There is strange pain associated with letting go of your dream, but then there is another one that stings more, knowing that it wasn’t really what you wanted.
I am that point in my life where I value nothing more than the truth, but also the point where I have realised that reality is a subjective mf. I could say it’s painful to imagine that I won’t be a researcher anymore when that’s what I dreamt of being my whole life, but in reality, I dreamt of being a journalist my entire life, or a writer, or a million other things. The problem is, when you start growing accustomed to your “personality shopping” side (when you’re continually looking for a new identity), you realise everything that you wanted to do was just a neat little way of fitting into a narrative, any narrative!
How have I spent my whole life looking ahead, living in a million versions of reality and have a thousand perfect ideas about what is it like to be one of these future selves of myself?
I have to realise that being a prof in fancy university wouldn’t be like living in a tiny wooden house coming back to a campfire and inviting your colleagues for a glass of wine to discuss next brilliant idea. Neither is being a writer going to resemble late twentieth century where you’re sitting in your London apartment in isolation, just typing away your incredible thought as the rain is pouring outside and you have a cup of tea in your hand. Journalism isn’t going to be a noble pursuit of revelling truth and chasing after an untold, yet an exciting story.
I have to first, before everything else, come to terms with the fact that I would never do something to change the world, or be known by everyone, or make a difference. I will never make a huge splash, at the very least I’ll be the stone that comes in contact with the waves created by someone else’s splash. Witness it. Admire it. Know that at least in this lifetime, I can’t be it.
Only when I realise that, when I stop chasing fantasies, I will understand what I can genuinely do. When I start thinking more about doing, contributing, working, and learning instead of imagining a narrative to fit into, I will grow into someone I can respect. I believe there is a point in everyone’s life when they have to let go of this self-hate, where they have to let go of this idealistic version of themself that they will never be able to achieve. It’s good to have ambition; it’s terrible to have goals that you know you can’t reach; the worse is when you have that ambition because you know you can’t achieve it. It’s almost like you’re a masochist.
You chase after failure because you’ve been brought up to hate yourself. Someone convinced you that you’re the reason their world is miserable and you’ve been punishing yourself ever since. It’s a slow death, but now you’ve decided to live?
I am not asking you to kill your dreams; I am just saying you don’t chase them because you want to feel the pain of not achieving them.