When I was younger, I was often asked, "What's your dream?"
"I want to be a lawyer!" I chirped.
Lawyer, doctor, fireman, policeman, singer, musician... a typical child's reply of their dreams. Yet, contrary to most people, I didn't have the imagination to dream even as a child. Being a lawyer wasn't my dream...that was my friend's. I used her dream to answer those adults pestering me for what I want to be. I didn't know what my dream was or where my passion lies. But soon I realized it doesn't matter much, because these adults will slowly stop asking what you want to be, but start telling you what you should be. They will drill the harsh 'reality' in you as you grow up, brushing dreams aside as if they are clouds in the air and not bread you can live on.
Trudging through life with school and work, most people get too busy to dream. A dream seems more like a luxury than a necessity. It's often with regrets that people look back in life to realize that they are living out society's, father's, mother's, aunties' or someone else's dreams, any other dreams but their own. Otherwise they realize they are caught in life's mundane snare which made their life so meaningless and empty.
Now I am older...I am turning on the dream-machine within me. I'm starting to dream of possibilities. I'm making up for lost time, or probably I'm a late bloomer. So four years back in 2009, I decided to take a step of faith. Armed with my faith in God, and my naivety and craziness in youth, I left my prestigious finance job in a big accounting firm that I'd worked for 3 years. This is a tough choice anywhere in the world, but especially so in Asia, and much more so in Singapore. Conforming to the typical path is the norm, and meeting expectations to enter a good university and land a good and stable job (i.e. doctor, lawyer, accountant, etc..you get the picture) is the golden ticket in life. Any step out of this path will be met with a big hoo-ha.
I was throwing away this supposedly golden ticket which so many covet. Naturally, I was met with bewildered stares and questions. Some didn't understand why I did it. Some didn't believe I was leaving such a good job before securing another better job. Some secretly told me their desires from long ago - they dreamed of doing the same, but there never seemed to be a right time, and soon increasing worries and responsibilities make them harder to do a 'crazy' thing. Some did pat me on the back for my courage. Yet beneath those cheers for me taking the off beaten track, I could sense the quiet mockery, frown or disapproval.
"Seaweeds of opinions choked their dreams; burdens of expectations weighed them down as they reached for their dreams; and roadblocks of oppositions hampered those off the beaten path."
‘Love, Pinkie’ (www.lovepinkie.com)
After leaving behind my office job, I went on a soul-searching adventure that brought me across the globe from Singapore to Mexico. I went alone. It was a time away from my familiar surroundings and people I love. I shut away the surrounding noises and began to find myself in this quirky cosmos; rooting into my self-identity as I became more in touch with my inner being.
When I returned to Singapore, I was fired up to write; to inspire and mentor young girls. With my writings, I wrote during my previous full-time job, along with meditations of life, I took on the challenge to share what I have learned over the years by penning down thoughts, feelings, observations and experiences in my book "Love, Pinkie >.<".
To my pleasant surprise, this journey opened the Pandora box of my life. Writing was just the beginning of getting in touch with who I was made to be and the talents I have. Growing up to be good at numbers, I am now venturing into areas outside my 'expertise' to learn about writing, self-publishing, eBooks, website building, e-commerce, designing and to appreciate creativity and arts.
A new adventure where everything seems so exciting. I'm finally going to do what many people don't do...living out my dream! How cool is it to 'walk on water'! I was ready to step into my destiny. However, life didn't give me any caveat. There were no warning signs of crocodiles in water and of how it is impossible for a human to walk on water without a miracle. I had rushed headlong into those waters without a float.
Dreaming was easy, living it out requires blood, sweat and tears... and a strong heart! People often neglect to see the amount of hard work that goes on in the background. And every success is celebrated and used to shut the naysayers. On the flip side, each failure is a chance for naysayers to bite back at you - telling you they were right all along and you should get serious and go back to the 'normal' life. I soon saw how with each of my failure is my opportunity to bounce back to become more resilient and move on with more experience and skills. I need to continue believing in myself and the path I am on is right, even though failures seemed to be otherwise.
There might be a long wait or multiple failures before you become profitable or famous, but through it all, you have got to believe in yourself and press on. Your self-doubt will be your greatest enemy and outsiders will not relent in feeding it. Many times one will feel like giving up. Hopelessness sets in. So dreamers who live out dreams must have the perseverance to keep moving in face of continual opposition and persecution - for this perseverance will build up your character to hope in all things!
I've seen or heard many other fellow dreamers struggling. Yet kudos to them, many continued to press on and believe that their dreams will come true one day. Of course, there are those who chose to let go. Only those who dare to dream know the depths of despair when a dream dies. Even as they tried and failed, the steep learning curve has given them much wisdom and different perspectives in life.
“Living out dreams can either be a successful or failed attempt; a thrust to be a millionaire or pauper. Regardless, trying and regretting is better than regretting about having never tried. Sweet rewards will come after journeying over troubled waters. Those who have diligence, resilience, and perseverance to strive against all odds will ultimately emerge victorious. Even if they fail, they will not have lived a life of ‘what ifs’. Dream to live, live to dream.”
‘Love, Pinkie’ (www.lovepinkie.com)
Ultimately, we only live once.
It's time to stop building castles in the air and step out to build them from ground up. It's time to make dreams come true. The power to start a revolution - in our own lives or in this world - is in our hands. Are you using this power or living in 'what-ifs'?
What are your dreams?
Are you stepping out to make dreams come true? BW
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Christina Siew is an inspiring writer who lives on the sunny island of Singapore. She has a passion for encouraging people through her writing.
Her debut book Love, Pinkie >.< is a beautiful tapestry of her fanciful scribbles, meditations and observations of life. She hopes her book will help mentor young girls facing insecurities and uncertainties in this world.