Today, I was having a conversation with a friend about life goals and dreams. I get pretty starry-eyed when I talk about the future because I see life as something that is constantly changing with endless possibilities. Yeah, I have my bad days, but I always try to see the future as something malleable. The future is partly in my control. My friend believes that goals and dreams are separate, that goals require practicality and realism. Maybe I’m too much of a dreamer, but I see a dream as a lofty goal, one that only requires organization and perseverance to obtain. Cynicism and I don’t get along very well. I’m forever an optimist, but I’m also ambitious, driven, and motivated. There is almost nothing that I consider to be out of my reach.
There are countless life events and accomplishments that I never would have achieved if I allowed myself to believe that dreams are untouchable. I never would have gotten so many medals in choral competitions. I never would have traveled to Spain. I never would have gotten through college with the highest honors. I never would have lost 90 pounds on my own.
Perspective is endlessly important when considering our dreams. Dreams may be so big that they’re not attainable in a day, a month, or even a year, but dreams are realistic and practical if we believe they are. That sounds cheesy, but whatever. I’m not trying to be Mary Margaret; I’m just saying that if there’s one thing I have learned throughout my young adult life it’s that we are only ever far away from our goals and dreams if we never try.
I get it. You’ve been shot down, let down, torn down, and disappointed. The people who used to be your heroes might have fallen. The goals you’ve set before may never have been met. My heroes fell too. I’ve been there, at the bottom, hoping it really is the bottom.
Look closer, squint your eyes if you have to, and see that a dream and a goal can be one.
Anyone who knows me or has read my past blogs knows that I have strong ties with Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s a 12 step program that all begins with the ability to admit we have problems. We take small steps to attain large goals. That’s all a dream needs, the vision to reveal the smaller steps we need to get to the finish line.
One day, I’d like to have a Masters and PhD in nutrition or dietetics. One day, I’d like to live in the UK or Germany for a while. I’d like to be fluent in German. One day, I’d like to look back at my life and know that I never missed an opportunity for growth and awareness. These are all things that I believe I can see through.
My journey with weight loss started this way. I knew I had a long road ahead of me and many pounds to shed. Optimistically, I thought I should be able to lose all that weight in a year and a half. Now, four years later, I am still not there. That’s okay. I started small, by walking, by eating a little less, and now I can kick ass with the best of them in boot camp. I can run miles. I can lift heavy things and put them back down. My journey was as much mental as it was physical. I learned to view food as fuel. I learned try and focus on the things I like about my body rather than the things that reminded me of fat me. I learned that fat goggles are a real thing. I learned that my weight and body fat content are not a reflection of my worth. I learned that I can do anything if I take it one step, one day, one thing at a time.
Like they say in AA, “Keep coming back, it works if you work it.”
Persistence. Dedication. Optimism. These are the things that lead me toward success. Cynicism? Not a damn bit of it.
“All I ask is one thing, and I’m asking this particularly of young people: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism, for the record, it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”
― Conan O’Brien