How to Follow Your Dreams Even When You “Shouldn’t”

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Society’s unwritten rules tell us one thing: get a safe nine to five job, with health and dental insurance, that’ll allow you to buy a comfortable home you can raise your family in — all after you’ve graduated from college.

When it comes to building the life I want, I’m not good at following the rules.

I shouldn’t be working toward making my vision a reality because most of the world thinks I shouldn’t.

I didn’t go to college, which earned me lots of discouraging comments and led to a few annoying arguments. Plus, I don’t have a nine to five job, or any “normal” job for that matter.

I’m a freelance writer who hasn’t had work in two months. I’m trying to earn a iving on a blogging platform called Medium. 

My writing education stems from books, articles, and (mostly) free online courses. I also want to make a living on through here, and I want to write books.

Most people disagree with my aims. They think writing is more of a hobby than a job, so they’re waiting for me to get my shit together.

They expect me to go to college to get a real writing job, which means working in a building and getting paid like a normal person.

Closed-minded people think pursuing goals that don’t require a regular job or a college education is child’s play. They believe taking a job you hate, and sucking it up is growing up.

So, I’m not society’s favorite person.

And if you pursue your aspirations, you won’t be either. But who wants to be anyway?

“Shouldn’t” is not an excuse

You’re too young, you don’t know what you want, you spent four years of your life in college for the job you have right now, no one will approve. These are a few reasons you shouldn’t take the risk to build the life you want.

But you can’t live your life by shouldn’t. Don’t make decisions based on what you can’t to. Fuck can’t.

There will always be reasons why you shouldn’t do what you love. No matter how big or “true” the reason you have to decide whether you’ll give in to it or break free.

You don’t have to quit your job to start taking action toward your goal. You don’t have to leave college either.

 You might not even be one-hundred percent sure this vision really is your dream.

 

But you have to try anyway.

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

Arthur Ashe
Image by author

Follow your dreams even when you shouldn’t.

When you think you don’t have time

One of the biggest reasons people don’t do what they love is because they proclaim they don’t have time. Forget the wake up an hour earlier or go to sleep an hour later advice.

Just look at your day.

For one week, track what you do when you’re not at work, in school, or doing the necessary things, such as grocery shopping. (You can do this with an app like aTracker, which helped realize how much time I was wasting.)

How much time do you spend watching TV shows or movies? How much time do you lose on social media?

Can you do something while you wait at the doctor’s office? (I’ve written blog posts on the dentist chair as I waited for them.) Maybe every Friday you can buy pizza, so you don’t have to cook.

You have so much time. You just haven’t looked at what you do with it.

When you care too much about what people think

Photo by Aditya Saxena on Unsplash

People are always going to suck. Assholes and pessimists are lurking in every corner, waiting to pounce on you and feed off your fears.

You can’t keep caring about what people think about your life choices because it’s your life.

When you upload a blog post, and no one reads, it’s going to sting because it’s embarrassing as fuck, but embarrassment is just another part of the job.

You don’t have to love it, but you have to get comfortable with it.

“The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.”

Virginia Woolf

Letting others’ opinions dictate your life will keep you on the road you’re trying to escape.

They say you shouldn’t, and you listen, and then you end up regretting your life when you’re eighty-years-old.

Have confidence in yourself because what you’re gonna do is worth it. If you know in your heart it’s time, it’s your job to listen to it.

When you say you don’t have money

You don’t need to spend much when you start a blog. If you want to create a movie, then build a GoFundMe or Kickstarter campaign.

If you want to get paintbrushes and paint, or a new camera, then don’t spend it on the shirt or shoes you want. Don’t go to that restaurant today.

Time is like money — when you pay attention to what you’re doing with it, you always end up finding out you have more than you thought.

You might need money later, but you don’t need money to start. Stop giving that excuse.

Final words of motivation

Photo by William White on Unsplash

I know you’re scared of failing, letting your family down, the discouragement you’re bound to get from at least one person, embarrassment, and a million other things.

But the risk is worth it. No matter what happens.

I don’t know what result you’re going to get, but it’s not just about the accolades. It’s about the journey, the joy you’ll get when you wake up, and the fun you’ll have.

I want to be a published author one day, and I look forward to the day I get to hold my first book. However, if for some reason I never get there, I won’t regret my choices because all of this is worth it.

I don’t know if I’ll reach my goal, but at least I can say I enjoyed trying to get there.

How many people have gotten the big promotion or earned a raise but hated getting there? They dreaded getting up in the morning and doing the work.

The worst part is that the process is most of their life. The reward is only a small part of it, and yet they think the work is worth it. Plus, now they have another milestone to reach — because who doesn’t want more?

Now they have to repeat the grueling process, hating their journey all for a reward they could obtain doing something they like.

So, don’t be afraid of the “end.” Give your fear of failure a big old middle finger, and then start anyway.

Because following your dreams isn’t about the dream, it’s about following it.

Fuck shouldn’t.

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