Dreaming about big things is what is natural to human beings. We yearn to travel the world, run our own business, be successful, have a family, be rich, be strong, be smart; the list of goals and dreams is endless.
When I first left school, I just wanted to follow my dreams—even though I am not sure I really knew what they were then. I wanted to follow my passions but had I really gotten to know myself good enough yet to even understand what they were? I longed to be successful in everything I do—the natural dream of a perfectionist.
Have you ever thought about what success really means? Success is something different for every single one of us. Every person defines success as something they have learned when growing up. Maybe it was the way their parents lived their life, and it looked good, it looked successful. Perhaps they had seen a movie or read an inspiring book and felt like this was their calling as well.
At that stage, and that age, I defined success as being wealthy, popular and busy. If you are really busy, you are wanted and needed by many people. You must have skills others want or adore so therefore you are successful. I laugh at that now. And I often wish I could write my 20-year-old self a letter. But then I think, ‘what would I write?’ Do I want her to know it all already? Do I want her to not fail? Do I want her to have all the answers and miss the challenges and the learnings? No.
She was fantastic. My innocent, naive 20-year-old me was amazing. She didn’t fear because she hadn’t fallen, she didn’t give up because she hadn’t even started, she was excited because there were opportunities.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney
Well, guess what, 20-year-old me? You achieved all of that. You didn’t just dream it, you lived it. You grabbed opportunities, you picked yourself up when you had fallen, you re-invented yourself hundreds of times. You’ve proven that nothing is bigger than your determination. I adore you, girl.
I used to dream about travelling the world, working overseas, being successful, happily married with children and being content.
She doesn’t need a letter. But I need one now. I wish she could send me one from back then, saying ‘Remember to never give up. Remember to follow your dreams.’ I need to constantly reassure myself that this is the way the universe has planned it all. This is my path, my journey, my learnings.
My bucket list used to be endless. I wanted to hike in Spain, swim in Thailand, learn surfing in Australia, snorkel in the Philippines, go on a hot air balloon ride, see the Opera, fly in a helicopter and learn one of my five (second) languages properly.
“A heart without dreams is like a bird without feathers.” – Suzy Kassem
A list like this should continue, it should grow as you’re ticking things off. My list is very bare at the moment, and I hate that feeling. I long to dream more again. Right now, there is only one big wish on it, one big dream: I want to arrive.
I want to have a home again. I want to nest. I want to sleep in my bed, use my pots, stoke my fire, and watch my garden grow. But here I am, at 37, and I feel exhausted. This year has brought me close to my knees. I still have energy left, I know. For you, my 20-year-old self, I will never give up. I know this is what I am meant to experience, this is what is shaping the person I am meant to be. Stronger, wiser, more kind, more patient and more grateful.
These last few weeks, I have been feeling emotional because our little family has been living apart for nearly eleven months. I am feeling anxious because summer is coming and the anniversary of my biggest challenge yet is looming way too close. I am feeling impatient because it’s time to have a house. I am feeling restless because I am itching to move along. To get out of this time of standstill and run for my goals again. I am dreading Christmas as it means so much to me and I can’t imagine celebrating it the usual way somewhere else this year. Things need to change, I need to lift myself; I need to pick myself up. I need the 20-year-old me inside of my soul teach me again how to dream BIG and go for it. Just go for it.
I have had so many learnings this year, through so many challenges, and it made me extremely appreciative and grateful of all the little things in life. Because once you are down, really down there, there is only one way to go: UP.
Watch me, universe. Watch me rise from the ashes.
“Sometimes you just have to die a little inside in order to be reborn and rise again as a stronger and wiser version of you.” – Unknown