Dreaming again in your thirties…

dreaming again in thirties

It’s been awhile since I dreamed happy dreams.

In fact, the past few years have had their fair share of both figurative and literal nightmares.

Trauma from past relationships, work woes, doubts about my faith, and health scares have kept me awake for countless nights. In addition to being physically tired, I feel emotionally, spiritually, and mentally exhausted. What has brought me to this point?

The daily duties of life can take their toll, especially if you ever stop to question exactly what you’re doing and why and can’t find a good answer.

Does your life look different than what you thought it would?

I imagined by now I’d have a family of my own and a successful writing career. I pictured happily writing away at my desk during naptimes, while children were away at school, and even more when they flew the nest. I thought I’d find a partner to support my dreams while I’d support his. I thought together we would figure out budgeting, retirement goals, when it was the right time to buy a house, and other important life decisions. While I’m capable of doing things on my own (honestly, I often prefer it), sometimes it’d be nice to not have to do everything alone, you know?

All the hard work of graduating from college, landing a corporate job, paying off debt, and building a savings was done with the notion of soon being able to pursue what I was passionate about, alongside the people I was crazy about.

Yet here I am, in my mid-thirties, single with no children, hesitant to ever trust in love again, working a highly stressful corporate job, with no writing accomplishments to speak of, and wondering what went wrong.

Part of it admittedly is my own lack of personal discipline. Could I have pursued writing on the side? Absolutely. Could I have dedicated more time to getting out there and meeting new people? No doubt.

However, I’ve personally discovered how easy it is to succumb to burn out.

In the corporate world, little carrots are constantly dangled in front of you, promises of bonuses and promotions if you just work harder and longer hours. Before you know it, your creativity and energy have gone to building someone else’s vision and there’s little left for your own.

One too many bad first dates or break-ups also have a way of diminishing your drive to keep putting yourself out there. Or to believe a healthy, loving relationship is even possible in this day and age.

To be vulnerable and dream again after having your heart broken and hopes shattered takes a tremendous amount of courage.

Sometimes it’s easier to cling to whatever you currently have because even if it’s not what you truly want, at least you have something. Letting go of the tangible for the elusive is a scary step.

Maybe like me, you’ve realized that we often put more effort into securing what the world says we should have, or should achieve, instead of pursuing what really brings us joy.

To those looking in from the outside, they’d probably assume I was living my dream life. Sure, those who wish for marriage and children might be disappointed if still single, but what freedoms they enjoy! And that’s true. I have many freedoms and opportunities that my married friends with young children currently do not. I have many things that I am truly grateful for that I don’t want to take for granted. I have a stable job, healthcare, a comfortable place to live, good friends, and family nearby.

In fact, I feel a sense of guilt for daring to say I want something else. But I’m attempting to dream again and learning it’s okay to change direction.

Maybe I don’t need the big corporate job with the big corporate paycheck to afford the big house someday. Maybe I am okay with a smaller paycheck and never owning real estate so I can spend more of my hours doing the things I love and being with the people I love. Maybe it’s even possible to have more time and more money if I’m willing to venture out of my comfort zone and try something new.

Maybe I’m ready to accept that marriage and children aren’t a part of my story. Accepting that opens up so many other possibilities I can explore. Or perhaps I’ll accept that a child will enter the picture by different means than originally planned. Or maybe I’ll decide to give love another chance. Maybe it’s okay to change my mind on the daily.

Maybe even though a large part of me craves stability, I’ll be a little reckless because it might just be worth the risk. I won’t know unless I try.

What about you? Is there something you’ve been wanting to change for a long time but keep putting off because you’re too mentally, physically, or emotionally exhausted? Perhaps you don’t know where to begin. Or maybe you have real, valid fears that are holding you back. A career change, a relationship decision, prioritizing your health, mastering your finances, finding spiritual peace? Does the thought of changing directions and starting over again at this point in life seem daunting?

Be brave with me and start to dream again!

My current dreams:

  1. Be at peace – spiritually
  2. Be at peace – with my body
  3. Be at peace – with my pursuits
  4. Be at peace – with my finances
  5. Be at peace – with my relationships

My current goals to support my dreams:

  1. Make space in therapy for my doubts, questions, and hurts to be processed, answered, and healed.
  2. Say goodbye to the scale! Evaluate what health habits are worth keeping or starting so I can support my body in ways that are both enjoyable and maintainable, with the freedom to enjoy life without fixating on numbers.
  3. Awaken my passions again. Is writing still one of them? I want the flexibility to travel more and maybe even go back to school abroad to study a second language. Find more ways to support the causes I believe in.
  4. Experiment to see if I can make a living writing so I can quit my current job in the next 30-90 days. Cut costs where I need to and learn more about investing so I can face the future with greater confidence, especially if I decide to leave the corporate world. Look into part-time jobs.
  5. Spend more time with the people I care about. Explore if there’s still room for the possibility of love and/or children.

What are your dreams and goals? Maybe your dream is just to be able to dream again. I fully support this!

Don’t let the nightmares win. If you have today, you have another chance to dream happy dreams. Embrace it.

Here’s to sweet dreams to come.





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