Living out a dream is an emotionally charged process. The ups and downs are constant. The triumphs are short lived and failure is plentiful. The dream will actualize one day but the process will never be a dream.
No one ever tells you that before you can live out your dream you have to survive the process of dream fulfillment. I can attest to the fact that the process of living out your dream is never a dream, and I still haven’t fulfilled my dream. I’ve been working toward my masters degree for 3+ years. I’ve also wasted years not working toward this because I was scared. For nearly half of my life I’ve dreamt of earning this degree and working with athletes to improve their mental performance, but working toward this has been the opposite of a dream. Being in graduate school has been a long, challenging, and frustrating journey. I’ve been pushed to my limits and I’ve wanted to quit every single day. The sacrifices I’ve made over the last 3+ years have been the most intense kind of sacrifices I’ve ever had to make. The struggles I’ve endured can’t even be described in words. They’ve only been witnessed by my family and close friends. Every single day I doubt myself and question why I’m doing this. I am in the midst of my last internship working on the [hopefully] final draft of my thesis with no more classes to take, and I feel overwhelmed by the pursuit of a dream that is going to actualize.
The process has had few dream like qualities but it has held more meaning than fulfilling the dream ever will. This experience has taught me that pursing a dream is a process that can be grueling and miserable, but never so grueling and miserable that I actually did decide to give up. Dreams are magical because they take a special blend of perseverance and faith. Dreams exist when you survive the process, and to survive the process you must always recognize that the process is not the dream.