“The Problem With Dreams” or, What Happens When I Get Nervous & Evernote Is Already Open on My Screen

by E.V. Jacob on February 25, 2014

The problem with dreams is that, at every single point along the journey, there is the option to turn back.  To cut and run.  To dart back to your old, safe, ultimately unfulfilling and dull, but gloriously familiar life.  It might be an extreme move, but it never actually stops being an option (at least, not for a very long time.  Long enough for you give up before you get where you ultimately want to go).

At any given moment, we can give up, quit it all, and return to the person we were before.  That old life where things are safe.

But we don’t want to do that!  We want to do this!  We want to be this!  There is this beautiful, amazing dream in our heads of what the perfect life would be for us, and we want it so badly.

The disconnect comes when the person we ARE and the person we NEED TO BE are not one in the same.

Because, see, whoever we are now, wherever and whatever we are now, it won’t fit into that life.  It just won’t.  I don’t know who you are and I don’t know what your dream is, but I still know one thing about you with absolute certainty:  You would not fit into that perfect life you envision.

This is not to say you can’t have it, but rather, that you must grow into the role.

It’s kind of like saying, “That baby won’t fit in at school.”

I’m not saying that the baby is flawed, or wrong, or bad in any way, nor that the baby can never ever go to school…none of that is true.  The baby is good and perfect and wonderful the way it is.

But the baby is certainly not capable of going to school in any real capacity.  Yet.  Luckily, that’s not a permanent condition–the way the baby is will change.  Naturally, as it grows, it will learn new things, it will develop new skills, and as it does that, it will automatically cease to be a baby and become a toddler…and then a child…a school-aged child…and then more!

And so, too, must we grow and evolve.  The people we are today, at this moment, don’t fit into the roles we envision for ourselves.

But we will…once we learn to be that person.

And a crucial part of being that person is knowing how NOT to turn back from your dream and run crying to the safety of what we know.  Another crucial part is doing the things that will turn us into that person…naturally.

Let’s go back to the baby/school analogy:

OK, you started as a baby.  And you were 100% not able to succeed at school because you’d eat the erasers and cry and scream at the teachers.

But you grew up and now you know how to do all kinds of crazy stuff like walk and eat without choking and/or making a mess, and you can even put on clothes successfully.

And yet…the first day of school is scary.  You really wanted to go to school–you saw the other kids go, and you wanted to go, too, because it sounded like fun and it was what “big kids” did, so that was something.

But once it’s time for you to go–REALLY go–you stand there, your little backpack on, your lunch at your side, staring up at the big, imposing building, full of unfamiliar faces and items and rules.

And you change your mind.  School is WAY too scary.  You want to go home.  Now.  You want your mommy and your toys and all the safety of home.

But if you don’t go, you’ll always wonder.  You’ll always feel sorrowful for what you missed out on.  You’ll look longingly at the school, and enviously at all the other kids–your age and, for shame, younger–who go on to school, laughing and playing and talking about what they experienced while at school.  Even their hardships will seem beautiful.

That’s why we have to keep going.  Because, at the end of the day, there is something we want.  We want it bad.  We want it so bad it hurts.

So no matter how scary the road before us seems, and how safe the familiar path we’re leaving behind is…we have to press on.  We have to move forward.  And sometimes, we have to jump.  That is scary as all hell.

Hell, there’s even a quote about it.  ”Everything you want lies on the other side of fear.”  I don’t even know who said it but they were right.  Everything, EVERYTHING, we want, we can have…if we can just let go of the notion of being “safe” and get into the notion of being “satisfied.”  We must become strong.  We must become brave.  Brave, meaning we feel the crushing, overwhelming fear, but we do it anyway.

That dream we hold inside us is worth it–we wouldn’t ache for it so damn bad if it wasn’t–so we may as well toughen up, take a deep breath, and jump. We’ll figure out how to open our wings on the way down.

  • http://johnanthonyjames.com/ John James

    I think I’ve gone beyond the “fear” stage when it comes to writing – I used to have doubts, but that was more about not knowing if my writing was any good…

    The more I write and the more my writing is exposed to other writers and readers, the less doubt I have. I don’t know where this will all lead me – all I know is that I’m going to keep writing… whatever else happens after that, I have no idea…

    • http://www.ravenhartpress.com/ Eve Jacob

      That’s good, John :) When it comes to writing, I’m right there with you. I think there will always be places where fear rises up (for me, this pertained to business), but the good part is knowing we can get through it (especially if we’ve gotten past fear before!) ;)

  • Steve A.

    This is spot on. I’ve been dealing with a fair amount of this myself lately. I committed to a huge, potentially amazing project recently–something I’ve been wanting for a really long time. And now that I’ve got it, about 90% of me wants to run far, far away and never look back. But the other 10% knows that if this is what I do when opportunities come around, then pretty soon they won’t come around anymore.

    Anyway, I wish you luck on whatever the dreams are that you’re nervous and fearful about. I know you’ll be amazing.

    • http://www.ravenhartpress.com/ Eve Jacob

      Thanks, Steve! I am pretty much in the same boat right now and a big part of me is like “I CAN’T DO THIS” but a smaller (but much more insistent) part of me is whispering, “You can and you WILL.”

      I wish you luck in your endeavour, as well! I bet we both come out the other side of this much, much closer to the people we want to be :)

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