Sarah told me and It did not get out of my head
In November I met Sarah’s family, we spent Thanksgiving at her parents’ house in a town near Washington. After eating a lot, and to make room for dessert, we went for a walk to a forest that is just across the street. I am such a nature lover that I just thought “I love it, I want to live here and have this every day” and as we walked, I imagined stories of me running every day on the trails of that forest at sunset.
Earlier this week we celebrated that we could spend another Thanksgiving together at their parents’ house; talking about it I said “Did I tell you that your parents’ house, the place where you grew up, is my dream house? Nature everywhere, a river, a beautiful view of the forest and all in a safe area. Almost all my life I have lived in big and chaotic cities. Having a life in a place like your parents’ house is my dream!”
Sarah just answered, “You need to have bigger dreams,” with her sweet yet decisive voice and with a sustained and killing look. We laughed and kept working doing things for YLAI.
“You need to have bigger dreams.” It did not get out of my head and made me think of all the kind of dreams I’ve had, the big ones and the little ones. The dreams I have decided to make into goals. And the dreams that life has thrown in my lap, without me asking for them, have been evolved versions of my own dreams.
It also made me stop to analyze my current state, my twenty-something living in Washington, working in Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative, and I asked myself, “Am I living my dream?” I must confess that I always dreamed and worked to be part of something great to improve Latin America, but I never ever dreamed of this. I never dreamed of living in the United States, even one of the reasons I ended up with the boyfriend I loved so much was because I did not want to live in the USA. I never dreamed of working directly or indirectly for the government, much less for something that started as Obama’s White House Initiative, even being one of the people I most admire. I never dreamed that I could have so much happiness and blessings in my life at the same time. Never. And no, I am not living my dream, but what I am living is only an evolved and much happier version of what I have ever dreamed.
Sarah and her sentence also reminded me how many times I forced myself to dream bigger because of social or family pressure, because I was “born for that,” because “I have the talent and the contacts,” because “they were expecting nothing less from me.” And I remember all the times that I was frustrated, weeks with strong crisis of anxiety and depression simply because my dreams were not fulfilled, even if I worked a lot. My standards, and the standards that others had for me, were too much. They made me forget the present, forget to live happily with what I had in hand and always made me feel like “somethings missing”.
Am I the only one who has had this feeling of “something else is needed” even though everything in the present is perfect? I’m sure not. And here comes the reflection:
This year I have been living in the present, without allowing my dreams to overwhelm me, today I have more goals than dreams. Dreams are great, easy to imagine, easy to envy. They are free and occupy the mind in the future. Goals are not, goals are the present.
It’s okay to have dreams, and they probably sounds awe-inspiring when you talk to your friends, co-workers and your family about your big dreams, however, I prefer to have achievable goals in the medium term rather than dreams.
So choose a dream, break it into small goals, and take them to “life” one at a time. It is better.
Surely Sarah is right. I must have bigger dreams, we should all. But for now, living some day in a house with the tranquility of her parents’ house, as well as traveling to space, will be on my list of dreams. Everything else I want to move on to goals.