When Dreams Collide – Monday Motivation #38

What do you do when dreams collide?Dreams Collide

This post is a unique one in that it is an open discussion (I hope) between you and I.  I hope you will take time to comment and give me your thoughts and suggestions.

Families are made up of individuals

Picture this:

You love the job you presently have, but your spouse receives a dream job offer in a foreign place.

There are so many things to consider… do you have children?  What will their education be like? How about our pets?  What about family: being near yours or theirs and how drastic will the separation be? And friends… and established life … and so on and so on.

But what if you remove everything exterior to the two of you?  What if you were both only-child orphans?  Does that change the perspective?  I think you now focus on things like: What of your job and career goals? Are they less important than your spouse’s?  Less urgent?  Perhaps you’ll decide to continue down your career path / continue pursuing your goals while your spouse departs for a time to pursue theirs.  That feels like a choice between two points of intense joy for you: 1) being in the company and affection of your spouse or 2) achieving your own professional pinnacle.

So how do we navigate these situations?

Recently I was faced with a scenario like this.  I was considering travel abroad.  I dreamt of it and planned for it.  And then my son was selected for a prestigious theater ensemble that he’s been dreaming of for quite some time.

For him to pursue that program, much of our time and focus will be spent on balancing school work and theater responsibilities.  The mother in me recognizes the importance of his dream and absolutely can’t wait to proudly support that dream.  The woman inside me is deeply disappointed for having to delay the travel I’ve personally dreamed of for years.

It’s a dilemma that all families come to even in routine daily scenarios: one person wants to go out for dinner, another wants to stay in and eat a home-cooked meal; one person wants to go to the movies, another wants a sporting event and yet another wants to stay home and read a book.

Navigating these situations is such a part of the human existence. Often they can be simply solved: “John, you go to the movies while I read my book and then we will have dinner together later and talk over each of our adventures.”

Other times, the compromise is less readily accessible.

Communication seems the only way through.  Communication that comes from love and rests in the open space people two people such that they each can see both sides of the thing and then individually come to an understanding that supports and loves the individuals while also staying mindful of the beautiful joint venture that is their loving relationship.

Simply put, that’s not always easy and the outcome isn’t always abundantly joyful.

It’s all in your head

So then what do we do when the dreams that collide are both within the same person? What happens when YOU have two dreams that are banging against one another, vying for your time, attention and resources?  How do you address that scenario?

One common example is when a woman who wants desperately to be a mother and yet she is mid-climb in her career and wants to find success there as well.

I’m presently at that kind of crossroads and have been contemplating it for weeks now.

Last November, three of us contrived a story – a plot that I immediately fell in love with and that we spent weeks fleshing out.  Truth is that venture has taken us through months of brainstorming and has now involved the help of friends and family such that the story grows and gains more depth and meaning.  I love this young adult fantasy that I’m working on with so many co-conspirators and I cannot wait to share it with the world.

And yet I’ve also been blogging avidly, increasing the frequency and love with which I post.  My website is beautiful to me – a public place to present my self love and inspire others to find theirs.  It is warm and full and grounding.  I look forward to posting and to seeing the response of others.

But in the past few weeks, I’ve come to notice that my blog and my manuscript cannot both have the same hours in my day.  They cannot both receive my undivided love and attention.

And to make matters  worse, I have a consultation job looming in the very near future that will take even more of my time.

Lately, the blog has been “winning” my time and energy.  And the Project Totem has received little, if any attention at all.  And yet that dream looms large – so large that just the thought of it makes me feel good – happy at the thought of writing it, happy at the idea of making maps and drawing images of the characters, of interacting with the public about it, of fashioning setting and dialogue.

I feel guilty for neglecting it.

I feel the scrape of anticipation as it rubs against cinder-block-stagnation over and over again.

I’m raw in those spots.

I look over at my blog … and I feel a sense of obligation – obligation somehow cuts the joy of it, acid washing the happiness with an unnamed negative feeling.

As I struggle to make a decision, I thought that surely others feel similar strife in their lives – surely others struggle to find balance between all of their loves – and maybe this week’s post should be about picking one’s way through the difficult decisions life puts in front of us.

A Temporary Solution

I’ve had that open conversation that happens between two people whose dreams collide – but I’ve had it with myself, opening up all my loving feelings about myself, my dreams and the desire to succeed at both while accepting the reality that that cannot happen under the present construct.

Today, I accept that Project Totem deserves more time and attention, I feel drawn to it and know that my soul is reaching for it; I’ve ignored that beseeching for too long.

Today, I forgive myself for the times when the blog may not be done on its present schedule.

Today, I know that things will be OK even if I cannot fulfill my own self-imposed blogging schedule every week.

Today, I love and accept myself and all my dreams and I look forward to seeing what this new journey reveals to me.

Where you come in

I would love your thoughts and input on how you deal with conflicting dreams in your lives.  What do you do to address the points of tension and find harmony in all the beautiful things you love to do.  Please comment below – I could definitely use your thoughts and suggestions.

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15 responses to “When Dreams Collide – Monday Motivation #38”

  1. Jenn Alex Brockman says :

    I run into that all the time. I have a child with autism who can’t fully care for herself and probably never will. Her father is present, but not a full time care-taker and has his own debilitating health issues.

    My dreams were put on hold, and are every day, when I remember that she can’t even take a shower on her own.

    • Exalted Peacock says :

      Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Raising our children is so important – even more so when they’ve got special needs and requirements.

  2. Stephanie @ From the Burbs to the Boonies says :

    Oh boy, a few scenarios like this really affected my first marriage. His job meant always moving – or rather he felt like it needed to – and I began to become resentful of it. We did not communicate properly and were not able to work out our differences. What helps me now is prayer. I pray about everything and when I make a decision I am much better able to accept it, live with it, embrace it and barrel right into it. I am also learning to understand there is a “season” for various things in life. I am super excited to hear about this young adult fantasy as I totally loved Harry Potter, Hunger Games and the like. I’d love to keep up on the comments here, but I cannot find any button to click that says “Receive follow up comments” 😦

    • Exalted Peacock says :

      I LOVE what you said about beginning to resent the “dream-chasing” our significant other is doing. It really does highlight the conflict between loving ourselves enough to put ourselves first but ALSO loving our family enough to compromise.
      We shall see what the next few weeks hold in terms of the “book versus blog” saga. I’m trying all kinds of techniques to keep both running efficiently, but … as I mentioned, I’m struggling with it.

      As for the book, You can expect I will put up a category in my blog for the Book (current working title “Project Totem”) and will likely create a Facebook page for it soon enough (a couple things as yet undone b/c of the above-mentioned … oh, you get it! 🙂 I am even thinking about putting up a kickstarter and/or interacting on other forums so people can help name characters or help infuse the plot with their own twists.

      • Stephanie @ From the Burbs to the Boonies says :

        Well, unfortunately it can become lop-sided if the people don’t communicate enough. There is a season for one person’s dreams, but then the other’s needs should be met too when the time is right.

      • Exalted Peacock says :

        It is so true that communication is vital. I’d say that it is the glue that makes relationships work – no matter what the topic of conversation.

  3. Stephanie @ From the Burbs to the Boonies says :

    Yay! I can follow comments now 🙂 Thanks, that’s great.

  4. Bonnie says :

    Hey girl!

    Love what you’ve done with this website and the remarkable journey you’ve made from those awkward teen years of self discovery to the brilliant, independent and confident woman you are today. So proud of you!

    I believe what might be tormenting you in your decision making is guilt derived from what you might perceive as being “selfish”, and “selfishness” is bad right? Well, if you’ve watched the movie Eat, Pray Love with Julia Roberts, you might relate with author Elizabeth Gilbert as she journeyed through self discovery but had to make a lot of decisions which others thought were selfish and controversial. Essentially, she learns about selfishness and breaking free from the guilt associated with it by redefining the notion of what selfishness means and how it might apply to her unique situation in order to free herself from the guilt in pursuing her own personal journey of self discovery. What I find remarkable, is that she learned a different perspective from Mandarin Chinese, that there are two meanings for selfish. One meaning is doing what is beneficial to you, the other meaning is hoarding, greedy and cruel.

    Now, I’m not saying to just pack up and leave everything and everyone behind with a “See ya! Wouldn’t wanna be ya!” mentality LOL. What you need to ask yourself about your own journey into the future is, “is what you are doing going to be of benefit to you, or are you being greedy, cruel or hoarding?” There should be no guilt in attempting to do something that you believe would benefit you to make your life more enjoyable or to gain wisdom or improve life for your family or to simply Carpe Diem! Even if it’s just that you desire to improve yourself like wanting to go to the gym or take up painting or buy a new wardrobe. Some people might not want you doing those things and it’s something I know you’ve struggled with for a long time…You only have one life, and no one can live it but YOU! YOU are the CAPTAIN of your ship, You always have been, and if you have a desire to set sail, as long as it does not do harm or give hardship or create pain to another individual, you should feel at ease to go… if not for an extended length of time, you could achieve your dream in bits and pieces and give yourself the opportunity to do for YOU so you can be a better person within and towards those you love. To withhold the privilege of allowing yourself happiness and pursuit of your dreams because of someone else, may inevitably lead to regret and resentment which is the opposite of what you desire to achieve in life.

    Don’t wait until you’re old, incapacitated and unable to pursue your dreams or no longer inclined. Do what you can, while you can, when you can….

    Cheers, Heather!

    • Exalted Peacock says :

      Bonnie, thank you so much. Your comments are so appreciated.

      I’m proud of what I’ve done so far in life and look forward to following this new path. At this moment, the issue seems to be a short term one internal to me: blog or book. One must suffer for the other to blossom. My desire to travel can be taken in tiny snippets for the time being while my son follows this dream. There will come a time when those two will need to be meted out, but until then, I write.

      Therein lies the biggest current issue: I’ve got at least a year or two to captain this writer ship as a blogger or the architect of a six book epic series. I love the book series 🙂 but it’s daunting and will be an opus of sorts. And blogging is fun and self affirming right now 🙂 but it distracts me from this bigger cooler project that I KNOW will be amazing.

      Your comments helped me scope the problem much better…I can see much more clearly.

      Thanks so much. When I get to that bigger issue, I’m sure I will look back to these comments again

  5. Vedo says :

    I’d like to lead with my own belief that sacrifice is the ultimate, greatest love in my eyes—especially when it is done to deliberately advance someone/something else and it isn’t just an obligatory feeling. With that same thought (although I don’t speak from experience), I also believe that being a mother is already a sacrifice in itself and requires a lifetime of dedication. Being a mother is a constant responsibility and even if you are able to balance your time, the truth is you still won’t be giving 100% to just one thing. I think the answer first lies within your true passion for a particular career path. Does your true passion lean towards what you did for 24 years in the AF? Do you give weight to that career path because of the time invested or because you truly enjoy it? Do you enjoy that path more than being able to write freely? I always link to the past in moments like that. I try to relive the moments…especially the highlights and definitely the more challenging ones as well. Compare that to what you are doing now. I feel there must be something in there that makes you smile a little more than the rest. I say go with that and then build your other goals around that for self-satisfaction. If you truly follow your passion, I think the rest will fall more easily into place.

    As for your son, I think it’s wonderful that you are still wanting to sacrifice so much to make his dream come true. I don’t know the circumstances around it, but will this opportunity completely take you away from the things you still want to accomplish? It sounds like it is definitely a timeline issue, but then what about TIMING issues? Is this something that he will not likely be able to experience again? Is your pending job offer ultimately where you want to “peak” in your career? Do you feel that maybe just traveling abroad anyway would open up more or less opportunities for BOTH of you? More importantly, is one thing just a segway to another?

    Here it comes, BLUF!!! Lol. Do you happily pursue/advance your career in writing while he advances his with this opportunity… or do you utilize work experience to end up abroad and expose your son to new opportunities of similar interest? To have self-satisfaction, I think you just need to find out where most of your sacrifices lie between the both of you—individually and as a whole. I probably just confused or conflicted you even more and I hope I didn’t talk in circles too much, but maybe there was a light in there somewhere 🙂 I love you and you are an awesome mother with a very intelligent son. I am positive that whatever sacrifices/compromise you two make individually and together, you will choose happiness overall. Remember, you are just looking for that one, big smile! 😀

    • Exalted Peacock says :

      You really hit the nail on the head when you said: “Do you happily pursue/advance your career in writing while he advances his with this opportunity… or do you utilize work experience to end up abroad and expose your son to new opportunities of similar interest? To have self-satisfaction, I think you just need to find out where most of your sacrifices lie between the both of you.”
      1. While I’m good at what I do/did for the military, my professional goals there have been satisfied. (your questions in the first part of your comment were perfect for helping me nail that down).
      2. Writing is my love now…and I really do feel good when I do it.
      3. Being in a European space… (blink blink…wide eyed)

      Yeah, like I told Bonnie (in the comment next to yours), that conversation can wait, must wait for a year or two more.

      I’m looking at the “little picture” …the “near rocks” of book or blog…and struggling even with that…and it’s all inside ME – there is no second person..ugh.

      Thanks so much for your comments…they really are helpful in brainstorming a tough topic.

  6. Regina Partain says :

    Good morning Heather. First, let me say that I love your writing style. You truly are gifted. That said, all of your writing, books and blog, share those talents with others.

    My solution to dilemmas in my life generally follows the construct of making a list of the pros and cons of a situation, i.e. ” If I do this, then the pros and cons are this”. Following the making of that list, I study it out in my mind. I then make a decision and go to the Lord in prayer for confirmation of that decision. If I do not receive that confirmation and am still confused, I walk through the process again. If I am still confused, or doubting, then I know I have made the wrong decision. If, on the other hand, I receive that confirmation through the feelings of the spirit, I move forward.

    If others are involved, or perhaps impacted by this decision, then we go through this process together. We will usually, independently, receive the same answer to our prayers. Then, we truly know we are on the right path.

    What I find when we do this is that we are all ‘good’ with the choice. We were all a part of it and we sought the Lord’s direction. If we are going in the direction He wants us to go, we can’t go wrong.

    As a suggestion, could you change your blogging schedule to a less frequent schedule, even if it is only once every couple of weeks (we would all love to hear how things are going for you and blogging about it would catch us all up), and thus be able to devote more time to the writing project?

    While I want you to choose the path the Lord has for you, I truly don’t want to see your ‘voice’ go totally away from the blogging world. I love your blog and the communication that you establish with the rest of us. I always look forward to your comments on my blog. (selfish of me, perhaps – lol).

    I am hoping that you will be able to find ‘your path’ and find joy in that path.

    • Exalted Peacock says :

      Thank you so much for lending your voice to this discussion. I enjoy reading your blog as well. 🙂
      There is a sense of community in blogging that isn’t available in writing a book. One is a very social activity while the other is really a solitary endeavor until the work in going thru editing. I love both. At heart, I am a social, gregarious person and I love any interaction with others; but writing a novel really almost requires seclusion — at least for part of the time – so that I can submerge myself in this other world of characters and settings that don’t match the one I live in.
      Your comments are helpful still. 🙂 I am a huge proponent of the pros and cons list. In fact, when this first began, my best friend suggested it in a tongue-in-cheek/taste-of-your-own-medicine kind of way. (I do love when she takes my advice and dishes it back onto MY plate. lol).
      I think I will likely blog less and write more. Maybe disciplining myself thru a schedule of some sort.
      Thank you so much for stopping by – you are part of my blogging family and I love the time we spend checking in; it is nice to see that transcend to this place of advice and support in a different way.

  7. Alice M. says :

    I find myself in this situation right now. On one hand, I want to be better trained as a marital and family therapist and know that is what I am called to at the moment. On the other hand, I want to go back and do what I am passionate about, which is merging therapy with the Christian faith, and going back to work with the non-profit Christian organization that I’ve worked with for the past 9 years full-time. And so what’s going on now is I work and commute to my job as a marital and family therapist 7AM-7PM, and then I go straight to my other job afterwards…and I’m tired! And I still want to devote time to my blog!!

    What I’ve had to realize is that at least for the time being, one dream has to be put on hold temporarily and that’s okay. Because it’s not fair for both to have a half-assed crap version of me. Wherever I am, I want to be all there, and I want to do my work well.

    For me, what it comes down to is asking myself, what is it that I am responsible now? What is most urgent? And then letting myself be okay that everything else falls to the background. Because not everything can be the priority.

    • Exalted Peacock says :

      I appreciate that you are dealing with something similar and were willing to share. It’s crazy to me how we struggle to be all things to all people (including ourselves).
      I feel like I committed to blogging and it doesn’t take “that” much time. And yet when you factor in life, errands, kid stuff and so on, my book becomes this pipe dream despite that fact that I feel most driven to do it at the moment.
      The kinds of things I ask myself are:
      1. Am I failing to meet my commitments if I don’t blog 3 times a week like I scheduled / advertised? (and if so, what does that say about me?)
      2. Is my book really going to be the success I think that it will? ((This is the root of the problem, I think. A fear of success itself…hmmm))
      3. If I write the book and allow the blog to fail, what happens if/when the book isn’t everything I expected it to be? (And what does that say about me?)
      When I looked at my inner thoughts / questions, I realized that I am spending lots of time worrying about “what does that say about me?” Or more specifically worrying about what people will say about me… what will my reputation be.

      That sort of changes the discussion altogether. It makes it less about dreams and more about insecurities.

      And so we come full circle to the whole reason why I write this blog: it’s an active way to stay fully engaged in positive self-talk and uplifting self esteem messages so that I can continue to step away from lifelong habituation of negative self-images and self-talk.

      For now, I’m trying to more strictly control my time and my schedule so that I can have time – DEDICATED time – for both. And in the meantime, I am preparing myself emotionally to release some blogging days … to slow down and allow myself the time to work on my book. Yes .. … it still takes time to emotionally brace myself (we’ll call that “time to muzzle my inner naysayer”).

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for commenting and sharing your personal story

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