I idolised my dream. I put it up on a pedestal, and I fantasized about it until it became a far-fetched lie, and a life that I’ll never live. My dream became an escape from my dreary daily slump to a nine to five that I’ll never truly thrive in, because I don’t want to.
As I marched to work amongst a dark army of suits, sticky eyes fluttering barely awake, I felt myself slumping into submission and doubting how much I wanted my dream. As dead arms battered umbrellas against hand rails, and zombies pushed me further into a mindless current of moving bodies, breaking free seemed impossible. And a dream seemed like just that: a dream.
Hope tore holes in my heart. Weeks went by. The sun rose and set, and each day that passed, as painfully mediocre as the last, without working on my writing, I lost sight of my dream.
It seemed easier to push along, in the rat race. To become a docile sheep, battered along in the herd, following the same blind path as the others. I laughed, I cried, I smirked, I smiled. But most of the time, I was numb. I wondered what it was all for, and why. I lay in the dark at night, trying to make meaning out of intangible thoughts that didn’t have a shape, because they’re not meant to.
But why did I lose my dream? Because I dressed it up, in feathered hats and fancy dresses. I created an entity that was my dream, until it seemed so entirely unattainable that I couldn’t reach it.
In fact, I could barely see it, it was so bright. Its shine enveloped everything, until I could only see it if I held my hand up over my face to shield my eyes. The idea of the dream became bigger than the dream itself.
I fell in love with my dream. I dreamed about my dream. It felt like a part of me, but a part that I could never reach. I made it sacred, untouchable.
And I was scared to achieve my dream, because what then? What fire would then keep me burning through the darkness? Is it better to remain unfulfilled and always wanting? Perhaps. But I had to try.
Now my dream is just as big, but I keep it hidden like a small, enchanted ember inside of me, not a big, burning, raging sun. I divide it into days and weeks and hours and minutes and it still burns just as strong, but I can look at it. Its fire is still strong enough to burn through the grey days, through rain drops on office windows and the dull concrete slabs that so often threaten to close in on me.
Because it is the little things that matter, not the big. It is the little shining moments in the dark and the slow burning coal which builds the fire. It is walking on the stage, it is a million small smiles and the warm embraces and the tiny courageous steps that make a difference. It is saying no and saying yes and saying, ‘I am good enough’.
It is half an hour today and half an hour tomorrow, and half an hour the day after that, and the day after that. It is picking yourself up after a big setback and going again, because you have no other choice but to push on.
It is a long, slow burn that will hurt you and test you and maybe even break you, but if it did not, you would not value it.
I keep my fire small but my dreams big.
This article was originally published on Thought Catalog and can be found here.