We all want it, don’t we?
The car, the house, the 2.3 kids. They mean something. They mean you’ve achieved status. They mean you’re somebody. They mean you get to live in the pretty neighborhoods that keep all the ugly things out. They mean you don’t have to flip burgers for a living. They mean — you’re happy.
But what if something happens on the way to happy? And something always happens.
I started chasing the American dream in college. Fascinated with nature and the outdoors, I headed to LSU to get my masters in wildlife biology. I thought my life was pretty well planned out. People with degrees get all the good jobs and don’t have to worry about a thing anymore. Or so I thought…
Then the recession hit. You had to have a Ph.D. just to get an entry-level field job. I took whatever I could get. Along the Gulf Coast, it was all chemical plants and refineries. They paid well, but I ended up doing work I hated in unhealthy environments around people I loathed.
I made money. By some standards, I had it all. But I was miserable. I thought the American dream was all about amassing wealth and things. And then getting more wealth so you could buy more things. So why wasn’t it enough?
When would it ever be enough?
I needed MY OWN dream.
There’s a part of us that knows when it’s enough. It’s an empty space that only we know how to fill. Call it your life’s work, your destiny, your passion. Even if you never get paid for it, it’s something you love. And it fulfills you.
There’s a part of us that needs to chase our own dream.
As a writer, I needed to give a voice to the part of me that wanted to be heard. I needed to be seen. I needed to let the world know that I’m here too.
The first time I published an article on a huge authority site, everything changed for me. Mondays got easier. My boss didn’t look so threatening. It didn’t matter that not having a window office wasn’t fair.
I was doing work I loved. Work that mattered. And I didn’t even have to quit my job or risk losing my income. I did it right away.
Do work you love.
Chasing your dream is the one thing you need to keep you going. Whether you’re an admin, a programmer, a lawyer, hold on to the work that gives you meaning and importance.
No dream will ever be enough if it’s not YOUR OWN dream.
Your job pays your bills. That’s a good thing for you. But it’s not the only thing. You weren’t meant to use all of your time making someone else rich and happy. Stop waiting for permission to chase your dream. The only thing you need to decide is — who’s dream will you follow?
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