Dreams are tricky creatures, and ones that I know well. I had a dream to start this blog, and now the dream to keep it alive. I dream about hosting goal dinners all over the country and traveling as often as I can. And I have lots of other dreams too. The beautiful thing is that slowly, piece by piece, these dreams are coming to life. But the part that makes them more complex and deceiving is the part that I somehow breezed past in my initial excitement: these dreams require a lot from me than I ever anticipated.
So now here I am on a Sunday night being taunted by all sorts of things: a calendar that tells me I’m traveling 4 out of the next 5 weeks, a pile of dirty laundry, an empty suitcase that needs to be packed, a blinking cursor on the blank word document that’s supposed to be the blog I’m publishing tomorrow. I was supposed to develop a strategy document for tomorrow morning’s meeting, to finalize the details of the next goal dinner, to gather images for upcoming blog posts (not to mention writing the upcoming blog posts). All of these on top of my normal, human task list of things like cleaning my embarrassingly messy room, or getting my oil changed or buying birthday cards.
This is what happens in the middle of a dream. At the beginning we’re so high on adrenaline and naive optimism that we believe anything is possible. At the end, we’ve got it all figured out and can bask in glorious success. But the middle? We’re stuck with all these dreadful details and to do lists and nagging action items that make us feel like we’re in a sinking canoe with only a teaspoon to frantically get all the water out.
It makes me want to hide. It makes me want to pour the biggest glass of wine, walk next door to Bongo Java to buy a snickerdoodle the size of my face, climb under my covers and curl up with the Scandal season finale that I still haven’t had time to watch. But I’m not. Okay, so I did pour a glass of wine- but the important thing here is that I didn’t give into the temptation to run when things got overwhelming. I decided what was important, and what wasn’t. That coming home to a messy room and a full laundry basket is something I’m willing to deal with for the sake of getting closer to my dreams. That what makes me love traveling so much isn’t because of the hours I’ve spent calculating and planning what all needs to be packed. That I’ll be perfectly fine throwing some things in a suitcase and making due with whatever I have.
When the details of our dreams get overwhelming or frustrating, you can choose to give up, or you can choose to press on. It’s perfectly alright that you feel like giving up. All that matters is that you don’t.
No, this post doesn’t have all the visual images I’d like it to. It’s being published at the expense of my room staying messy, my suitcase staying empty and a 12:30am bedtime (meaning I won’t be doing 6am yoga like I had hoped). But I finished it. I also finished my strategy preparations for tomorrow’s meeting, and nailed down the details of the next goal dinner (which, excuse the shameless plug, is happening on Tuesday, June 30th in Boulder, CO). And completing even a few, tiny items of what seems like a mountain of tasks ahead of me feels so good. Because they’re ultimately putting me closer to a payoff that’s greater than the temporary satisfaction of a snickerdoodle or a TV show. They leave me full of hope about the road I’m walking down and all that I have to look forward to, instead of left with another void no meal or drink or show or wasted night can fill.
What are you choosing? Yes a night out with friends is fun, a clean room is comforting and a security blanket can often seduce better than any other seductress. Yes, dealing with all of those difficult things that make you a better person and closer to living the life you dream of is never fun in the moment. But it’s always the better option.
It’s not my place to tell you whether you should prioritize your friends or your alone time or productivity or workouts or whatever else. But I will say that in order to live the kind of life that you dream of, you’re going to have to prioritize working hard on the details of your dreams. And with that, you’ll have to sacrifice some of the time you spend on all the other things. But with that, comes the hope of slowly becoming one lesson wiser and one step closer to victory. And it’s all only going to get more beautiful with time. So keep going. Stay up later if you have to. Leave the house a mess even if it drives you crazy. It will all be worth it in the end.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. -Hebrews 12:11