Dreams & Regrets

Read this through. It’s an important one.

I’m currently ill and lying in bed writing (netbooks rule). It first started three weeks ago with coughing that only got worse until I lost my voice. Then last week I was almost fine, went to work and all (perhaps too early). And this Sunday it came back, along with a really bad stomach. I went to the doctor yesterday who believed that I have gotten two different virus infections right after another. So nothing to do but rest and wait.
Which got me thinking.

When I am incapacitated and unable to do things actively, I long for them more, which is part of human nature. But when I am available to do them, I often don’t. I think people in general is spending way more time and energy dreaming about things than on actually fulfilling those dreams.
Example: I have wanted to go to Japan since I was 16, but didn’t do it until last year, and then only upon a suggestion from M. Of course, when I was 16 I couldn’t afford it. But what about when I was 21 or later? I could easily have saved up for it then if i was only motivated enough. But I think that’s exactly the problem. As I grow older, my motivation grows weaker and I spend more time longing and dreaming that doing.

So I am trying to change.
I don’t want to look back on my life and regret all the things I didn’t do, all the opportunities to try new things that I passed. I don’t mean to be fully dedicated to everything I do in your life, that’s likely impossible, but at least try things.

When we are children, we think “I wish I was a grown-up so that I could do this and that”. But why is it that when we reach adulthood, we often don’t do those things? Are we simply afraid that we will seem childish to do so, or are we so institutionalized that we cannot step outside the box for a moment and see other possibilities?
What did you say when you were a child?

-When I grow up I’m going to stay up all night watching all the Police Academy movies and eat ice cream!
-When I grow up I’m going to be a fireman and an inventor!
-When I grow up I’m going to have a green motorcycle!
-When I grow up I’m going to buy a pinball machine and have it in my living room next to my popcorn machine!
-When I grow up I’m going to go to Okinawa to learn Karate!

So what happened? Did the dreams disappear or are they still there, deep down? Think about what is stopping you from fulfilling those dreams. Money? Space? Time?

No, think again. What is really stopping you. Is it fear of ridicule? Fear of losing your safe, stable position in life? Does it mean quitting your job, leaving your apartment and go into the unknown?

Or are you simply not motivated enough? Do you not want it as much as you did as a child, or do you suppress that wish?

Think of it this way; When you are old and look back at your life, what will you most regret?

  1. That you took that crazy trip where you met all those people and saw all those awesome things?
  2. That you finally bought that car you had been dreaming of for 25 years?
  3. That you stepped up and spoke your mind no matter what other people thought?
  4. That you took that course and learned how to speak that language?
  5. That you recorded that album and released it independently when you at first didn’t get a contract?
  6. That you didn’t do any of the above?

I have a feeling most of us is waiting for something to happen, that we can ride the wave, follow the flow. But most of the time life doesn’t happen that way, not if you want to experience what you really want.  You have to start things yourself, make your own plans and sometimes dare ignore the unwritten rules on how things should be done.

So what have I done to follow my dreams? Not enough, it feels like. But the last year I have probably visited more countries than in my entire life, and in the last couple of months I have taken some decisions that will affect my near future at least:

  • I have applied for a driver’s license permit for a motorcycle and is currently looking to buy one. Might not happen until spring, but it will happen. As I said 15 years ago I would.
  • I have decided to study Japanese and eventually go back there.
  • I will sometime this week buy a cake and eat in bed for no reason more than that I enjoyed it as a child on my birthdays. And I don’t have to wait for my birthday if I don’t want to.

I am grown up now and can do what I want to do. I can be who I want to be. I can learn what I want to know. I can experience what I want to see. I can create what my imagination decides. And so can you. You only have  to want it enough and don’t be afraid.

I sincerely hope I can keep this up. I hope I will still be able to think this way 30 years from now.

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14 years ago

Yes! Thanks for that! (and do get well soon! I want beer!!)

.. and, I started learning Japanese 1-2 weeks ago, again, and having you doing it as well might help me not giving up this time. Yay!