9. LIFE & DEATH,  Personal Growth

WHAT DREAMS DO YOU DREAM
OF REALISING IN YOUR LIFE?

What dreams do you dream of realising in your life?

What is the main reason you haven’t already gone after them?

What dreams have you already realised?

And how did you go about doing that?

It’s funny how the old brain works, isn’t it? How a single sensory stimuli (like a smell, a taste, a sight or a sound) can lead to a thought that, in turn, can lead you to a time or place far away from where you had intended to be?

That’s exactly what happened to me earlier today.

I was lying here in my bed, working on what is meant to become my new blog, when a quote from writer extraordinaire, and former Swedish Academy member, Lars Forsell caught my eye:

“Most girls wouldn’t dream of doing the things they dream of doing.”

And just like that, me ole watch and chain [1] had whisked me off to a place far removed from fonts, spacing, colour palettes, typography, readability, newsletters, mailing lists, search engine optimisation and all those pesky little blogbuilder’s issues I was supposed to be focusing on.

Instead, I’d rolled onto a completely different track…

I believe dreaming comes natural to most people. Maybe it stems from the fact that we’ve been doing it ever since were tiny tots.

What dreams did you dreams as a child? Do you remember?

Me, I was a master escapist and so good at dreaming, in fact, that I often struggled to tell the difference between my dreams and reality. And not without good reason, I might add.

WHAT DREAMS DID YOU DREAM OF AS A CHILD?

What dreams did you dream of as a child?

Do you remember what you used to dream your life as an adult would be like?

From my vantage point, reality, by and large, seemed to be a frightfully horrific (not to mention entirely incomprehensible) place. But the beauty of my dreams was that, in there, the world could be whatever I wanted it to be.

A beautiful painting, boldly positioned on a gorgeous yew tripod, with an elegant vintage patina. Or a hand made sheet of paper, perfectly fed around the platen of an old Remington. Naturally, in my dreams, I was the Artist. Or the Journalist (they were way cooler than authors to me). I was the one who had it all nailed down and under control.

With my paintbrush, I painted the world as it ought to be. My fingers, lovingly dancing over the keyboard, tapped out interpersonal scenarios and dialogues, far more interesting than any I had experienced, onto the precious sheet of paper.

It was marvellous!

My life as a worldbuilder and storyteller, or perhaps I should say storymaker (as I rarely shared my creations with anyone), went on for years. As time passed by, and my skills grew, I built ever more elaborate and fantastical worlds. And they all revolved around four constants:

        • My grandmother (the salt of my earth);
        • A horse (or two) to ride;
        • A big dog to play with (most often a whole pack of them to be honest); and
        • A red curtained, strategically positioned stage to perform on. Of course.

Four constants I believed to be fundamental to my very existence as, without them, of this I was certain, my world would be void of magic, mission and meaning.

WHAT KIND OF WORLD HAVE WE BUILT FOR OUR KIDS?

Lily James sings A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes in Walt Disney’s Cinderella from 2015.

The song was written and composed by Mack David, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston in 1949.

Unfortunately, for all of us, the world we live in is not one of my creations. And I know this much to be true, because I have no nan, no horse and no red curtained stage. And my doggo is a scrawny little kangarottercat. But what’s even worse is that the magic that, in spite of everything, actually can be found here is something only a select few ever get to experience.

Only those select few are “allowed” to dream. Provided they have the sense to dream the the right kind of dreams, that is.

Fancy a world where any Tom, Dick and Harry would begin to dream? And, shock horror, believe in their dreams? Nu-uh, we can’t have that! In this weird world, we’ve all been pigeon holed into a structure where some of us, i.e. the ones that were sorted into the top layer, can take any liberties they want and get away with murder. These people are, almost exclusively, rich old(er) white men. And it’s only a certain type of young boy who can even dream of a seat up there.

At the absolute bottom of the structure we find the bottom feeders. All non-white non-men with some kind of irreparable flaw. The rest of us have been allocated our pigeon holes in accordance with a long-winded scrutiny process based on the (often) unspoken, beliefs and values our society holds.

The chief deciding factors for which hole you’re allocated are the answers to questions like: Who are you? Where are you from? Who are your parents? Then you’re weighed and measured against other such life defining variables as your gender, education, potential (job)titles, the size of your bank vault and the weight of your assets. And that’s only the first part of this sorting mechanism. Which, in case I wasn’t making that clear earlier, is based on the presumtion that you’re white.

But, as always, the devil is in the detail.

It’s in the second round of scrutiny this system shows it true colour. This is where you can really tell what kind of world we are living in. And what kind of value base it is built on.

DO YOU DARE TO LIVE YOUR DREAM?

There are people in this world that will tell you dreamers are weird. That dreaming is pointless and that we should all just accept our lot. Unless we belong to the upper echeleon, that is, and have the decency to dream of hedge funds, tax havens and stock markets.

When I hear people talk about “today’s society,” both in the news and on social media, it seems to me they’re saying this is something new. That there was a time in the past where we were all happy and satisfied with the way things were here on this little island. A time when we all banded together to fight off the French, before merrily swigging a pint and munching on a portion of chips.

These people are either not very well read, or completely unaware of their privileges. Or, perhaps, just prone to handle the truth with reckless abandon.

Which brings me back to Swedish wordsmith Lars Forsell’s perceptive comment about girls and their dreams again. But before we go there, let me just explain that Mr Forsell’s writing days were long gone by the time the sleepy Swedes woke up to the notion that gender might be more than just a grammatical feature. Now, we have no way of knowing whether Forsell would have chosen his words differently, had he penned this piece today; but it doesn’t really matter. His core message is still valid:

We live in a world where some people are considered better, or more refined, than others. A whorld where girls are restrained by arbitrary rules and norms, while boys are encouraged to pursue their goals. Provided they are “proper” masculine goals, that is. And no, that’s not to say that it’s illegal to break the mould and go your own way. And no, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t places where things are worse. It just means that, no matter what some people would have you believe, this world is far from equal.

Here, for instance, certain people may cruise through life’s currents on a yacht, while others never even make it through the red tape covering their pigeon holes. Here, most people wouldn’t even dream of doing all the tings they dream of. I find that thought truly disheartening.

This blog, which at this point in time is nothing but a dream, is my attempt to reach out and encourage you to dream. To break free from whatever bonds, norms or contracts that are chafing and suffocating you.

If I could give you but one gift in this life, I’d give you freedom from guilt [2] and bitterness. And the realisation that discovering your authentic self and the world around you may be far more important than “becoming” something. Or someone’s.

I believe that, deep down, we’re all dreamers. A-l-l of us. Yes, indeed, every single person in every single part of the world. But I also believe that, for most of us, our dreams remain just that. Dreams. Not even those of us who see their dreams as aspirations, seem to be particularly successful in living their dream and reaching their goals.

The truth is, our world has become a recycling centre full of broken, lost and forgotten, dreams and mojos; and I think it’s hight time we do something about that. We need to talk about our dreams. And we need to start handing out blueprints to show people how they can go about realising their dreams.

IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING (BUT MIRACLES TAKE TIME)

What dreams do you dream of

Have you ever considered how much better your life could be – and how much better you would feel – if you dared to dream bigger and aim higher? While I was working, I created the programme modules Personal and Professional Development for adults and Life Skills for teenagers. Both courses focussed on personal growth, which includes dealing with your dreams and setting realistic goals.

What do you think the most common answer to the second question I asked in the very beginning of this post? (In case you’ve forgotten, it was: What is the main reason you haven’t already gone after [your dreams]?)

– It’s impossible!

Initially, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it, but as I began to dig into research on the subject, I learned that this is one of the most common “excuses” people have when it comes to goal-setting. They literally talk themselves out of options, and spend more time obsessing over what’s impossible than looking for ways to make it possible.

– But how could I?!

– But what would my [mum, dad, grandma, grandpa, kids, grandkids, neighbours, colleagues, mates, dog, cat etc etc etc] say?

– It’s too hard

– It’s impossible!

– It can’t be done!

– No one could pull that off!

It’s about time we cut the prefix “im-” and start considering what would be possible if we allowed ourselves to follow our dreams. Can you even begin to imagine what this world would be like if every single person throughout history had allowed themselves to be roped in and held back by all these negative voices?

Imagine no inventions, no research, and no discoveries.

No phones, no vaccines, no light bulbs, no internet.

No Tesla, no education, no surgery, no travel.

No cultural exchange, no gadgets, no heating/plumbing, no cars.

And no books, magazines or newspapers.

Not even the tiniest little pamphlet.

All of these things are, after all, the results of people having a dream and the guts to do something about it. No matter how many times the naysayers told them it was impossible. That they were stupid. And that they would be the laughing stock of their community, or country as it were in some cases, if they persisted with their foolishness.

At some point, the people behind all the inventions and science we have access to today had to step up and prove that what was widely perceived as impossible was, in fact, possible. But even that wasn’t necessarily enough for the doubters, the conspiracy theorists and the foil hatters to concede and admit that they had been wrong.

I will never forget, for example, how internet and computers were frowned upon by a large portion of the people back in the day. Today, most of those people are practically glued to the mini computer with all day internet access they carry around; and they find it nigh on offensive when they are asked to put it down.

I also remember how people said it was “scientifically proven” that bumblebees couldn’t fly. Or shouldn’t be able to. That it somehow was a violation of the laws of thermodynamics or some such nonsense. “Anyone could see” was a common case in point reference “that its body was far too large for those tiny wings to carry.”

Luckily, bumblebees can neither read nor understand human gobble-dee-gook, so they just kept buzzing around on their tiny wings not giving a toss about stupid humans. And, as it turned out, science could explain how that was possible.

SO WHAT DREAMS DO YOU DREAM OF?

What dreams do yoi dream of?

You see, if you allow other people’s opinion, or, indeed, your own doubts, to decide what is possible for you, chances are you will never realise your dreams. The principle behind this is pretty simple: If you continue to do things the way you’ve always done them, nothing will ever change. But if you decide that change is what you want, you can turn your life around. Provided that you are prepared to do things differently from now on, and change the way you think about yourself and your situation.

First of all, you need to be brave (or honest) enough to identify the dream. To write it down and (at some point) tell people about it. Do you know what it is you dream of? Is it smaller treats like a pair of shoes, a piercing/tattoo or a trip abroad? Or are you dreaming of bigger, life changing things like a bew career, moving abroad or starting a business?

For some people each of these suggestions may seem as likely as a trip to the moon. This could be down to fctors such as poverty, access to education or lack of positive role models; making even the smallest of dreams seem unattainable. But even rich people with fancy degrees and plenty of role models can look at their dreams with despair.

The real reason why people don’t live their dreams has very little to do with access to resources or any other tangible variables. Dreams don’t die because they were impossible to achieve, but because the dreamers are looking for instant gratification. They want it all and they want it now.

The concept of reframing a dream into a project, an adventure or a longer journey is alien to them.

Yet, when you look at it like that, living your dream is actually pretty simple. So simple, in fact, that we can set you off on a chartered course towards your dream destination right now. 

STEP 1: Grab a pen and a piece of paper (or a new word-document) and start making a list, or a picture, of what your dream entails. What do you want to get? Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? No matter what you’re dreaming of, I want you to picture this dream as the goal. This is your destination. 

STEP 2: Now, you map out the roads you want to take to get to your destination. What would you prefer? And what do your circumstances necessitate? Is it the shortest possible distance and price tags be damned? Is it the cheapest possible way, no matter how long it’ll take or how uncomfortable it may get? Or would you like to set off on the route that offers the most bang for your buck in terms of adventures, experiences and sightseeing? There are loads of choices to make and decisions to take here, but the good news is that not all of them need to be dealt with today. As long as you have a tentative route and timeline sorted, you’re good to go. This is your route and your travel plan.

STEP 3: Every day, from this day forward (not tomorrow or on Monday, or you’ll never get around to it) you face your destination and take baby steps  towards your goal. Over the first few days, or even weeks, this might entail more planning and prepping. Ironing out details. Googling for information. Weighing up pros and cons. You’ll probably need to revisit your travel plans and update them to make sure they reflect your stated goal and purpose. But with each passing day, you will soon find that you are getting closer to your destination and further away from where you started. This is your journey.

Congratulations, your adventure has begun!  (Provided you actually followed step 1 to 3, that is.)

Do you think I’m trying to simplify the process of living your dream and make it sound a lot easier than it seems? Well, that’s because a) I am doing just that; and b) because it is. All you really need to get started is a little bit of time (from a few minutes to a couple of days depending on the size and scope of your dream) and something portable where you can write your plans down. And yes, you do have to write! Plans that only exist in your head are called dreams for a reason.

So, what do we have here? Is your route looking too long? Break it down into a number of shorter disatances and turn them into separate achievements. Make sure you have clearly defined milestones to reach and ways to celebrate reaching them. Plan for special events and activities that will help you stay motivated. Devise strategies for how to visualise your success, and choose a tracking system to help you see just how far you have come.

Most of us are visual beings and we tend to believe in what we can see. This is why it’s so important to write down, or draw, your dream somewhere easily accessible. Why surrounding yourself with things that remind you of your dream and where it is taking you. It is why you need to map out your route and write down your plans and goals, so you can keep an eye on them and make sure you don’t go off track. And it is why you need to track your progress. Being able to see both how far you have come and how much closer to the goal you are getting is imperative to keep you on the bandwagon for the duration.

No, I never said it would be easy. And I never said it could be done in a day. But I’m telling you that you too can live your dream and you can start doing so today. Here and now.

Living your dream, if you ask me, is very much a question of being able to look at the whole process as a part of your dream. This is also a matter of reframing your brain. Neither Rome, nor the pyramids, were built in a day. There is, in fact, very little evidence suggesting that anything truly valuable can be achieved “in the blink of an eye.” But with proper planning and daily baby steps miracles can be accomplished. And there is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy each of those steps.

My goal with this space is to tell you that dreams do come true and that change is possible. To show you how you too can change your life and start living your dream.

My dream is to embrace, encourage and embolden you to live your life to the fullest; and to go after those dreams you haven’t allowed yourself to dream of yet.

My hope is that this will become a place where you can find inspiration to acknowledge your dreams, and motivation to start working towards achieving them.

When I open the doors to my coaching cabins (in September if all goes to plan), I will continue to share the knowledge, the experience and all the tips, tricks and tools I’ve collected over the years. I will share blueprints and roadmaps, and we will talk about different ways to go aboat reaching your goals.

And, on that note, I guess I’d better stop writing on this early bird too excited to stop myself from writing kinda post and get back to the, far less exciting, ground work.

Thank you for stopping by today!

Hopefully, I’ll be able to invite you back to a live blog in a few weeks’ time. I’d love to have you here for the grand opening and I hope we will be seeing a lot more of each other once we have set sail.

Much love,

//Evalena x

PSSST!
    1. Watch and chain is Cockney rhyming slang for brain
    2. Freedom from guilt applies to almost all people. For some, a little bit of guilt, would clearly be a good thing…

FINISHED READING? RIGHT, WHAT DO WE DO NOW THEN?

MEET THE AUTHOR:
Evalena Styf
Coach & Mentor

After 25 years of anonymous blogging on a variety of free platforms, Evalena Styf decided to go pro and put all of her writings on a private wall. In this personal blog she primarily writes about personal and professional development; about living the dream; and about how to keep on living and loving when everything seems to be falling apart.

Evalena’s ambition is for All of Me to become a source of inspiration, motivation, joy and love; but she would also like to see the blog become a space where we can talk, teach and learn together. Using her knack for storytelling, Evalena dives into her pool of personal and professional experiences to bring a wide range of difficult and diverse topics to the surface; e.g. funkophobia, social exclusion, chafing societal norms, mental & physical health issues, racism, poverty, identity, creativity, nerdiness, lusting for life and longing for death.

If you want to get in touch with Evalena, you can find all the deets in this linktree.

COMMENTS & QOTD:

I talk a lot about myself and my life in this blog, but I’d love to get to know something about you too. If you have a minute, please slide into my comment sections and let me know something. Tell me what you thought of the article you just read, ask me anything, and let me know if there’s something else you’d like me to write about.

After each text I post, I tend to ask you a question or two to get us talking. Today, I have no less than four questions about living your dreams:

      1. What are you dreaming of?
      2. What’s holding you back from pursuing your dream(s)?
      3. Have you ever realised one of your dreams?
      4. How did you do it?

Please, leave your answer in the comment section below. If you don’t want your response to show up on the site, just start your message with the word ANONYMOUS and it will be our secret.

SHARE & LIKE:

The number of people reading, following, liking, sharing and commenting is tracked by google and other search engines. The more engagement my blog creates the higher my chances of being promoted when people are looking for something online. And this is, of course, like the holy graal for professional bloggers.

If you’d like to give me a hand and help me grow my blog, I would greatly appreciate it if you could share (and like) my posts online. Use the buttons below to share this post and link back to my blog from pinterest, facebook, twitter, linkedin, whatsapp etc. If you tag me when you do, I’ll do my best to stop by and say thanks.

If you want to share posts or quote parts of them in other contexts, remember to add me as the source and make sure you include my name, the title of the article, where and when it was published.

Here is an example of what this could look like:

Styf, Evalena. 2020. Article Title. All of Me. [Blog] 1 januari. http://evalena.styf.co.uk/YYYY/MM/DD/title-of-article/ (Accessed YYYY-MM-DD).

FOLLOW & SUBSCRIBE:

Another way you can support me and help me grow my blogs is to hook up with me on social media. Give me a follow on facebook, instagram, pinterest and twitter; och like-share-comment whenever you see an update from me. If you have an open profile with you name on it I’ll follow you back as long as our values align.

If you check out my my linktree, you’ll find that I have a number of accounts. To follow the one where I post updates about everything I write in English, you want to go to Evalena Styf on facebook, Evalena Styf on instagram and, Evalena Styf on twitter.

I only have one account on pinterest and I use it to post a new pin every time I upload a new post. But my account, Evalena on pinterest, also features a wide range of boards covering topics from Arts & Crafts to Zoom calls.

My Monthly Missives, aka newsletters, will be rolled out within the next couple of months. Sign up now to make sure you won’t miss out and to secure your special gift that I’ll be sending out to each subscriber who signed up before the launch date. Signing up is lemon squeezy – all you need to do is to put your first name and email address into this form.

EXPLORE THE BLOG FAMILY TREE:

Would you like to read more blogs in English (or Swedish)? If that’s a yes you’re in for a treat! On top of my personal blog, All of Me, I have a number of special interest blogs you might like. I will keep moving my blogs over here and add new links as they materialise. 

You can find links to the blogs that are currently available at the very bottom of the right hand side column. If you want to know more about them before you check tham out, you can have a look at this blog family tree.

OTHER HELP & SUPPORT:

I’ve been an amateur blogger for just over 25 years now and I have learned a lot (about a lot of things!) over the years. Like the fact that one of my most frequently asked questionsthe questions I get the most is how you can support me and help keep my posts coming.

As I transition into professional blogging, I’ll happily accept any offer of help and support to get wind in my sails. Most of all, I need help growing this blog. I’m well aware of the difficulty getting blog portal readers to tag along to a private domain, but with your help we may be able to grow the numbers enough for google and the other search engines to recognise me. And that is something of a requirement for pro bloggers. It’s a “without google’s spotlight you don’t exist” kinda thing.

When you read, share, like, comment, follow and subscribe, you make me ridiculously happy and grateful. A frame of mind that makes me work harder, which in turn means I churn out more blog posts. Winner, winner chicken dinner!  =)