Following your dreams

One person’s fool is another person’s inspiration. Holding on to your dreams can feel like swimming against the tide, but it is worth it. Here is why.

You may know how soul destroying it can be, when people do not value your uniqueness and discourage your dreams.

In my youth I used to be called a fool.

Judged and misunderstood, with no champion of my talents. I felt defeated. Instead of living up to my dreams, I tried to fit in with a life that was full of others but devoid of a true sense of ‘me’.

I wish someone had told me then, that I have value. In the end, like many, I had to work that one out for myself.

The graveyard of broken dreams is full of human potential, ambitions and value that were never realized.

The key to meaningful change? Learn to like yourself.

Ditching our dreams we become

  • empty vessels, floating in choppy seas, with no port to call our home;
  • disgruntled, unsettled and cynical.

We may even join the ‘fool naming brigade’, instead of doing our turn to become inspiring and to be inspired.

When I was in my mid 40s and going through my mid-life crisis of purpose, I finally threw caution to the wind. There was no other way but to start again – personally and professionally.

Your personal crisis can offer new possibilities

Foolish choices or the right choices?

While many could not make sense of my new choices, I started to become “the fool” I always wanted to be. And I have never felt more content and authentic.

It was hard and meant letting go and making new lifestyle choices:

  • Going back to university in my 40s meant I cut my earning potential and real income by 80%.
  • Soon my mortgage and my home had to go.
  • The corporate world and flat I left behind, were replaced with studying psychotherapy, unpaid training placements in the NHS and mental health charities, while working part time in a refuge.
  • And a boat on the Thames became my new home.

But even a fool needs hope.

It is not easy to keep going, to feel enthusiastic about our ideas, about ourselves and about the point of it all.

That’s exactly when we need something to connect us to hope and the fact that we are not alone.

That’s why talking about our dreams is essential, even if our life appears so removed from where we would like to be.

But life continues to challenge our resolve.

Life does not always respect our dreams. Why should it? It challenges them, again and again.

Working in a job I love and living in a way that feels alive, all that was thrown into chaos, when I was treated for breast cancer a few years ago.

Then I decided that for me the best way of living now with the life-changing and very possibly life-shortening reality of cancer, continues to be the way of a (realistic) fool – holding on to my dreams and following my intuition.

Why I prefer ‘life journey’ instead of ‘cancer journey’

But don’t get me wrong. The life of a fool is not necessarily light-hearted and carefree. Choices have to be made every day.

And on top of that, anyone affected by cancer will know, that uncertainty and fear become our constant companion.

We need to embrace and celebrate the value of our struggles and triumphs.

Do I have any regrets? Of course I do. Regrets are normal. It is what we do as a result that matters!

Would I do it again? You bet.

Stay connected to yourself and feel inspired by yourself.

When you are in that place you might even inspire others and you will be open to be inspired.

Now I am a middle aged fool reconnecting with my dreams. I am still misunderstood and judged, but that’s ok (well, mostly). I can cope with that. And I am hoping to live long enough to become an old fool with a heart full of passion.

The world needs humble, enthusiastic and authentic fools.

So, call me a fool. Please do.

Living in peace: why and how?




Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay


  1. I stumbled while contemplatively scrolling after reading your piece (and peace!) on post holiday blues. Both wonderfully sensitive, thoughtful and really supportive. And encouraging! Thank you

  2. Thanks for sharing, Karin! This read came at an appropriate, as I’m considering going back to uni to get my degree, in something that’s ‘useful’ than what I currently do.

    I also have multiple chronic illnesses that disable me from working full time so I don’t have any money, financial support, etc, so I’m thinking how I’m going to make this work.

    Yet I’ve come full circle to realise that you can only excel, live a full life, and actually go back to work (because it would be less stressful than what I’m currently doing, both industry wise and mentally) so might be a good idea in the long run.

    Anyway, thoughts and decisions 🙂 We’ll see where life takes us all in a couple years. She always has the final say, after all 😉

    • Dear Sheryl, thanks for reading and commenting. Interesting to hear your plans. You do so much online and on your website. Perhaps there is a way of combining that with your studies, or finding a way of using it to support you financially? I know it is not easy to do alongside despite health issues. With my very best wishes. Karin

  3. Wow, that piece of writing is full of poetry and wisdom. I’ll reread it, yes, and translate it into Spanish to comment it with some of my patients. I’m a psyquiatrist, 66y.o., working mainly as a psychotherapist lately, not so much as a psychopharmacologist these days. I live in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. Problematic place, in social and economical crisis. There are universal issues threatening mental health, I guess, I quite identify with your wtory despite our surely different backgrounds. Finally it was a question of faith, wasn’t it? In me, in others, in our creative power of creating and rebuilding ourselves. Thanks a lot

    • Hello María, Thanks for taking the time tom read and comment. Yes, it is about faith in our abilities and making it happen. Sounds a lot more simple than it can be in reality. Very best wishes. Karin

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