Last night a friend said to me, "I think you're amazing, but with that said, you don't have to accomplish everything within a certain time frame. Why can't it take years to accomplish your dreams? You can be settled in life and still pursue what you desire." I understood what he was saying, and I knew it came from a heartfelt concern about how much I've been pushing. The last four months haven't been about romping around the world or even taking time to relax and enjoy life, my time has been spent pushing for my biggest career goals. I've felt like I've needed to add three more days to each week.
I didn't know how to explain why I push as hard as I do or why I don't want to stop actively pursuing my list.
This morning, I found my journal from three years ago. In the first entry, I wrote, My prison is of my own making. I feel like life hurts and I don't like myself anymore. I'm afraid of losing the security I have in my relationship and financially. I'm terrified that I'll mess up my life if I go after what I really desire. I take care of everyone else first and if I decide to take care of me will I still be loved?
As I read the entry, I wanted to go back in time and shake the woman who wrote those words. Back then I spent hours planning trips and thinking about going after my dreams only to find excuses: my relationship would suffer; I'd be homesick; it cost too much; etc.
When I created my list, I was the woman who wrote that she'd made her own prison. By actively pursuing my dreams, I metamorphosed into the woman I always wanted to be. The excuses ended. Life became beautiful and joyful with a few dark clouds of pain that were lifted quickly by my own sunlight. I learned to spoil myself and in return found an amazing group of friends who loved me not for what I could give them, but for who I am.
I now know that going after what means the most will always come with doubt and fear. If everything I've been working for doesn't come to fruition - my book doesn't get published, no one ever looks at this website, I don't accomplish the rest of my dreams - I might feel like the work I've done was a waste of time. But at least I'll know that it wasn't because I put myself in a prison of my own making. I will be able to say that I gave everything I had for the chance to have everything I desired.
I just realized that I've accomplished another dream: to give my heart completely to all that I do. I think I'm proud of this dream more than the others because it definitely took the most courage to accomplish.