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Rated: E · Essay · Opinion · #2182343
Dreams do not come true just because you want them to.
People always say "if you want to achieve your dreams you have to picture them very clearly in your mind" and other things about "visualisation" and "positivity". Like it is some kind of magic trick or miracle. We are taught from our childhood that "the dream that you wish will come true", if you wish for it really, really hard.

But this is not a fairytale.

What if you know exactly where you want to go, but whatever you do you cannot find how to get there? How are you supposed to focus on that image of you when every attempt to get there has to be discarded, one way or another, until you run out of ideas? What if you can see it in your mind so neatly you can picture what you are wearing and what colour is the room and which flowers are in the vase, but you cannot bear to think about it for more than a few seconds?

Everyone of us has different expectations, that can range from losing weight, to becoming a singer, getting that promotion, or winning a competition. For me as for many other people, it's about the career.

We have to make one of the most important decisions in our life when we are still at school. We are supposed to reach adulthood when the vast majority of us still lives with their parents and has had no real experience of employment and financial independence. Many are emotionally unprepared to decide for themselves, and for sure I was one of them.
I'm not saying I was forced to choose my path, but I was feeling so dependent from my parents' opinion that I just went with their advice. Even if I did not feel the right person for that career, could not see myself in any kind of leading role, and knew for sure that I had serious difficulties coping with pressure. They told me "don't worry about that, you will learn along the way, you will be great" and I believed them.

Somehow I managed to achieve a specialist degree and start working, and little by little I realised how much this was going to cost me. I wanted to be finally free from exams and evaluations, and discovered that this was never going to happen and I would have been tested for all my life. I wanted to travel the world, and found out how long and painful and expensive it is to apply for a professional recognition every time you want to move. I loved to read and to listen to music and to bake cakes and to have dance classes one or two evenings a week, and to have a normal life, and all of this was being taken away from me because of study, shifts, and physical exhaustion. This became even more excruciating when I found a partner who actually shared my dreams, and instead of joining our forces to turn them into reality we were slowed down because of me.

By the age of 35, you are supposed to be well encased in your professional definition, whether you like it or not. You're too old to start anything else, because every other option implies having previous experience in the same field and more often than not a very specific official qualification. So I have been changing several times, tried all the options I had, and failed. Still trying anyway, but my natural skills have nothing to do with real, put-that-in-your-CV activities. I'm quite good at writing, quite good at cooking, quite good at singing, quite good at manual crafts such as sewing and drawing, but none of them is going to give me realistic expectations.
But you know what? Those skills are something. Even if none of them is good enough to have any sort of official recognition, at least they show the real me. Secondly, they are not good enough now, but what if I just put a bit more effort, a bit more purpose, and actually try to cultivate those skills instead of relegate them to absent-minded leisure time?

Sometimes it is more beneficial to stop obsessing over the One Big Dream and actually start walking towards the Small Secondary Goal. There is always something we can do to become who we truly are, to be a better version of ourselves, and for sure that is not limited to one single aspect. A good job position has its importance for many reasons, obviously, but I am so much more than I cannot accept to be defined by my employment status; on the contrary, career is something that can be affected, defined, and modified by who I am. Right now I am focusing on writing, learning a new foreign language, having regular exercise, and having a better care of my hair and my overall appearance. Even small, gradual results can remind us that we are in control, and that even when the road is not straight and flat we will eventually get there in the end. The steps may be so small they may look insignificant, but they are the little shiny tiles of a majestic mosaic.

Of course, we cannot control everything. There will always be a part of unpredictability that we have to take into account, as "life is full of surprises" and sometimes things just happen, but this is no excuse to adopt a passive approach and give up. As bad as things may go, there is always something we can do. The most important thing to keep in mind is that we need to stay true to ourselves and make our choices accordingly. If the price of success is having to wear a mask, that cannot be considered a success, it is just playing a part. Sooner or later we will have to abandon the show and admit that it was all a lie.

To sum everything up, the much advertised theory that if you focus intensely on what you want you will get it in the end, is only half true and can do more harm than benefit. It is surely important to define our need, be it a new job (as in my case) or anything else, in order to understand where we want to go and what we want to obtain; in other words to have a good strategy in mind. On the other hand, we cannot do without tactics, as we also need to find the appropriate means to get there. Putting too much emphasis on the first and not enough consideration on the second is only leading to failure, frustration, and guilt for "not trying hard enough". If the goal is too high, we should not be ashamed of setting many smaller achievements to encourage us; the important thing is to be ourselves always and actively deal with any unforeseen circumstances that may occur.

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