157 comments

  1. It was hard for me when you stopped painting, but it’s your life and you will shine no matter what you do. Just for the record, you sang as well as you painted, so I was certain you’d be an artist, but not sure whether a painter or a singer. And you are an artist, just in a different field. You’re right, your creativity has transferred from your painting to your writing, and I’m looking forward to seeing whatever you create.
    By the way, I’m not sure you’ll stay a writer, but I am sure whatever you do throughout your life will be uniquely creative! And whatever field you leave will be diminished by your not being in it.

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  2. Beautiful post! I feel the same way about photography; everywhere I went when I was in high school I wore a camera around my neck. I never mind the weight or pull of the strap, i just wanted to be ready to take that photo when the moment was right. But my junior year of college I felt like I hit a wall with it, I no longer want to capture moments on film, I wanted to set them free. Anyways, I was very moved by your post. One should never be a slave to there 14 year old self.

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  3. Now I understand why my friend still brings her camera no matter what. Anyway, all i can say is keep on setting new goals! Keep on dreaming!

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  4. I agree that there is an extent to which you must recognize that something that you once thought was your perfect passion may not in fact be so. I think, too, that it is just as important to recognize that in the pursuit of any dream, there will be difficult times and times when we just don’t feel like trying anymore but those are times when we must not give up. I think it’s important to learn to differentiate between the two. I agree though, there should be no guilt in realizing that what you once dreamed no longer has a hold on you. As in most aspects of life, balance is needed.
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed 🙂
    Blessings on your writing journey!
    -Jen
    http://thelilyandthemarrow.wordpress.com/

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    1. I agree, it’s important to be able to distinguish when you’re giving up because it’s getting too hard, and when you’re giving up because you want to focus your energy on something that is more fulfilling. Thank for your thoughtful comment!

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  5. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I knew what a book was and used to toddle to the library. I struggled with it so much for years, still am (made worse by doing an English degree!) but still, we must perservere! I hope it goes well for you!

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  6. I really related when you wrote ‘Writing has never come as easy to me as painting did. I’ve struggled with it for years, and I’m never quite satisfied with anything I produce.’ – although painting is not my forte in the slightest. 🙂 My passion for writing has always been deterred by the little voice in my head reminding me of all the millions of aspiring writers/authors/poets who are most likely better writers/authors/poets than me. Instead, I defer my aspirations of starting a blog or writing a poem in favour of something that comes more natural to me. I hope I learn to just jump in at the deep end and write for the sake of writing – even if I’m not happy with the result I will at least know I’ve tried.

    Great post 🙂

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    1. The story of Brahms really helped me get past the idea that there is always someone more talented than me so what’s the use in trying. Brahms is considered one of the greatest composers of all times, but it took him almost 20 years to write his first symphony – he was so inspired by Beethoven that he thought there was nothing else he could contribute to music. Now they are considered equals in music history. Hope that story inspires you as much as it inspired me 🙂

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  7. There’s a saying…don’t know who authored it but it goes, “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are”. I guess it’s a play on the old more well-known adage, “To thine own self be true” or once again modernized today as, “Be true to yourself”. I think it’s listening to our inner voice and taking the leap away from what may seem obvious to others (and perhaps our “self”) but the obvious doesn’t sing to us. You have heeded that voice. Lovely post.

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  8. So true…

    Unemployed guy here, and wishing I could get people to understand exactly what you wrote about. That’s especially true of potential employers with whom my old interests are often a barrier to new paths.

    Be thankful every day that you left painting before you were permanently branded with it.

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    1. I think employers today are incredible short-sighted. I have so many friends who are incredibly talented, but they have such a hard time getting hired in new fields because people don’t understand that skills transferable. Good luck on your new venture!

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    1. Then go after it. I gave up on my dream as well. Then this year I decided to pursue it. Now I’m a full-time writer. I just wrote a post on this very subject. While I agree with this post, I find in almost everyone I talk to the opposite. They have this yearning and are unfulfilled. So change your life and fill it.

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        1. If an old dream is still nagging at you, it’s time to pick it up. I don’t miss painting at all, but if I don’t write for a month I feel almost empty inside. I’d suggest taking a class in whatever field your old dream used to be in. Being surrounded by people who are just as passionate about that field will be a great spark for you! Good luck, and thanks for visiting my blog!

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        2. I told my boss I was stepping down from management and began using a few hours a week to pursue jobs on Elance. After a few months I landed a nice gig writing at HackSurfer.com and a few other small clients. Now I’m full-time. I wrote this soon after I quit my job. http://changeforayear.com/2013/04/10/im-a-writer/ Once I realized I could make even $50-$100 week by landing the occasional small job, that really sprung me forward.

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  9. I think it is really hard when your dream is no longer your dream, but it is logistically or spiritually hard to find a new dream. . . sigh. Anyhoo, I really liked this post, especially the title!

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    1. I agree. My identity was really wrapped up in my former dream, and it took a while to figure out who I am if I’m not what everyone (myself included) thought I was. It can be quite depressing, but it passes, and you come out the other end stronger and more self-aware. I hope you get the spark of a new dream 🙂 Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting!

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  10. Great post! My dreams have changed many times in my 31 years. But I love the experience of setting new goals and trying new things. If I held onto everything I wanted as a girl I would be a teacher/country singer with 4 children including a daughter named Bobbi-Jo, poodle bangs, and a pink convertible (to name a few). My life is quite different and yet very fulfilled. 😉

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    1. Haha this is great! If I held on to everything I wanted as a girl, I would be a princess now, and my name would be changed to Jennifer Jenna. And I’d have a hundred cats. Thanks for making me laugh:) Ahhh poodle bangs!

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  11. Dreams change I know mine have but that’s not a bad thing we grow and as our wants and needs change so do our dreams I used to dream of being a star but I work with kids now my dream is to make a difference and help them reach their dreams whatever they may be

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    1. Keep up the great work! My friend once told me it’s not about finding a job you’re passionate, but bringing your passion to your job. It sounds like you’re doing both 🙂

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  12. Such a lovely written post. To me, it’s just life…let the old dreams float away to give room to new and refreshing ideas and interests…dreams. Congrats on Freshly Pressed!!

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  13. It’s so common for people to hold on to a dream they no longer have a passion for out of a sense of… almost duty – me included!
    Enjoyed your post, food for thought!

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  14. Beautifully written post that conveys emotions to which I’m sure many of us can relate. Your writing is evocative–thanks for sharing.

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  15. This post made me think of my talent, the poor economy, and an crushing experience with stalking that made me fear ever publishing on the web. Even though I feel like maybe my “raisin was in the sun” maybe it was all for a good reason. Great post!

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  16. Also, maybe our passion converts/gets redirected to other talents. I never had a clear direction of where I wanted to go or what I wanted to become even though people really wanted me to do x,y,z and had all the expectations to match. Regardless, it seems like we need to give ourselves permission to do what is best even if that means defying the expectations of others. It sounds like you are on a great path!

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  17. dreams change…there are new ones lurking behind every corner. For me, it0s just important to have dreams, to have something that will keep me going, moving. As they say, beauty is in the journey not the destination. lovely post 🙂

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    1. It’s nice to hear from someone who believes that life is full of dreams. That’s a rare quality and I hope you appreciate that about yourself!

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  18. This is so true, the way I see it every day we evolve we change, we are not the same we where when we maybe first had our dreams, so maybe moving on isn’t a bad thing, we get new goals, new wants and its important to do what is right for us.

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  19. I really enjoyed this–the idea of dreams changing as we do. It seems so simple, but at the same time, it’s a difficult notion to grasp. People become fixated with the idea of dreams to the point of paralysis. But as you state, our dreams, our goals, our passions and loves should be just as fluid as the rest of our lives. Good luck with your writing.

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  20. Great post–and the poem is a favorite of mine, too! I had so many passions in my youth–art,writing, music, dance. I ended up teaching elementary school so I could play in all my favorite realms. Blogging allows me to write and share my art. Gotta love that! 🙂

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  21. What a profound lesson, to allow room in our hearts and minds for new dreams without loosing the pieces of ourselves that rest in old dreams. Lovely sentiment.

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  22. Really great read. I’ve been struggling with this for a while. I never understood how people would “just give things up,” but then I realized that you can use that passion other places doing other things that have become part of you.

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  23. “In that moment I realized that we do not betray our dreams by pursuing something different, we betray our dreams when we ignore ourselves and forget to ask, “Hey, I’ve grown, I’ve changed, have my dreams changed too?” This is such a thought provoking line. You write and think beautifully. I have never thought of dreams in a such as this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  24. Thank you for this blog on Hughes. Did you know that it was said that Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman, were his primary influences? I bet now it can be said that Hughes was your primary influence, right?

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    1. I didn’t know that. Thanks for sharing. I’ve always loved this poem, but honestly I haven’t read enough of Hughes. There is still so much to learn!

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  25. Love this…Hanging onto an old dream can waste a lot of energy. It’s also challenging for people with multiple talents, deciding what to do when and in what order. I began my career as a photographer and became a writer. I still shoot, for fun, and enjoy it. You don’t have to beat your passion to death.

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    1. Great point! I think when you let go of the guilt and sense of responsibility that comes along with our dreams it’s much easier to enjoy them and move with ease between the different mediums that interest us.Thanks for commenting!

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  26. Wow. Great post and timely for me to read. I’ve gotta ask, how did you come to learn that your passion was writing? Had it always been there or did it kinda sneak up on you.

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    1. One night I woke up from a crazy dream and felt compelled to write it down before I would forget it. I kept thinking about it the next day, and building a story out of dream. This was my sophomore year of college, and I spent the next two years completing the story. i couldn’t wait to finish the rest of my homework so I could return to my characters. I didn’t care that I didn’t know the first thing about grammar or structure, I just wanted to get the story out. Looking back, the story wasn’t even that good, but it was a turning point in my life. I started seeing myself as a writer, and I wanted to improve my craft so the next time I had a crazy dream, I could write it well.

      My first instinct is to say that it snuck up on me, but actually looking back, I always wrote goofy stories and poems, so I guess it’s always been there, but the concept that I could be a writer definitely snuck up on me.

      How did you come upon your passion?

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      1. It’s sort of similar in that it had always been there but without my really acknowledging it. I’ve always liked ideas, and have always found it fun to try and find apt words to express them, but it wasn’t until an email conversation with my wife where, instead of responding to what I’d written, she replied by just saying she thought I was pretty good at putting things into words. She got fairly persistent about letting me know that, eventually I guess I started to believe it was something worth paying attention to.

        I wonder whether with some things you can have a kind of blind spot, like you assume everyone experiences a particular thing – in my case writing – in the same way you do because it seems – from your own perspective – so normal to find it so satisfying. For me it took a little while to realise that wasn’t necessarily so, that writing was special to me, that it had, for me, a unique feeling.

        I believe it may be that way for a lot of people. That they have these things inside of them – passions, talents – that may have some value, but they’re unaware of it. It’s something I find interesting, how easy it is to remain ignorant of what you really are. Which is why I loved this post, it shows how unpredictable the journey can be to discovering that thing within yourself that is both so personal yet, seemingly, so foreign at the same time.

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  27. Well put. Something I’ve never really thought about. I just kind of did things that I wanted in the moment, never stopping to think about whether or not my dreams had changed.

    What happens to a dream deferred?

    It goes on for a while. Then dies. And that’s perfectly OK.

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  28. I always wanted to be a singer, songwriter, guitar player, but my medical conditions, heart problem, epilepsy, arthritis, ulcer, and i have to wear adult diapers, kinda bought me down from that, i tried, but i love to blog now, I write political blogs, i do you tube videos, well did until i lost my internet, i go to the library now to use the computer, and i love reading history, and debating politics, and sometimes you just gotta do what you can, even if it is not the dream you wanted, or others thought you should have. Just follow what you think and things will fall into place.

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      1. Thank you very much, i did not mean to spill so much info, but i just wanted you to know how much i have to deal with, but i do stay strong, and i do not give up 🙂

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  29. I love your post! really inspirational.
    I’m experiencing the same thing lately.
    My dream was to be a computer guru! I also was a video games addict and always dreamt of creating games as well.
    I did everything I could and became a computer sciences engineer, I got a job and that’s where I hit the wall, I don’t want to do what I do anymore! This is not my dream anymore.
    Now I love photography and that is my next dream, at least for now!

    Fatima Zahrae

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  30. My daughter said that she didn’t want to become an artist because she does art to relieve stress. If it became her job, then she would lose her joy in it. Instead, she studies history and economics.

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  31. Love the post. “;..we betray our dreams when we ignore ourselves…my dreams changed too.” Perfect explanation of my life. I’ve tried several artistic realms, and love being a writer now. I’ve actually been published–something that never seemed possible. And truthfully, it wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t moved on and allowed myself to pursue different dreams. I think that by reading some of the other comments, I see that a lot of us writers seem to have followed a similar path. I know that by allowing myself to gently close the door on my other artistic outlets, I have more creativity and strength to pursue the life of a writer. 🙂

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    1. Well said and I love hearing a bit of your story – it’s great motivation for the rest of us writers! Thanks for visiting my blog 🙂

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  32. It was great revisiting that poem when I wrote this post. Some works of art seem to just get more profound with age. Thanks for visiting my blog!

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  33. Great post! I’m actually returning to painting after walking walking away from it 3 years ago, and I can really relate to what you’re talking about here. I think you made a great point when you said:
    “…I’ve come to accept that dreams are fluid, and whatever seeped into my paintbrush has seeped into my keyboard.”

    What I think I’ve come to realize, is that our dreams don’t always have to be the things we choose to do, they can also be the motivating forces behind those things. With painting, there is the desire to create, to say something, to inspire, provoke, and connect to others. The same could be said about writing. Its the same dream, you’ve just chosen to pursue it in a different form. For all the reasons you discussed, that isn’t easy to do and takes a lot of guts. I wish you all the best in the pursuit of your dreams!

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful words. You’re right, the same basic dream of expressing oneself remains the same, the medium just changes.

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  34. First of all…luv Langston Hughes. Kudos for that. Secondly, I wouldn’t completely cut out coming back to your passion for painting just yet. I’ve learned as a creative person that sometimes one need to switch mediums or forms of expression for periods of time. When I was younger I had my dreams of what I would do with my love for writing and poetry (money, fame, legacy). Nowadays I don’t always count on it in terms of a way to make a living, but I haven’t been able to let it all go. I write poetry, satire, prose to keep sane…because its a journey that speaks to me. As I matured in my writing craft, I unlocked secrets in the universe that I only thought other “master” writers could find or had the intelligence to write about. I learned what an artist truly is. It has nothing to do with “being someone” or fulfilling a dream. In that moment you create, you live the dream…artistry should awaken you fully to what this mystery is. Now in terms of career aspirations, those sorts of dreams do change and shift. The wonderful part of life is that we can have more than one and we don’t have to commit to any of them. At some point you will know what creative medium will best fill you and unlocks those mysteries as well. I can tell you are a creative force. Don’t give up on that power.

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  35. If this is how many people have commented – I wonder how many MORE you have reached and really connected with and do not even realised it. Creativity makes us ache, does it not? But oh so sweet is its perpetual growth and when you even think about it – the very creative being within you is flourishing even when it may seem outlets have blockages.

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    1. Good point: originally I wanted to support one friend, and then when I saw how much it helped her, I wanted to share it with my readers. Now that the post has been freshly pressed I’m hearing from so many people who felt a sense of relief in knowing that it was ok to pursue new dreams. This experience has certainly taught me to share the ideas that have helped and comforted me. Thank you for your kind comment 🙂

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  36. I find your blog to be so truthful when it comes down to changing one’s dreams after a certain point in life. I left home seeking my dreams of becoming a singer. Got the chance to record an album with two of my good friends but things changed after a few years of trying and my dreamworld wasn’t my real world anymore and I had to move on. I am glad that I had those dreams and I am better off because of them. I will keep up with your blog. Thanks for reminding me that dreams aren’t bad to have had even when you have to change course over the years to pursue other new dreams along life’s journey. Thanks!

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  37. I like it! I recently wrote a post with the same theme; that we don’t need to box ourselves in with ideas of what we or others think we should do with our art, or our lives. Staying flexible and open to inspiration and “letting go of old raisins”. Love it!

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  38. I was known as “the artist” as well, but when adults asked what I’d like to be when I grew up and I told them an artist, they discouraged it as a vocation and promoted it as an avocation. Then when I grew up and turned from drawing and painting to photography, suddenly I was encouraged to go back to those original mediums. It’s funny how others sometimes hold our dreams more dear than we do ourselves. You are right; life is fluid and it’s good to have dreams that make us reach beyond natural talent and already mastered skills, to grow and discover ourselves in new ways.

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    1. I’ve noticed that when you ask adults in their forties and fifties for life advice they’ll give you the most practical advice (it makes sense because those are the decades when you usually have the most responsibilities). When you ask people in their seventies and eighties for advice they tell you to follow your dreams. I’ve learned that the best person to ask (if you don’t trust your instincts yet) is someone who has a life that you admire. Thanks for writing such a thoughtful comment 🙂

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  39. I think we hold on to raisins as adults because it brings a sense of childhood back. Of what should be simpler times, easier memories.
    As a child I spent most of my time having huge dreams that for most are unattainable. It came down to a choice for me and I made the wrong one. I realized it as soon as somebody dear to me walked out of my apartment because of my choice.
    I realized that I was holding on to something irrational that I didn’t even want anymore because it was easier then letting somebody in. Things can’t hurt us. Even if our dreams fail, we tried. And that hurt won’t last as long as being hurt by SOMEBODY.
    Old dreams are a way for us to run. Not towards the future but back towards the past.
    Thank you for writing this. Our dreams do change as we do. They are almost supposed to. It’s how we learn. It’s how we grow. And it’s how we learn that we have grown.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful and personal comment. I hope as you move forward, you will enjoy all the love and joy of letting someone in 🙂

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  40. Wise words. By sharing I think you have given us all permission to change our dreams just like you did for your friend 🙂

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    1. Thank you! It’s funny how we all look for permission to do what we want to do…I think it’s something that was ingrained in its from an early age. Thanks for leaving a comment 🙂

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  41. I liked your post. Everyone needs to dream and sometimes it is okay to change your direction. If you are an artist and it looks like you are, the creative juices will flow, the only question is the medium. Good luck, Barry

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    1. Thank you and I’m glad your comment brought me to your fantastic blog. I especially enjoyed your slant on fairytales. Keep up your artistry as well 🙂

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  42. I am a dreamer and my dreams keep changing with time too..I loved your article! 🙂 keep up the good work 🙂

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  43. At age 9, I wanted to be an archeologist. By 17, I was consumed with a love for fashion. I discovered my true passion at 29 when I stepped onstage, and then into the wings as a theatre tech and eventual director. Our dreams really DO change as we grow. Pursuing them for a while is the only way we can know when we’ve found the perfect fit. Letting go of old dreams is a little bit sad but the true sadness is failing to find new dreams to pursue. Thanks for a thought provoking piece, Tracy.

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  44. A gutsy post. Nice find. I do think — some people would do well by questioning their dreams. However, for some, time strengthens and sharpens adding dimension to an old dream. And that doesn’t say that the dream remains intact in the same form, it may expand or undergo a metamorphosis. That’s sort of what is happening to me, but I do think as we age, we should allow our dreams to breathe. To grow. Allow ourselves to execute them in a new way that may be emerging, which may include juggling with other dreams we may need to explore. I don’t think everyone however has to let go of a dream though. Personally, I am glad to know folks who didn’t. Still, I don’t believe in people holding on for idea sake. Because sometimes the fire was put out a long time ago but people stick to it out of embarrassment or something else. Not a lingering love for the expression.

    In times like those, I think one’s dream can detract.

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