As a woman who knows what she wants, I have very clear dreams for my future, and I am willing to work my butt off in order achieve them. Sacrifice, hard work and pinching pennies are just a part of dream chasing. That chase is great and is important, but too much chasing can exhaust a person to the point of quitting. I’ve learned that slowing down the ‘dream chase’ to a ‘dream-stroll’ is a must for success.
Last year I decided that it was extremely important for me to finish my bachelor’s degree not only for my future, but also for my self-confidence and personal sense of accomplishment. So I gave up my independence and chose to live with my parents, cut my spending down to a meager fraction, and forfeited much of my free time to finally accomplish this life goal. When a mind is ambitions, it is amazing what it’s capable of doing – or not doing – in order to achieve our objectives.
As a returning college student, I didn’t want to drag out schooling for too long. I wanted to obtain my degree and then get going on pursuing all my other big dreams. So I did what many other hurried college students do: I loaded myself up on way too many credits! If I rushed myself, I could graduate… are you ready… a whole two months earlier! Two months. By driving myself crazy with too much work for 16 weeks, I could graduate 8 weeks earlier. Any reasonable human being could see that this may be counterintuitive. After I received a syllabus from each professor, I instantly felt overwhelmed about the work that would be required of me over the semester.
I had a choice: Either I could push myself hard…too hard. Get anxiety attacks, have no social interaction, and gain 15 pounds from stress eating Peanut M&Ms. But graduate a little earlier = achieve my dream quicker. Or I could pace myself. Keep pushing toward the goal, but allow space for friends, rest, fun, and some much needed gym time. And still achieve my dream.
The decision was made to drop a class. The dream is still in progress, but necessary ‘me time’ was gained. Allowing ourselves to become unhurried reminds us that we are human beings and not machines.
As much as it is okay to quit sometimes when we are overwhelmed and overexerted, it is also okay to slow down. When we have goals and lean into them, we are greatly benefitting and enriching our lives. Ambitious people are successful people. But even the most driven dream-chasers have to slow down sometimes. Making time for yourself is not stopping; slowing down is reminding ourselves that relationships, hobbies, and downtime are not only important but necessary. When we spend every single second and every single day pursuing our goals, we will undoubtedly reach them – but at what cost? No one wants to lose their friends, hobbies and sanity while overdoing it. We can want it all, but we can’t have anything if we kill ourselves with too much work and no rest or play.
We are the generation of dream chasers, naturally driven and ambitious. With that, we must know our limitations. We must know that our dreams will still be there if we back off a bit. So for my fellow dream-chasers – keep on working, but know your limitations. Slowing down is never failure; sometimes slowing down may be the only way to fully live out those dreams.