Just follow your dreams.

I am so tired of hearing this sentiment, and for multiple reasons.  First, a little history.

When I was a teenager, I bought into the whole “if you think it, you can do it” mentality. I worked very hard and enjoyed doing it. I had great grades, a super grade point average, and was the favorite of all the teachers. “Stop bragging,” you may be saying. You’d be totally wrong.

I had no friends and socialized in a combination of avoidance and verbal acid. I developed a very serious anxiety disorder and several physical health problems.  I ended up dropping out of school at the end of my sophomore year.  Or maybe it was the beginning of my junior year.. I can’t remember. The thing is, I don’t remember much of that time except that I was constantly studying – and sleeping. I didn’t do anything recreationally – I just lived and breathed schoolwork.

I did my homework (and all extra work) on the bus ride to and from school, at my lunch hour, during study hall (when everyone else was napping), and at any time I was home and not eating or doing chores. I have worked hard to not regret these years as much as I used to. I keep thinking of the opportunities that passed me by: fun times with people, a part time job to help out, and maybe – just maybe – a healthier person overall.

This experiences, and the fallout afterwards, has brought me to a point in life where I can appreciate a “all is for naught” attitude. It is dangerous to delve too deeply into the depression that such an attitude can bring about. In order to counterbalance this, I turn it into kind of a philosophical state of mind. I’d talk about Nihilism and the implications of it on life, but I think that may be a bit too much for all involved (including myself).

Here’s Today’s Lesson: Yes, by all means, follow your dreams. It’s hard work to get there. Just sitting around dreaming about it won’t get you anywhere. Still, be sure to enjoy life itself.  Don’t “put your nose to the grindstone” all of the time. Talk to people and truly enjoy being in their company. Take part in solo and group recreational activities. Learn about the environment you live in (small town, big city, countryside) and come to appreciate all it has to offer.  Life is precious and it’s too short to be chasing something you think you need or want. Instead, enjoy what you already have.  It’s far more rewarding.

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