Ten years ago, I was about to get married. I was 23. I had just finished college, started my career in the mental health industry, and I was eager, enthusiastic, and excited about all the things I was I was going to conquer in my adult life. I had dreams, and nothing was going to stop me.
There's just something about being in your early twenties and hopefully looking ahead at your adult self. The dream of who you'll become is something like looking into a bakery window and spotting that perfect cupcake. It's robust, fluffy, colorful, and it offers so much goodness. So much sweetness. It's rich and flavorful. Your mouth waters just thinking of the hope of gobbling it up and making it yours.
And then you take all the steps to get into the bakery to acquire it, but there's a line. A massive one. As you're standing there, stuff starts to happen- the cash register breaks down. The lady in front is complaining to someone loudly on her phone and it's irritating. The guy behind you spills his coffee on your shoes. As you wait, it seems like everyone in front of you is walking out with their bakery items, smiles on their faces, and you wonder if your perfect cupcake will even be there when its your turn. You stand there for so long you wonder if you should just leave the line, and Hey! Doesn't that quiche look really good too? and What about a cup of coffee?
It is this way with acquiring your dreams too. There's a line and you must wait in it. There are substantial obstacles placed in your way while you move inch by inch, closer to your goals. When you face obstacles, you have a choice-- You can face them with grace and humility, allowing them to be a lesson in the many lessons to come, or get angry about them and allow them to defeat you. While you struggle and wait, time inevitably goes by, and you get distracted as well. You start to dream new dreams that might fill new needs as they arise. That cupcake you envisioned at the beginning of the journey-- the one that made your mouth water and seemed to be the only thing that mattered-- it may not look the same when you finally get to the end of the line. Maybe now you don't even want it to be the same anymore anyway.
Yes, this is a bit metaphoric, but as I have been processing all that Madison & Charity had to say during our Dream Chasing event last Saturday, I keep landing on seeing my own dreams as the cupcake-in-the-bakery scenario. I thought I knew what I wanted my life to be back when I started to have dreams of substance in my 20's, and I was determined to reach my goals. I encountered the long line ahead though, and as I met many obstacles along the way, I came to realize something--
My dream as I envisioned it might have been the end goal at first, but the line to reach that goal is where I actually live my life, and how I exist in that line matters more than acquiring the end goal anyway.
Both Madison & Charity talked a lot about this-- maybe not with the same metaphor-- but they did touch heavily on dreams changing, and that how you narrow down and acquire your dreams matters. Dreams can and will be peppered with a whole lot of getting over yourself, your fears, and your insecurities. To be honest, these have been my biggest obstacles as my dreams have morphed and moved over time, and I have started to chase new ones.
If you weren't able to be there last Saturday, take a listen to what Madison and Charity had to say about chasing dreams. Think about what your dreams are, (if you even know what they are right now! You may not and that's okay. Maybe you just haven't passed the right bakery yet!), and think about how you'll live out your values as you go chasing them.
These talks are honest, poignant, and actionable. No matter if you are at the beginning of your journey, staring into that bakery window, or in the middle or end of the line, riddled with obstacles. I have no doubt that their ideas and inspiration will spur you on and offer some insight into how to make your dreams a reality, or at least how to accept the line you're in and see how overcoming the obstacles in that line can become a dream in and of itself.
Keep dreaming, take a look at some of our pictures from the event below, and lets all go eat some cupcakes this week!
Thanks to Jenn Fortner for these lovely photos!