Following dreams. Plural.

In my most recent place of employment, I was lucky to work with women that had moved to America from several different countries. Not only was there a lovely blend of accents always humming around, but it was such an eye-opening look at the World on a bigger scale, getting a different perspective and learning more about life outside the United States.

One day, while eating lunch with Galyna, who is from the Ukraine, and Cristiana, who is Romanian, a surprising revelation came out. We were talking about books vs. e-readers when Galyna mentioned that she had always wanted to work in a library. She then added that her dream was to be a lawyer but, in the Ukraine, it was too expensive for the schooling and she didn’t have the money. And then she said,

“That was my dream, but it was just a dream. It’s over.”

She said it so simply, and without much (if any) regret. My first reaction was sadness, because it seemed unfair that she should have to let go of something she so badly desired. However, there are two more interesting ways that her ambivalence in that statement affected me.

The first was confusion about my own situation. You see, at the time of this lunch, I was working as a bridal consultant/stylist at a locally owned bridal boutique. Working as a bridal consultant was something I’d wanted to do for a long time. I thought I was following my dream, and yet sometimes I still felt guilty. I was making less than half of the income I’d made previously. The ability for me to take that pay cut was offset by a husband who, luckily, makes enough money for me to do something that I enjoyed, even if my contributions to our finances dropped off dramatically. It didn’t seem fair that WE had to sacrifice for ME. If this was my dream, shouldn’t I feel fulfilled and content, so much that the financial compromise was worth it? Somehow even the best days didn’t seem to balance the disparity.

Bridal ShopOver a month after the conversation with Galyna and Cristiana, it became clear that I needed to leave this particular dream of mine behind. This was the most bittersweet decision I’ve had to make in a very long time. There are not words to convey how strongly I felt about not only the work, but the women I worked with on a daily basis. These are phenomenal, beautiful, strong, smart, passionate, honest… truly amazing women. Having the opportunity to meet, and create friendships with, Marie and Monica was likely the greatest gift I received from this journey. I met and worked with over 250 brides-to-be. Those interactions let me learn, laugh, feel pride, occasionally cry, but mostly refreshed my belief that there are more good people in this world than there are bad. In spite of all the joy, there were (of course) drawbacks. There always are. And, after time, no matter how glorious the good parts, it was simply right to go. I cried more than half of the days during those last two weeks, and often doubted the decision.

Could the ability to walk away from the boutique mean that I was giving up on my dream? Was I that easily dissuaded? Actually, no.

“That was my dream, but it was just a dream. It’s over.”

Although I had an opportunity to go after my dream, where Galyna did not, I’m realizing that there are so many more dreams that I have. So many more goals to work towards. The point isn’t that it didn’t work out, or become my lasting legacy. The point is that there are a lot of things out there. To choose one and go after it with all you have, but remember it isn’t all you will ever have. Galyna’s words weren’t about brushing off the past, they were about moving forward and finding a new dream. Sometimes the pressure placed on the success of a “dream” causes so much fear that one doesn’t even attempt to follow the path. Dreams are important, but you can, and should, have enough to last more than one lifetime, so there’s no reason to put that life-or-death weight onto one single option. Life isn’t do or die, it’s try.

Keep dreaming, and keep following your dreams. Any one you choose.

What's your Dream?


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