Friday, March 4, 2016

Dreams Do Come True... Or Do They?

Two weeks ago, my dream did not come true. I had had one for a few years, and now I know it will never happen. Even for someone as expressive as me it is not the norm to share what I really feel in a time of failure. Yes, I write every day about the smaller things in life, like how much I hate cigarettes and how great beards are, but when I truly feel love, pain, happiness or sadness, I tend to not share it too much. Why? The inside of my soul is something I have a hard time speaking about truthfully. I tell friends or share blogs, but in both these scenarios there is an audience, and sometimes the depth of my soul is not the right place for that audience. Employers, superficial friends or exes are not necessarily the people I would like to know about how I've been feeling lately. Unfortunately, this is my therapy! And how do I feel now? If I just got to use one word, I'd use "disillusioned", but since I'm a drama queen who spends 90% of her time typing I get a few more...

In the last few months I got over a lot of things. The last 365 days were so challenging that I sometimes forgot to be stressed, or sad, or completely lost because I accepted that with the kind of life I'm living that will be a permanent thing to happen if I let it. My life is unstable, unpredictable and chaotic. More than other's life. At the same time, it is surprising, full of potential and exciting. More than other's. I look back to earlier years when I was still chasing dreams that I have now had to give up on, and how rejection, loss and confusion had me sitting in a corner, shaking, because I didn't know how to handle it anymore. This all seems so laughable now that I am at the opposite end of my dreams, having to figure out what I will get, not what I want anymore. It really seems like there is only one challenge: Getting over the disillusions!

I've had few dreams in my life and none of them came true so far. Not getting what I want has never turned out to be a bad thing for me, so getting over the mere disappointment is not the real issue now. What I found to be harder was saying goodbye to the plans and hopes attached to these dreams, and knowing that a further progress down these paths I had made in my brain are not going to happen. Most recently, I have said goodbye to a route in my dreams that I was completely confident was feasible. I thought that this path was what I wanted and that, as a result, there would be one way or another to make it happen. We can reach anything we want if we work hard enough, right? It turns out that these dreams we have that require work from someone other than ourselves can exhaust you without getting a grain of recognition. And certainly, these dreams might simply just not come true, even if we gave it everything.

In January, I was tossing a penny off of a bridge in Moscow, making a wish, and what I wished for was not money or success. I wished for something else completely out of my hand. All the work in the world couldn't give it to me. For completely inexplicable reasons the time around that coin toss I felt I was on the right path, both personally and professionally, and had enough hope in my life to know that "everything's gonna be alright". Just a month later, I had lost that feeling about both parts of my life. And in both instances the loss in faith in these feelings was not attributed to my failure. Sometimes the fulfillment of our dreams, or in this case hopes, expectations or plans, do not depend on our own input. I made no mistake in my pursuit to keep these spirits up, but the consequent events just proved these dreams would shatter or would need to be shattered by me.

Saying goodbye to my PhD dream I worked for for a couple of years, mainly because it seemed to be the most convenient option to achieve what I ultimately want for the next decade or so, was tough. I have everything a PhD student needs, and more, and still I'm not one. For better or for worse, dreams like that crushing shook me to the core. My coping mechanisms are ok, until there's too much to handle, and that was indeed the case then. I felt the need to talk to two people. One of them was, and had been in the days or weeks leading up to it, one of the biggest let downs of my life, further making me feel like I had been chasing the wrong dreams. I realized that now more than ever I needed help, emotional help, and that who I thought would provide that was not going to be who I thought it would be. I realized that I had in fact been thinking I had support that I did not have. And I realized that doing anything you can does not guarantee success.

To my big surprise I did not fall apart. I was upset about having to restructure, again! The disappointment of having had faith in something and someone that was misplaced crept up, again! And once again I was in the place I have been so many times, unable to pinpoint what I'm doing, where I'm going and what all of this ever means. Now, I have been there many times. Whether the disappointment hits after having entertained a dream for a week or ten years, disappointment, I have come to learn, is worse than all of these feelings people keep complaining about because I get the feeling that I could have prevented it if I had just stopped entertaining them. In those moments, I feel like I made wrong choices. Had I realized my efforts to pursue plan A were wrong I had gone for Plan B right away...

What is important to me is that I feel like I did everything I could have, and I did. I do appreciate the inspirational quotes of telling us that all of our dreams can come true if we work hard enough for them; they tell us we should take leaps of faith and not hold back when we truly want something. I am well willing to fight for my dreams, and I am doing that every single day. And I am now in debt, living in the worst country in the world, with little to no prospects to be able to change anything about that. And all this will tell people is that I am lazy because we can always change, but not if we are never given a chance. All that's left is to keep looking at failure as a new opportunity: As Thomas Edison said about failure, we just learn about how NOT to achieve the things we want. I can very easily voice what I truly desire in life, and now I can eradicate getting my PhD and certain people from the list of things that will bring me that happiness. With each time, heartbreak gets less painful.

Dreams shattering, and having to go through it by yourself because nobody cares about your disappointment, is not a bad thing because there are people who would, you just haven't found them yet. I don't expect anyone to care, that's totally normal, but I thought they would. Being wrong clearly saves me pain in the future, so bring it on! I do look weaker because I showed bad judgement, followed a dream or plan I wasn't able to see through, and most crushing to the ego, truly invested in friendships, love and relationships that had the purpose of making me wake up rather than making me happy, but I could not have known that before so I decided to not blame myself as much as I can. But in the end, it's all part of the failure to assess what you want in life and getting on a better path.

Rightfully so, although I don't feel good at all this post has a positive conclusion, at least I think so. Of course I am trying to stay positive. In an effort not to lie to myself, I am pretty upset though, I just have different views on the subjects whether I look at it with my heart or my head. Of course my PhD would have been great, my heart really wanted that, but my head knows there's better options. The same goes for my personal losses: of course being left in the time of your most desperate need hurts, but knowing in your head that no love is better than pretend love is so overwhelmingly true. So in the end it is hard to still believe in your dreams when they sometimes simply aren't in your hands. The real dream is to be in charge of everything. Since that can't happen, not having actual dreams seems to be the way forward...

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