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Why Following Your Dreams Isn’t As Easy As It Seems

Follow your dreams, follow your passion, do what you love – are all constant refrains that seem to drive our generation of millennials. It’s literally everywhere you look. If you do what you love, you never have to work another day, is another statement that people LOVE to throw around at get togethers, hangouts and such. It’s like, if you don’t do what you love, but instead love what you do, however mundane or prosaic it is, you’re doing a YUGE disservice to yourself, BIGLY!

But you know what? Not everyone is fortunate enough to follow their dreams, their passions. It’s so easy to pass judgment on those who can’t or won’t or don’t, because maybe you were fortunate enough to do so. There are so many hurdles, obstacles – real or imagined – that hold you back from going after what you really care about.

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Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Since I’ve become quite weary of listening to people pass judgment on those who can’t, don’t, or won’t follow their dreams, I’d like to address the various scenarios that make it NOT possible to follow your dreams.

Suggested read: Why an ‘okay’ day isn’t always what it seems for someone with depression

When you don’t know what your passion is

This is more common than you might think. You’ve been raised in a certain kind of environment, where your parents spoon-fed every little thing, or left you to your own devices. You kind of leaned towards one thing growing up – probably a direct consequence of what your parents wanted you to pursue, or something you took a fancy to at that point in life. However, as you leave behind adolescence and teenage, and enter the increasingly complicated adulthood, you have no idea what you want to be – now that you’ve actually become a grown-up.

You start to think you should’ve given the question, what you want to be when you grow up, a little more thought. This is where you actually deal with it like a grown-up, and figure it out for yourself the hard way – by trying various things and finding your passion. However, you might also want to get yourself mentally prepared for the possibility of never finding what your passion is. Hey, I’m not being pessimistic, but it has been known to happen – more than enough times. It’s nothing you did or didn’t do, it’s just the way life unfolds for some people. They’re destined to go through life without ever having figured out what their passion is.

When you can’t follow your dreams

I think most people fall into this category – where, for whatever reason, they can’t follow their dreams, despite having a clear idea of what their passion is. These reasons may range anywhere from family commitments to personal issues – mental, physical, emotional, or intellectual, to even societal hindrances from following their passions.

Family commitments – you have a family that needs looking after, so you get the first job that pays you and work hard. You start off in your new job, thinking that you’ll get to a point in your life – hopefully in the near future – where you will get all the time you want to follow your dreams. You’re looking at the near future, rather than far into the future, and shove your dreams to the back burner, to be addressed at an undefined later date. But guess what, more often than not, you won’t get to that point where you can actually follow your passions – guilt-free, commitment-free, because there will almost always be something that needs you to be ‘practical,’ and shove your dreams to the back of your mind. And there are even some people who are perseverant enough to follow through with the promises they made to themselves and actually follow their dreams. But these form a minuscule percentage of people.

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Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

When your dreams aren’t practical enough

So you know what you want to do in life, you’ve figured yourself out and know what your true passions and dreams are. You even know what your end state is going to look like, the ideal state you’d like to live in. However, your dream, your passion, isn’t just practical enough. It’s not something that you could make into a career that pays your bills. You see, being a responsible adult who works, pays their bills, lives an independent life, is more important than actually following your dreams.

I’m not a pessimist, but a realist, who understands the practicalities of life. Think about it for a minute – if you have a dream that just isn’t practical enough for you to live off of, then it’s not going to cut it. You can’t survive on air (or passion) alone. However much you want to deny it to yourself, you need money to survive in this world. In fact, money makes it go round and round – sometimes even more than love and/or hope. That’s the cold, hard reality of life.

However, there is a workaround for this conundrum. It need not have to be all or nothing. You can have a job that pays the bills, while you follow your dreams on your own time, pursue it for the sheer joy and happiness it brings you. Trust me, it’s worth it. Don’t give up on your dreams, however impractical or improbable they might seem in the cold light of the day.

Suggested read: The power of saying NO: Why I say YES, even though I really want to say NO

When you shove them for more interesting pursuits

This category comprises a surprisingly large number of people. You know what your dream, your passion is, you have the ability and the opportunity to follow it. But you simply don’t. Why? Because you have other, more interesting things holding your attention right now. You think it’s okay to shove it to the back burner for now, that you’ll have enough time to get to it and pursue it, and get it to its logical end.

But guess what, life has a way of throwing your well-laid plans out of whack. It follows its own rhyme and rhythm, and won’t wait for you to get to a point where you have ideal conditions to follow your passions and dreams. You either have to give it your all and just do it, or just let them go and indulge in your current interests, as you’ve been doing all along.

Which category do you belong to? What extreme lengths have you gone to follow your dreams, however improbable or implausible they may have seemed? Share your inspiring stories in the comments below.

Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Article Name
Follow Your Dreams: Why It Isn't Always As Easy As It Seems
Follow your dreams, follow your passions, follow your heart - are you tired of hearing these refrains as much as I am? Then, read on!
Chaitra Ramalingegowda

Chaitra Ramalingegowda

I fell in love with storytelling long before I knew what it was. Love well written stories, writing with passion, baking lip-smacking-finger-licking chocolate cakes, engaging movies, and home-cooked food. A true work-in-progress and a believer in the idiom 'all those who wander are not lost'. Twitter: @ChaitraRlg