What to do when big dreams die
By: BRITTNEY FARROW
One of the hardest things we can do in life is accept the fact that sometimes we do not get what we want.
This April would have marked the year I graduated college. If things had gone the way I had planned, I would have been buying my cap and gown and mailing my graduation announcements; I would have been sending out resumes and thinking about the next step of my career. Instead, I am in the same place I have been for some time now: making a road map of where I went wrong, and trying to figure out exactly how to get to where I want to be. It is hard not to feel discouraged when our lives follow a course so different from the one we envisioned, and yet we have to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we have made. We are allowed to grieve for the years we lost to our specific, personal circumstances, but we cannot let them hold us back.
I realized halfway through my sophomore year of college that I was sick — really sick. At the time, I lived in Arizona and my parents lived here in St. Louis. Because I needed their help and support, I decided to move back in with them, and when I did I practically started over in school.
Then, sometime last semester, I realized I was extremely unhappy with the degree path I was taking; I just could not accomplish what I needed to in order to move forward.
Knowing that switching my major would push me back even further, I decided to do so anyway, hoping it would benefit me in the long-run.
So far, it has been a good decision for me, but it is still hard to think about how far behind I am, and how that might allow me to be perceived by other people. I have always cared too much about what other people think of me, and I have always allowed that to affect my perception of myself.
Still, I know I am not alone in dealing with personal obstacles. It is something that happens to almost everyone — and frequently.
All my life, cooking has been my father’s passion, and he worked really hard throughout my childhood to advance in his career and achieve his own goals. Then, sometime two years ago, a review of his cooking was published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; zero out of five stars, the food critic said. This devastated him.
His career and his own self-esteem are still recovering from the blow. Where would he go from there? What would he do next?
Thirty years of stress and sacrifice sabotaged by a journalist with a with a mean vocabulary and a keyboard.
It is a bitter pill to swallow when we realize that our dreams probably will not happen to us.
For some, that realization is a major heartbreak; however, it does not mean that we cannot make new dreams — that we cannot adapt and change and evolve into better and more successful people. The harder our obstacles, the more experienced we become — the more capable we are of handling what happens next.
Sometimes our achievements are not as satisfying as we had hoped, but that does not mean they are bad. It just means they are different than we would have envisioned.
Do not become discouraged by the challenges that present themselves in times of hardship. Instead, take the lessons we are given from these experiences and know — deep inside your bones — that just because something did not happen the way you wanted it to does not mean that you have failed. Failure is not a delayed graduation; failure is not a bad review. Failure is what happens when we do not move forward, and instead let our burdens keep us from finding a new path.
I can say with complete honesty that no one I know who has attempted to better themselves has failed. Maybe they have not done what they initially set out to do; maybe they were set back once, twice or dozens of times before they found a steady rhythm. Regardless of how long it took or how many times they had to fall before they found their footing, the people I know who see a better opportunity and attempt to grasp it for themselves are the people who live the most successful lives. So fall; graduate late or never; get that bad review. Whatever you do, just do not stop.