Defining "The Dream"

I have a friend who refers to the pursuit of one’s utmost passions as following “the dream”. “How’s the dream going?” she’ll ask. I love the way she phrases this question. It’s presented in such an ordinary way- the same way someone may casually ask, “How’s work? How’s your new dog? How’s your family?” It’s a friendly check-in.

“How’s the dream going?” It’s a question that makes me feel like I’m being held accountable to following through, and staying in line with my heart. It’s as if “The Dream” is something concrete, being lived currently, in the present. It’s not something totally out of the realm based in fantasy or something related to chance, like winning the lottery. The Dream is something you work for, and something you choose to do or pursue because you’re passionate about it.

The Dream for me, is designing and making jewellery. It has taken me a long time to pin down and define my dream, and to be comfortable saying it aloud.

Over the years, I have felt a certain amount of unease, and sometimes even guilt over my chosen field. As a designer, as an artist, and as a jeweller, I have grappled with many difficult thoughts and questions surrounding my practise. The big one (which I still wrestle with often) is “What am I doing with my life?”. Guilt usually starts to flood in with painful remarks like “You’re making things people don’t need. You’re not doing anything to help anyone. You’re not contributing anything important to society”.  

Well then. I guess I may as well pack it all in. 

But I never do, because I’ve come to realize that doing what I love helps me be the best and most authentic version of myself. Doing what I love makes me feel energized, and open-minded, and eager to engage with those around me in a positive light. Feeling good in your own heart helps those around you to feel good also. 

I’m currently reading a book called Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. To be honest, it’s not the most profound book I’ve delved into recently, but Gilbert does offer some refreshing thoughts and perspectives about living a creative life. This particular passage really resounded with me:

“It’s okay if your work is fun for you, is what I’m saying. It’s also okay if your work is healing for you, or fascinating for you, or redemptive for you, or if it’s maybe just a hobby that keeps you from going crazy. It’s even okay if your work is totally frivolous. That’s allowed. It’s all allowed.

Your own reasons to create are reason enough. Merely by pursuing what you love, you may inadvertently end up helping us plenty…Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”  

                       Page 101, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. 

Deciding to take my dream more seriously, and to make it a more central focus of my life has not been easy. But even on days when I feel discouraged, insecure, or uncertain about my work, I think of how lucky I am to have found my dream, and to have been able to dedicate a lot of time to nurturing it. So when I am asked “How’s the dream going?” I am reminded that I have chosen to pursue something that is very important to me, and that living out that dream in the present is worth working hard for. 

How’s that dream of yours going?