The legitimization of a dream, is a hard thing. We expect the affirmation to come from others around us.
We want to hear:
“Go for it!”
“You got this!”
“We’re behind you 100%!”
But while we pursue our dream, something gets left undone. Left behind. Ignored. It is the feeling that we can’t be irresponsible that keeps us from our ultimate goal.
Our ultimate dreams.
After 6 years of being at home with the family, I realize I never legitimize my own dreams. I always wait for someone to give me permission to take a step forward. For someone to say, It’s okay the laundry isn’t done. Or that the kids were bored. Or the fridge is bare.
Because no one is ever going to say those things.
When I worked, I didn’t berate myself because I didn’t see my daughter for 9 hours each day. I worked, doing something I felt passionate about. But now that I’m home, I have one foot in writing and one foot planted with my family and I can’t keep that delicate balance. When I’m writing, I feel like I should “be a mom” and when I’m with the family, I want to write. And in both places, I never am satisfied with where I am at that moment. It’s always colored by what I should or want to be doing.
The expectations I placed on myself.
Sometimes I wish my writing ambitions were clear cut. If I found success, I could tell the world, “See, here, this is a job. I get paid to ignore family responsibilities for hours each day.” But like the plight of so many people who are stuck between two worlds they want to be in, I don’t get paid for any of what I do in my life, and therefore none of the time I spend doing anything feels justified.
It’s all just a hobby.
Or an expectation.
Today it occurred to me, that I have to legitimize my own dreams. While I keep looking for some outside source to say, “You are a writer, now write!” What I really need to do is look inside and say, Jessica, you ARE a writer. Now make time for it.
When we make the decision to put our dreams on hold, we say to ourselves, some day it will be MY turn. Then days, weeks, months and years go by and the dream sits like a lump in our minds. Mass without velocity, doesn’t feel good. The dream can only gain speed from within. Your boss at work won’t ever say, take a month off and finish that painting. Your kids won’t say, “We can feed ourselves, now go finish that chapter.”
Dreams have to be legitimized from within first and then others will see how important they are. Because if we don’t tell others how important it is to us, no one will ever know.
And as my husband likes to say, “So what are you going to do about it?” Self reflection only matters, if we pick up the thought and do something with it.
So what am I going to do?
Practice my no. I’m going to tell that demon inside me, no. I’m doing what I need to be doing right now. Sometimes that is writing and not taking a walk with my family. And sometimes it is going to the pool instead of writing. But I will only legitimize my own dreams with others, if I first give myself permission to have them in the first place.