Thirteen years ago, if you had met my group of friends and asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, we would have told you without a doubt that we were going to be pop stars, business owners, lawyers, footballers, doctors, pilots and veterinarians, all sorts of exciting, high-powered careers.
We definitely wouldn’t have predicted job titles such as Account Manager for Tesco’s Frozen Foods Department, Strategist for Arriva Trains Wales or Administrative Support in the Accounts Department of the National Trust.
Where did all our dreams go? When did we give up working for what we want, letting practicality and financial decisions rule our aspirations? Did we store our childhood dreams in the attic along with our Beanie Babies and Tamagotchis, left to gather dust until we take them to Antique’s Roadshow 70 years from now only to discover that your Beanie Babie’s never appreciated in value?
Admittedly, when I was fourteen, I was also sure that I would be married and living in a beautiful house by now, so there is a dose of realism to take with this idea, but really though, why did we just give up? What would the fourteen-year-old you think of the life that you’ve chosen to live? Would they be impressed with you, proud of your decisions? Or would they be disappointed that you’ve chosen this path, and feel a little bit sorry for you?
There are some logistics to take into consideration, everyone needs money to survive and no one can go straight into their dream life without plenty of hard grafting. My main source of income at the moment is digital marketing, and I can assure you that it most definitely does not have me leaping out of bed in the mornings raring to jump on my computer and build backlinks for SEO purposes. Most days, truth be told, I almost fall asleep with boredom doing my day job, nevertheless, I keep doing it because it pays the bills and in my free time, I am sure to work on my dream, putting in the unpaid extra hours so that I can one day soon, earn a living from my own location-independent business.
Somedays it’s really hard to finish your work for the day only to then have to do another three, four hours more work that you’re not even being paid for, but try and think of what the fourteen-year-old you would say? Would they be happy with you working in a job that you don’t really care about and that you let all your hopes and dreams fall by the wayside? Instead, you’re choosing jobs based on financial reasons, prioritising high salaries over life values. This might allow to you lease a fancy car and keep up appearances to your neighbours Deb and Kevin Jones but does that mind-numbingly boring job fill you with satisfaction and make you feel proud of your life?
What would you rather? What would fourteen-year-old want? A life filled with short-term satisfaction consisting of material objects, expensive nights out and online shopping? All in the hope of filling that hole that opened up just about the same time as when you packed your dreams away in the attic.
Or, what about sacrificing yourself for a few years, trading in nights out for nights in so that you can work on those forgotten dreams? This might mean studying for the qualifications needed for your dream job or perhaps working in the evenings to start up your own business. It will be hard but eventually, if you work consistently enough and don’t give up, you will start to make progress, the short-term sacrifices of a couple years will be worth it for the long-term gain of a lifelong dream fulfilled.
It will be hard, it will be really hard, that’s why self-discipline is so important to carry you through when times get tough and you catch yourself slipping back into your old life. Do some research online about people who have already done what you want to do and learn everything you can about them, emulate them to help achieve your goals. We’re so lucky nowadays, anything you wish to learn is there on the internet and often, if you search a bit, that knowledge can be had for free. Get off of social media and use that time to learn and work towards your dreams.
I have a few photos of myself at fourteen in my bedroom that I look at while I’m getting ready in the morning. When I look at them I like to remember what that girl used to envision for herself; A life full of excitement, living abroad and traveling as much as possible, owning a cool business as well as a beach bar. I lost my way for a few years, lost my confidence and stopped dreaming, instead, trying to be OK with an office job that bored the hell out of me. Now though, that fourteen-year-old is back and she’s not going to stop until she’s relaxing in her beach bar while sipping a Pina Colada on the sand.