Dream On, But Don’t Imagine They’ll All Come True

by Susan Pogorzelski on January 11, 2009 · 5 comments

You’ve got your passion, you’ve got your pride
but don’t you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true…

Billy Joel, “Vienna”


I’ve begun to realize that there might come a point in life where you stop living your life for others and start living for yourself. Maybe this is due to defiance, trying to prove something to yourself, to them…Or maybe this occurs through self-awareness, as you realize that only you alone can lead your life. But for whatever reason, there seems to be a change, where you stop trying to appease others, where you learn to lead your own life, where you realize that, while those you love may have led you this far, you have the means to carry yourself the rest of the way, wherever that might be.

This thought about what I want out of my life and how to get it is at the forefront today. Practicality and advice tell me to do one thing, while a passion and intuition tell me to do another.

There’s a balance there that I haven’t yet found. And so I find myself a bit torn, between that practicality and passion, between being a dreamer and a realist, and between being ever-grateful for what I have and longing for something more.

Like most of my generation, I grew up believing that anything was possible. While at times I’ve felt jaded, while my rose-colored glasses have faded, to be replaced by responsibility and, in a word, reality, I still believe this sentiment to be true. Anything is possible. It’s just getting there that’s the tough part.

I’ve had to take a hard look at what’s stopping me from achieving my dreams, and, in doing so, I’ve had to examine what it is I really want out of life. What would it mean if I could remove the guilt of wanting something greater, something more? What if I had nothing keeping me back, if I didn’t concern myself with others’ judgments or societal pressures?

If I were to be truly honest with myself, if I could strip away boundaries and convention and responsibility and realize my greatest desires, I would find myself taking chances, believing in possibility, and living a dream.

I would move to Europe, where I could explore culture and walk the streets of history. I would spend my days writing and connecting with other artists, helping fellow writers achieve their desired success. I would advocate on the behalf of animals, find peace and joy in having dogs constantly by my side. I would want to find the kind of love I’ve always been searching for; I would want to raise a family.

I would want to live each and every day feeling inspired and challenged and experiencing something new.

This is who I am. When I cut out everything else, I am a dreamer, a romantic. I don’t know why I ever thought I could be satisfied being anything else.

And I find that I don’t know how to settle for less.

Is this just a castle in the clouds, a dream not meant to be realized? Are dreams meant for longing; is reality meant for settling? Do we adjust our dreams so that we settle for some variation of it, always wanting that something more?

When it all comes down to it, I’ve placed those barriers in my own path, and only I can remove them. But it’s going to take courage and faith. And while I’m determined to make these dreams someday become my reality, sometimes I wonder if I have enough of both.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

aprilx January 16, 2009

I feel you. Absolutely.

I think the answer lies in strengthening our sense of self, which will, in turn, strengthen our courage and perhaps our faith, too.

I want to move to Germany. Visit the castles up and down the mountains, in the middle of lush forests… Walk around Berlin and master the German language. The present can get in the way because it can limit our imagination, our ambition, by making everything seem tougher.

I vote for hanging in there, not giving up, and slowly but surely working toward making those dreams a reality. I’m afraid that if I don’t, I will always regret it. Besides, there’s always time to go back home.

Aprilx – What a great, great comment — every word. I love how you write “the answer lies within strengthening our sense of self” because that echoes so beautifully with me. I can’t agree more that being self-aware, knowing and loving yourself, can make great things happen. Because I think with that confidence comes courage, and with courage, you can take chances. And when you take chances, dreams can be realized.

But how do you take that first step? Is having courage and being open to opportunity and chances everything? Or is there more that is stopping us; is life getting in the way? It’s a thought that I’m still so unsure of, and truly, you’re words have sparked something more that I’m questioning.

Thanks so much for your comments and thoughts. I hope that you’re able to follow your dream. – Susan


taniamccue January 16, 2009

Oh my goodness. I stumbled on this blog semi-randomly and honestly have to say, this is just what I needed to hear. I have long struggled with balancing the practical with that which I am passionate about. As a wife and mother, I often feel as though I have a lot of responsibility which extends beyond my desires. At the same time, I am young and have such a yearning to strip away the excess and get to the core of something I could be very passionate about- other than my family. The reality (sigh, that practical side again) is that with a baby and a husband I love, I won’t get to live my dream of joining the Peace Core and living a life of service for a long time.
My humble advice would be, if you are unencumbered enough to do what your heart desires, then do it. Because life offers no promises, and you never know which moment will be your last.

Tania – I wish so much that I had the answer to this. Truthfully, though, I’m more confused than ever. And sadly enough, I think that most of us are. It’s true that I have so many opportunities now, as I’m not attached to anything and can go for it. There’s a lot that’s holding me back, though, and I wonder if I don’t take a chance now, if I’ll lose that opportunity forever.

I can’t help but wonder if, as we grow older, old dreams are replaced with new ones. It seems like you’ve found happiness in your family; as someone who doesn’t have that yet, I wonder if it would be enough, or if your dreams change to fit your circumstances.

At any rate, I very much appreciate your comments and I hope, whatever your dream, that that may be realized someday. All the best, Susan


James January 19, 2009

What a lovely post.

“What if I had nothing keeping me back, if I didn’t concern myself with others’ judgments or societal pressures?” I wonder the same thing too. How would people differ, if they did what they truly wanted to do, all of the time.

James – Thanks so much for your comment. I always find it amazing at how people are facing the same situations and questions, yet we don’t know it. What would the world be like if we didn’t hold ourselves back? Would a dream still be a dream if it were so readily accessible? These are all questions I’ve had to ask myself as I wonder if my own dream is one worth fighting for.

I always answer yes. Wishing you well, Susan


Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills January 19, 2009

What a beautiful post. Please believe me Susan, compromise is not the answer. I know that many will say “that’s reality,” and for then it’s true, but that does not need to be your reality. Instead of compromising, how about harmonizing? Once you fully discover your true self, including your deepest passions, empowering and limiting beliefs, and personal values – the next step is to create internal harmony. This is the place from which dreams and passions naturally become part of our reality. When there is internal conflict, then compromise becomes the only option. Living in harmony with who you really are, on a core level, opens up new and exciting options. Love your blog, your honesty really shines.

Jonathan – Thank you so much for your words. I use this blog as an outlet for myself, to sort out my feelings, which are always subject to change. One day I have confidence in myself and my dreams, I know how to find and practice that balance, I have the courage to pursue what I’m looking for. The next day is filled with uncertainty, hesitation, and trepidation. I can only sort through those emotions by being honest with myself, and I can only hope that someone can relate to what I’m going through on some level, so that we can learn from each other.

Thank you for all of your advice. I think once I truly find peace with myself is when I can be open to the possibility of everything else. Getting there is a rocky road, but I’m eager to reach the destination. Thanks once again, and best wishes. – Susan


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