Dreams vs Reality


Many years ago I learned to ice skate. My local rink was bitterly cold and only open six months of the year. The rest of the year I gladly drove an hour or so each way to skate and did this two or three times a week. I even quit my job and moved to another city where I could get better instruction and skate all year round. My typical day was getting up at 4am, on the ice by 5 am, skate for two hours, go to work, and be in bed by 8pm. I was not only a skater but a judge and officer with my local figure skating club. I wasn’t very good but it didn’t matter. I just loved it and arranged my life around it.

Recently I decided to write fiction. This was something I had wanted to do since I was about 15. There was always some other activity that demanded my time and kept me from writing; university, job, family. Now I’m retired and have the time to do what I want. My family encouraged me to write and often asked how or what I was doing. The problem was that I wasn’t doing anything. I’d read or plan but I’d almost never write. I had thought it was because I was afraid of exposing myself to the world and of not living up to my high expectations. I finally realized I wasn’t writing fiction because I didn’t really want to. All those problems, such as not feeling comfortable writing at the computer yet not being able to read my handwriting, were just excuses. If I had wanted to write, I would have found a way to do it.

This dedication and willingness to do something despite all the obstacles and time required separates the achievers from the also-rans. It doesn’t matter if you want to be an artist, an entrepreneur, a stay-at-home mom, or a used car salesman. If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way to do it. Finding what that something is brings a great sense of satisfaction and happiness.

What is hard is giving up on a dream after you realize you don’t have the drive and ambition to make it happen. That you are in love with the idea rather than the reality. You see it often this time of year as new year’s resolutions fade away. This year I didn’t make a resolution to lose weight or get fit because I know that, while I like the idea, I’m not willing to do what it takes to achieve the goal. On one of the old Star Trek television shows (Star Trek, season 2, episode 1 (“Amok Time,” 1968)) Spock tells his ex-fiancée’s lover “After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but is often true.” If you’re not accomplishing what you set out to do, see if the problems are genuine obstacles or merely excuses.