of an old Remington typewriter. Naturally, in my dreams, I was the Artist. Or the Journalist (they were way cooler than authors in my books). I was the main character who had everything nailed down and under control. Nothing could phase me in my world. No one could hurt me.
With my paintbrush, I painted the world as it ought to be. With my fingers, I tapped out interpersonal relationships and dialogues, far more interesting than any I had experienced. I solved conflicts and allowed my characters to grow their wings, and soar on the skies of life in whatever direction the wind took them. My heroines were complex characters with dreams and aspirations, and they were fully capable of making their dreams come true. They didn’t need rescuing, but they enjoyed the company of pretty princes, kickass princess knights and supernatural guardians.
It was marvellous!
My life as a worldbuilding storyteller, or perhaps I should say storymaker (as I rarely shared my creations with anyone), went on for years. As time passed by, and my skills grew, I built ever more elaborate and fantastical worlds. Interestingly, they all revolved around the same four ingredients:
- My grandmother (the salt of my earth);
- A horse (or two) to ride;
- A big dog for companionship and protection (most often a whole pack of them to be honest); and
- A red curtained, strategically positioned stage for my performances. Because, duh!, of course there has to be a stage.
These four constants, I believed, were fundamental to my very existence as, without them, and of this I was certain, my world would be void of magic, mission and meaning.
WHAT KIND OF WORLD HAVE WE BUILT FOR OUR KIDS?
Lily James sings A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes in Walt Disney’s Cinderella from 2015.
The song was written and composed by Mack David, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston in 1949.
Unfortunately, for all of us, the world we live in today is not one of my creations. And I know this much to be true, because I have no Nan, no horse and no red-curtained stage. I do have a doggo, but she’s a scrawny little kangarottercat and not much to hold on to when the thunderstorms roll in. But what’s worse is that the magic that, in spite of everything, actually can be found here is something only a select few ever get to experience.
I can’t believe we have built a world where only a fraction of the population is allowed to dream! Provided they have the sense to dream the right kind of dreams, that is.
Fancy a world where any Tom, Dick and Harry were dreamers? And, shock horror, had the audacity to believe in their dreams? Nu-uh, we can’t have any of that! In this weird world, we’ve all been pigeonholed into a structure where some of us, i.e. the ones who have been sorted into the top layer, may take any liberties they want. These people are, almost exclusively, rich old(er) white men. And it’s only a certain type of young boy who can even dream of securing a seat at their table.
Underneath this structure, we find the bottom feeders. Predominantly non-white non-men with some kind of irreparable flaw in the eyes of our coldhearted society. The rest of us have been allocated our slots based on some complicated scrutiny process which, in turn, is based on the (often) unspoken, beliefs and values we hold as a society.
The chief deciding factors for which hole you’re allocated are the answers to questions like: Who are you? Where are you from? Who are your parents? Then you’re weighed and measured against other such life-defining variables as your gender, education, potential (job)titles, the size of your bank vault and the weight of your assets. And that’s only the first stage of this algorithm that, in case I didn’t make that clear enough earlier, is based on the presumption that you’re white.
But, as per usual, the devil is in the detail.
It’s in its second stage this system really shows its true colours. That’s where you can tell what kind of world we have built for our children to live in. And what kind of value base we have built it on.
DO YOU DARE TO LIVE YOUR DREAM?
Karen Carpenter sings Bless the Beasts and the Children from the eponymous film.
The song was written and composed by Barry De Vorzon and Perry L Botkin in 1971.
There are people in this world who will tell you that dreamers are weird. They’ll say that dreaming is pointless and that we should all just accept our lot. Unless we belong to the upper echelons, of course, and have the decency to dream of realistic things like hedge funds, tax havens and stock markets.
When I hear people talk about “today’s society,” it seems to me they’re suggesting this is something new. That there was a time in our past when we were all happy and satisfied with the way things were here on this windswept little island. A time when we all banded together in the morning to fight off the French, before hitting the pub where we’d be merrily swigging a pint and munching on a portion of chips.
These people are either not very well-read, or completely unaware of their privileges. Or, perhaps, just prone to handling the truth with reckless abandon.
This brings me back to our Swedish wordsmith’s perceptive comment about girls and their dreams. But before we go there, let me just explain that Mr Forsell’s writing days were long gone by the time the world woke up to the notion that the noun ‘girl’ could have a deeper and more complex meaning than its grammatical function in a poem. Now, we have no way of knowing whether Forsell would have chosen his words differently, had he penned this piece today; but it doesn’t really matter. His core message is still valid:
We do live in a world where some people are considered better, or more refined, than others. A world where girls are restrained by arbitrary rules and norms, while boys are encouraged to pursue their goals. Provided they are “proper” masculine goals, that is. And no, that’s not to say that it’s illegal to break the mould and go your own way. And no, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t places where things are worse, or that boys aren’t trampled in this system too. It just means that, no matter what some people would have you believe, this world is far from equal.
Here, for instance, some people cruise through the currents of life on a private yacht, while others can’t even cut through the red tape surrounding their pigeon holes. Here, most people wouldn’t dream of doing all the things they dream of. I find that thought truly disheartening.
This blog, the one I’ve named All of Me, where I’ll be sharing personal stuff and talking about the things that shaped me, and turned me into the person I am today, is the result of a dream. And, at the same time, it is an attempt to reach out to you and encourage you to dream too. To break free from the bonds, norms or contracts that are chafing and suffocating you right now.
If I could give you but one gift in this life, I’d give you freedom from guilt  and bitterness. And if I could squeeze another one in there, I’d make you see that discovering your authentic self, and the world around you, may be far more important than “becoming” something. Or someones.
I believe that, deep down, we’re all dreamers. All of us. Yes, indeed, every single person in every single part of the world. But I also believe that, for most of us, our dreams remain just that. Dreams. Not even those among us who consider their dreams to be aspirations seem to be particularly successful in living their dreams, and reaching their goals.
The truth is, our world is like a recycling centre full of broken, lost and forgotten, dreams and mojos; and I think it’s high time we do something about that. We need to talk about our dreams. And we need to start handing out blueprints to show people how you can go about realising them. It’s not half as complicated as you may believe.
IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING (BUT MIRACLES TAKE TIME)
Have you ever considered how much better your life could be – and how much better you would feel – if you dared to dream bigger and aim higher? While I was working, I created the programme modules Personal and Professional Development for adults and Life Skills for teenagers. Both courses focused on personal growth, which included how to deal with your dreams and set realistic goals.
What do you think the most common answer to the second question I asked at the very beginning of this post is? (In case you’ve forgotten, it was: What is the main reason you haven’t already gone after [your dreams]?)
The answer is:
– It’s impossible!
Initially, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it, but as I began to dig into research on the subject, I learned that this is one of the most common “excuses” people have when it comes to goal-setting. They literally talk themselves out of options, and spend more time obsessing over what’s impossible than looking for ways to make it possible.
– But how could I?!
– But what would my [mum, dad, grandma, grandpa, kids, grandkids, neighbours, colleagues, mates, dog, cat etc] say?
– It’s too hard
– It’s impossible!
– It can’t be done!
– No one could pull that off!
It’s about time we cut the prefix “im-” off and start considering what would be possible if we allowed ourselves to follow our dreams. Can you even begin to imagine what this world would be like if every single person throughout history had allowed themselves to be held back by all these negative voices?
Imagine no inventions, no research, and no discoveries.
No phones, no vaccines, no light bulbs, no internet. No Tesla, no education, no surgery, no travel. No cultural exchange, no gadgets, no heating/plumbing, no cars. And no books, magazines or newspapers. Not even the smallest pamphlet to feast your eyes on.
All of these things are, after all, the results of people having an idea, a dream, and the guts to go after it. No matter how many times the naysayers told them it was impossible. That they were stupid. And that they would be the laughing stock of their community, or country as it were in some cases, if they persisted with their foolishness.
At some point, the people behind all the inventions and science we have access to today had to step up and prove that what was widely perceived as impossible was, in fact, possible. But even that wasn’t necessarily enough for the doubters and foil hatters to concede and admit that they’d been wrong.
I will never forget, for example, how the internet and computers were frowned upon by a large portion of the people back in the day. Today, most of them are practically glued to the mini-computer with all-day internet access they carry around in their pocket; and they get very defensive if you ask them to put it down.
I also remember how people said it was “scientifically proven” that bumblebees couldn’t fly. Or shouldn’t be able to. That it somehow was a violation of the laws of thermodynamics or some such nonsense. “Anyone could see” was a common case in point reference “that its body was far too large for those tiny wings to carry.”
Luckily, bumblebees can neither read nor do they give a toss about human gobble-dee-gook, so they just ignored the stoopid hoomins and kept buzzing around on their tiny wings. Getting on with their days. And, as it turned out, science could explain how this was possible.
SO, WHAT DREAMS DO YOU DREAM OF?
If you allow other people’s opinions, or, indeed, your own doubts, to decide what is possible for you, chances are you’ll never realise your dreams. The principle behind this is pretty simple: If you continue to do things the way you’ve always done them, nothing will ever change. But if you decide that change is what you want, you can turn your life around. Provided that you’re prepared to do things differently from now on, and change the way you think about yourself and your situation.
First of all, you need to be brave (or honest) enough to identify the dream. To write it down and (at some point) tell other people about it. Do you know what it is you dream of? Is it smaller treats like a pair of shoes, a piercing/tattoo or a holiday? Or are you dreaming of bigger, life-changing things like a new career, moving abroad or starting a business?
For some people, each of these suggestions may seem as likely as a trip to the moon. This could be down to factors such as poverty, access to education or lack of positive role models; making even the smallest of dreams seem unattainable. But even rich people with fancy degrees and plenty of role models in their lives can feel trapped and unable to go after their dreams. The reason why people don’t live their dreams has very little to do with access to resources or any other tangible variables.
Dreams don’t die because they were impossible to achieve, they die because dreamers are looking for instant gratification.
They want it all and they want it now. And they fall for the temptation of getting what they want right now over what they truly desire. The concept of reframing a dream and turning it into a project, an adventure or a longer journey is alien to them.
Yet, when you break it down into its smallest parts, living your dream is actually not all that difficult. In fact, the process is so simple that I can set you off on your own chartered course towards the life of your dreams right this minute.
STEP 1: Grab a pen and a piece of paper (or a new word-document) and start making a list, or a picture, of what your dream entails. What do you want to get? Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? No matter what you’re dreaming of, I want you to picture this dream as the goal. This is your destination. The place you’re going to.
STEP 2: Now, you map out the roads you want to take to get to your destination. What would you prefer? And what do your circumstances necessitate? Is it the shortest possible distance and price tags be damned? Is it the cheapest possible way, no matter how long it’ll take or how uncomfortable it may get? Or would you like to set off on the route that offers the most bang for your buck in terms of adventures, experiences and sightseeing? There are loads of choices to make and decisions to take here, but the good news is that not all of them need to be dealt with today. As long as you have a tentative route and timeline sorted, you’re good to go. This is your route and your travel plan. The map that will lead you to your destination.
STEP 3: Every day, from this day forward, you will look at your map and take one or more baby steps in the right direction. And you have to start today – not tomorrow or on Monday – or you’ll never get around to it. Over the first few days, or weeks, this might entail more planning and prepping. Ironing out details. Googling for information. Weighing up pros and cons. Setting up a dedicated workspace. You’ll probably need to revisit your travel plans and update them to make sure they reflect your stated goal and purpose. But with each passing day, you will soon find that you are getting closer to your destination and further away from where you started. This is your journey. The trip you’re taking from Point A, where you started, to Point B where your destination is.
Congratulations, your adventure has begun! (Provided you actually followed steps 1 to 3, that is.)
Do you think I’m trying to simplify the process of living your dream and make it sound a lot easier than it seems? Well, that’s because I am doing just that. And because it is. All you really need to get started is a little bit of time (from a few minutes to a couple of days depending on the size and scope of your dream), and something portable where you can write your plans down. And yes, you do have to write them down!
Plans that only exist in your head are called dreams for a reason.
So, what do we have here? Is your route looking too long? Break it down into a number of shorter distances and turn them into separate achievements. Make sure you have clearly defined milestones to reach and ways to celebrate reaching them. (But not with something you can eat or drink!) Plan for special events and activities that will help you stay motivated. Devise strategies for how to visualise your success, and choose a tracking system to help you see just how far you have come.
Most of us are visual beings and we tend to believe in what we can see. This is why it’s so important to write down, or draw, your dream somewhere easily accessible. Why surrounding yourself with things that remind you of your dream and where it is taking you is so important. Why you need to map out your route and write down your plans and goals, so you can keep an eye on them and make sure you don’t go off track. And it’s the reason why you need to track your progress. Being able to see both how far you have come and how much closer to the goal you are getting is imperative to keep you on the bandwagon for the duration.
No, I never said the journey would be easy. And I never said it could be done in a day. But I am telling you that you too can live your dream and you can start doing so today. Here and now.
Living your dream, if you ask me, is very much a question of being able to look at the whole process as a part of your dream. This is also a matter of reframing your brain. Neither Rome, nor the pyramids, were built in a day. There is, in fact, very little evidence suggesting that anything truly valuable can be achieved “in the blink of an eye.” But with proper planning and daily baby steps, miracles can be accomplished. And there is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy each step of the way.
My goal with this space is to show you that dreams do come true and that change is possible. To show you how you too can change your life and start living your dream.
My dream is to embrace, encourage and embolden you to live your life to the fullest; and to go after those dreams you haven’t allowed yourself to dream of yet.
My hope is that this will become a place where you can find inspiration to acknowledge your dreams, and motivation to start working towards achieving them.
In this blog, I will continue to share my own experiences, from formidable fuck-ups to marvellous miracles. In the Greenhousee, my coaching cabin, I will be sharing the knowledge, and all the tips, tricks and tools I’ve collected over the years with you. I’ll share blueprints and roadmaps, and we’ll talk about different ways to go about reaching your goals and making better decisions for yourself.
And, on that note, I guess it’s time for me to make a better decision for myself and go get some sleep so I can come back and tell you, exactly, what The Resilience is. And what my last big adventure entails. Watch this space. =)
Thank you very much for stopping by today!
© Evalena Styf, 2022
- Watch and chain is Cockney rhyming slang for brain
- Freedom from guilt applies to almost all people. For some, a little bit of guilt, would clearly be a good thing…
MEET THE AUTHOR:
After 25+ years of anonymous blogging on a variety of free platforms, I decided to go pro and put all of my writings on a private wall. In this personal blog, I primarily write about my life; about living the dream; and about how to keep on living and loving when everything seems to be falling apart.
My ambition is for All of Me to become a source of inspiration, motivation, joy, lust and love; but I would also like to see this blog become a space where we can talk, teach each other and learn together. I’ll be lifting a wide range of topics that matter to me e.g. funkophobia, social exclusion, chafing societal norms, mental & physical health issues, racism, poverty, identity, creativity, sexuality, nerdiness, my zest for Life and the longing for death.
FINISHED READING? WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO NEXT?
QUESTION OF THE DAY:
After each text I post, I tend to ask you a question or two to get us talking. Today, I have no less than four questions about living your dreams:
- What are you dreaming of?
- What’s holding you back from pursuing your dream(s)?
- Have you ever realised one of your dreams?
- How did you do it?
Please, leave your answer in the comment section below. If you don’t want your response to show up on the site, just start your message with the word ANONYMOUS and it will be our secret.
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