Why Real Life Stops You From Going After Your Dreams

eli-mattsonI wake up this morning amidst the chilly air of China. I think of how I might start my day. Take a walk, write a blog entry, answer some emails and work on my short story. Ah, that would be paradise.

Then I remembered one ugly fact. I groaned and buried myself further underneath the covers.

I’ve got to go to school today.

I hated myself this week for allowing real life to get in the way. I allowed myself to get swept away by this tide of marking papers, student consultations, midterm exams and extracurricular activities like performing my first ever rap song in front of colleagues (though it went surprisingly well). But stuff like this happen and I had to bind myself for a while and plough my way through. There were so many times I wanted to pick up my pen once again and blog but bills must be paid. We all have these times. The trouble is we stay in this way for far too long.

What stops us? Is it fear of looking at the spare coins clinking at a musician’s cap singing his heart out? Or the image of a painter selling his wares for pennies? I tell you what we’ll do. We’ll immediately rush to our comfortable apartments, happy that we’re secure in our monthly salaries and daily food on the table. We’ll be assuring ourselves, “I’m glad that’s not me.” yet inside our hearts stir with envy. We see Freddie going around places with just his guitar. There’s Larry, tutoring art on the side while he hones his comic drawing skills. We smash our fists on the table because that could’ve been us. Sure, it looks like a romantic lifestyle but in fact it’s not. Freddie goes into debt and Larry’s students often pay for his lunch because they knew he couldn’t afford to eat. That’s why people often say ‘starving artist’ not ‘well-fed artist’.

To us, that’s not the ‘real life’ we seek. The real life we want is an awesome apartment, a sleek sports car and plenty of money so that when we retire we can do what we want because that’s what the manual of the Safe Practical Guide To Survive In Society says. The manual that says there’s a big chance that if we let go of everything we have and follow our hearts, we’d go broke, miserable and alone in the gutter and not even get an ounce of recognition. That’s shit scary. We have to start from scratch and we’d be doing plenty of failing on our first try. Many people around you say there’s no market value or any real money in doing what we love. And that’s the magnum truth cemented in their minds. Because we listened to them, we shut ourselves in our little cubicle, beating ourselves up constantly doing what we hate while our dreams languished. Every penny we earn we blow out just buying more stuff to take away the pain of not following our hearts.

Real life means setting aside the novel inside you to make way for the more practical stuff that pays the bills or impractical ones that provide you instant gratification like watching T.V. or youtube. “I’ll do it later” because you’ve got your boss and clients waiting, students wondering where their marked papers are and an audience ready and hungry for your next words in your blog. Why do we often procrastinate on the things we want to do the most that doesn’t give us money but offers us the one thing that money can’t buy –happiness? The sad reality is that you’re setting that story or song aside because nobody cares about it but you. Only you know it’s going to be great. The rest? They simply don’t care. They’ve got their own troubles to worry about and their own achievements which they think are so awesome but in reality suck crap as hell only you don’t have the heart to tell them because they might say the same thing to you.

Yet, you deserve to do what you want the most and to hell with the rest of world –you’re going to march to your own damned tune!

This is why we often feel empty inside because we’re clipping our own wings and following fail proof practical advice. Perhaps that’s why we love reading those personal development blogs so much. We look at people living our dream and strive to find a life full of meaning and purpose because frankly, we’re just not living it.

We seek to distract ourselves from this feeling of emptiness. We numb ourselves with T.V., computers, drugs, alcohol, painkillers and sex. Anything to take away the pain. For a year, I was “numb”. Everyday was a torture to live because I was never true to myself. Because I was living the ‘real life’. One day I took out my pen and notebook and bled myself dry all over the pages, shedding bitter tears, pouring all my pain and frustrations at not being able to write for a living, not being able to do what I do best, too much of a coward to go after what I want and not live with the music singing in my heart.

And I bet you and I share these moments when we just looked up and asked, “God, why?”

It took me a year up to that moment to take a deep breath and plunge towards that dream. Now I’ve had a few small accomplishments under my belt. Although real life still intervenes, I won’t let it silence my voice for too long. I’ve learned from that mistake. I still go to school to teach but now everyday whenever I take that pen and let the words dance under my fingertips, I feel truly happy. Truly happy because I finally get to do what I love even if it’s just for 2 hours a day. But in those 2 hours, I felt I have truly lived and was able to touch heaven even for just a moment.

Photo: Eli Mattson, runner up of America’s Got Talent, an artist who paid his dues from NBC site. Now he’s living the dream stirring the passion within us with his voice and his piano.

Related Posts:

  • Just Let Them Go and F– Themselves – A Rant On Being A Teacher
  • Why I Write
  • Writing Updates-The Magic of Storytelling
  • Share The Dream:

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    21 thoughts on “Why Real Life Stops You From Going After Your Dreams

    1. teekeeanna says:

      I agree with you, we tend to let our dreams slip away because we now have family, bills, and jobs to tend to for the moment.

      There is something instored for me, it feels so close that I can reach out and grab it. Some days my heart skips a beat because I feel closer to it but the only problem is that I don’t know what it is.

      We can not let go of our dreams, if theres a will there is a way.

      • Kate says:


        Thanks for dropping by.

        ABSOLUTELY!! We don’t have anything else but our dreams to hold on to. I bet there’s so many great artists out there silencing their talents because they’ve got obligations to meet. That’s sad, really.

        I sincerely hope you do find out what’s in store for you. When you finally find it, you gotta hold onto it with all your heart. Don’t let go! I guarantee it’s one of the happiest moments in all of your life and it will be the ‘happy place’ you’ll go to whenever you’ve got some some shitty moments.

        Look for that dream teekeeanna…

    2. johnlazy says:

      Wow Kate! It struck me at the center of my heart. I always wanted to be the best of me, not minding what people say but it’s really hard in “real life” maybe soon I can really do it steps by steps to living my dream, my own reality! I love this article ma’am I wish I was this fluent in English. Take care! Kate

    3. Sherxr says:

      Hey… I sound like one of those dream chaser that you mentioned in your post.
      I did give up my secured finance job in SG and went in pursue my simple baker’s dream. Yes, it was a really scary few years with what little money I had. Had to work 7 days a week to make ends meet. But hey it was really worth it! I actually turned out better than I thought I could!

      Now I pursuing another part of my dream, to have my own business. Tough times ahead with hardly enough money for our lives here but we will survive!

      Keep going for your dream!!! 🙂

      • Kate says:

        @ john: Thanks. You’re surely improving your English with each long article
        you churn out (that’s an achievement!). Just keep practicing! Step by step
        we’ll surely reach our dream.

        @ Sherxr: I’m truly so envious at what you achieved, leaving your secured
        finance job at SG and chasing your simple dream. That must have been
        stressful working 7 days but if it’s for your dreams who cares? Is there a
        story about it that posted on your blog? Would love to read it!

    4. robert bourne says:

      hold on to the dream I have held on to mine for many years but now I am getting to try..it is easy to get side tracked but with daily goals it helps I set aside a few minutes every day..and have a goal of a minimum of a 1000 words a day..it works if you want it to..and thanks for dropping bu Two Worlds

      • Kate says:

        It is easy to get sidetracked! That’s why sometimes I just have one small writing goal per day if the going gets tough like this week. Or read a blog entry or two about writing. 😉

        Keep on holding to your dreams Robert.

      • Kate says:

        That’s the question some or perhaps most people are finding out. My sister is still looking for her dream and I’ve been helping her. I say set aside few minutes that’s supposed to be pursuing your dream to instead find out what you want. Start with a simple question, “What do you want to do? What’s something you can envision yourself doing for a long time and without any pay?” Experiment until you find that precious moment when your eyes lit up and you jump for joy screaming “EUREKA!!”

    5. thesassykathy says:

      so true – thanks for this reminder – i think its easy to get bogged down by responsibility and the “shoulds” of life. i quit my job in april after only a year, but it was so worth it – i was miserable and i’m much happier now, even though i’m currently frusturated and job hunting – still better than the workaholic misery of my last job. thanks 🙂

      • Kate says:

        It does. Like this week, I had to shove aside my ‘wants’ to do my ‘shoulds’
        but I have to make sure it’s temporary. I’m slowly going back to the wants.

        Wonder if your life story about how you quit your job is in your blog. Would
        love to hear it. 😀

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