“The crucial thing is to keep going. Artists appear glamorous and blessedly detached but in reality they are tenacious grafters; they are proverbial dogs with bones. They are still out there gnawing away long after most of us would have given up and gone home.” – Will Gompertz, Think Like An Artist
It had been another day at the library and another day spent wondering if I should put such a strong emphasis on my writing anymore. At this point, I had been pondering this thought for a few weeks.
Don’t get me wrong, I have gone through phases where it has all become too much and I have thought about just jacking it in, but I think that’s normal and nothing had ever lasted more than a week. If that.
Everyone goes through stages in life where they feel as though they’re not necessarily where they should be. For me, that had been going on for months and the longest that I had ever felt this way. Maybe that was a sign then? Something to begin seriously considering? Should I continue writing full time? Am I good enough? When do I stop chasing the dream? Should I ever give up?
Answering “never” doesn’t seem particularly accommodating towards all of life’s complexities so I took it upon myself to ask some of the people in my life for their opinions.
The results ended up turning my post into something that I wasn’t expecting at all. I suppose what I came to realise was this, whatever your answer to this question may be, that is the right one for you. There is no wrong answer.
From a creative standpoint, I came to the conclusion that now wasn’t the right time for me to unclick my pen and pop it back into the draw. But that’s just me. Not everyone will end up with the same result and that’s why I wanted to share a few of the responses I received in answer to this question.
“Well, I thought it was my dream to go to LCF and do fashion design but once I got there, it wasn’t for me. I think you should stop chasing your dream when it becomes crippling to everyday life/well-being. Also, If you are happy and fulfilled in a current situation that isn’t your dream, that is also a reason to pause on pushing for the next step in your journey. Take your sweet time and enjoy each step. Everything will work out and you will get to where you need to be. It might not be where you want to be, or what you imagined for yourself but learn from the experiences you didn’t see coming.”
“I’d rather be poor and lonely but know I lived my life trying to do what I loved or dreamed for. Any doubt that you didn’t try hard enough seems like it would taint anything after you decided not to follow it. Do you not feel you would resent a future not spent on your dream? I honestly feel every job I’ve had that doesn’t align with it has almost tarnished me. And any job where you’re dreaming of something else, is a job you don’t care for. It just depends if you’re living your life for you or for the people observing. Quality of life means a lot. People have been money poor and loved their lives because everything else was perfect. The day I get home and watch TV for a couple of hours to ‘unwind’ from work…. come slap me yeah?”
“Very tough question (and one that I think about often). Personally, I think it’s important to acknowledge that dreams / objectives / end-points will likely change and grow alongside us. And that if we hold onto old dreams, without giving them a chance to adapt, then we make it harder for ourselves to relate to that same dream, let alone achieve it. It’s important to be mindful and reflective, and to have almost comically frank conversations with yourself where you take stock of your plans / goals and ask yourself: Is this really still what will bring me my ultimate (Insert personal objective: happiness/money/success/ etc.)? If your dreams don’t feel aligned with your values or objectives, then you have every reason to walk away from them. There is no contractual obligation to a dream (even if it can sometimes feel like there is) and actually giving yourself the opportunity to step back (when you’re ready to) can be incredibly liberating.”
“Dreams never leave you. They just evolve. I’ve never stopped dreaming or have never given up. I’ve just allowed them to change with life. True dat!”
“I think I might need time to think about that. If chasing it is hindering your progress and preventing you from achieving the basic then I would say put it on hold but otherwise my answer would be never.”
“Jesus that’s a question! Probably when your dream takes over your reality and you fantasise over it without taking the steps to achieve it. You start to blame the people around you instead of yourself for not taking the leap to get what you want or dwell on it and get depressed because you can’t be bothered to get off your arse. When it affects your mind in a negative way that’s definitely when it’s time to face facts and appreciate what you have. I would be surprised if anyone said that they haven’t felt like that at some point in their life.”
If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, whatever your decision maybe be, I hope that you find comfort in the fact that you’re not on your own. Remember to treat yourself well and everything else will take care of itself.