Lately I've been getting clearer about my dreams. It seems like it should be easy enough, but there's a lot of gunk to get through. Gunk that comes in many forms- preconceived notions, limited thinking, "rules," not knowing what's possible, worrying about how to make money, staying within what is "acceptable," and not knowing what I don't know, to name a few.
I've struggled for a long time with figuring out what I wanted to do. It's been a question since high school when I needed to plan for college. Part of my problem was having a limited view of what was possible. I was choosing options from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, skills assessments, personality tests, and the jobs I knew of from adults in my life.
I'm not very good at thinking outside the box and I had plenty of "no, I don't want to do that" notions and some "hmmm... maybe that if I learned more," but no "Yes! That's the thing! That's what I want to do."
My problem was I wanted to try it all- a little bit of everything. How are you supposed to know what you like until you try it? And how are you supposed to pick a course of study and a career plan until you know what you like?
Ultimately I finished college and had some wonderful jobs. I've been able to dabble in a bunch of different fields and learn a lot along the way. I've learned what I like. I like to write, specifically about life and self-improvement. I also suppressed that for many years because it didn't seem like a viable (read "lucrative") choice.
My problem these days is trying to balance shooting for what I want while also supporting my family. It is in separating out what it is I really want vs. what I know I can consistently make money doing. It is in being okay with calling myself a writer and working toward that goal even if other job titles sound better (that "more acceptable" thing again). It is in finding time to write and time to engage with my family.
It's also in understanding that sometimes words will come to me when I simply can't capture them, then when I have time to write, nothing may come to me at all. Words are finicky that way.
I'm still figuring it all out, but I'm getting better at removing distractions and clearing out the gunk.
Writing is a priority. My family is also a priority. Life, in all its extraordinary ordinariness, is a priority. So for now, all other things are measured against those.
What gunk clogs up your dreams? How do you clear it to get back on your path?