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.
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.
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.
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.
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Need some advice? Submit your question to my #DearKarin advice column here. Karin Sieger BA (Hons), MA (PsychCouns), Reg. MBACP (Accred) is a therapist and writer. All rights reserved © Karin Sieger. Neither articles nor videos substitute medical advice or therapy.