Serious Content Alert! In a number of conversations over the past few weeks, I have solidified my belief that goals, dreams, and fantasies are a good way to measure maturity. One has dreams and sets goals to achieve those dreams and who doesn’t enjoy thinking how one would spend that $560 million dollar lottery winning? I’ve written other posts on this subject before, yet there are constant permutations to the theme. Recent events have caused us to once again take a look at plans we’d made for our future and begin to make some adjustments. Those are not the subject of this post since a) we’re just beginning that process, and b) multiple factors are involved and we don’t know for sure how they will play out.
The point, however, is that in the real world where most of us dwell, a time comes when it is important to differentiate between dreams and fantasies. Mature thinking means that you sit and realize, “Okay, this is the likely scenario of what our real resources are and what we can accomplish/have/do.” Clinging to a fantasy of what you want to have “someday” even when you are faced with limited resources of money, time, or availability, is a path to disappointment and stress. In some cases, it can also damage relationships as you seek to “blame someone or something for preventing you from having what you want.” That, my friends, does not always mean giving up on a dream – there are times when some adjustment, a slightly new angle of looking at something, a change here or there might still make it happen. However, you may also have to take a hard look at, is it a dream, or has it crossed into the realm of fantasy? Years ago when I had my ROTC assignment, there was a sign in the Business Department that said, “1968 – If I could just make $40,000 a year, I’d be on Easy Street. 1988 – They moved Easy Street.”
If you are indeed faced with Easy Street (or whatever the equivalent is in your situation), having moved, it’s moved. Do you work longer, do you change some plans you had, do you adjust some priorities? These are trade-offs, and for your and your spouse/partner/significant other’s, sake if you are required to make some of those serious trade-offs, then do so consciously in the least painful way possible and then understand it for what it is. Genuinely come to terms with it and understand that a little grieving may even be in order. The loss of a dream is a loss. Not on the scale with some others, but there can definitely be a pang of longing. It’s better to feel and recognize that moment of sorrow than to bury the resentment where it might well fester. Life happens and letting go of the dream of making a cruise around the world doesn’t mean you can’t take shorter trips to other places you’d like to visit. Will it be the same? No? It means you add that cruise to your fantasy list and enjoy the good things in life that you do have,