achieving dreams – #WhatImWriting

Aspirations are funny things. I’ve mused before about whether their real power lies not so much in the thrill of achieving them but in the joy of having something to aim for: an exciting goal glittering on the horizon, something to focus on and to dream about. Like a guiding star shining above the more mundane aspects of daily existence.

star cluster

Aspirations can certainly be seductive, whatever form they take (career, home, family, travel – the list is endless) and thinking about them can be a stronger motivator than any other. Without them, I suspect life would lack the flavour and momentum that their sense of possibility brings to it. You might not achieve all your aspirations, you might not achieve many of them at all, but as long as you have them, there’s something out there for you isn’t there? Something to reach for?

What about if you do achieve your dreams though? What next? Do you set yourself further goals, ones that are harder to achieve and further away? Or can you simply bathe happily in the joy of aspirations reached for the rest of your life?

Perhaps it depends what they are. I always wanted a loving husband and three kids; a fairly normal sort of aspiration perhaps, but there it was. I’m fortunate enough to have that, and it’s wonderful. It’s also exhausting. It’s fun and fulfilling but it’s challenging. And as much as I know I’m lucky, my daily life is full of an awful lot of washing and cleaning, not nearly as much sleep as I’d like, and more shouting than I consider ideal. So, while I achieved my dream, living it is not a life of perfect bliss and I often aspire to doing a better job in a hundred little ways. But then I wouldn’t expect it to be otherwise. Three kids were never going to be easy, real marriages aren’t like fairytales and running a household was bound to be hard work in some form or other.

Is it different with other aspirations? How about specific, ‘once in a lifetime’ types like seeing Niagara Falls, flying in a hot air balloon or swimming with dolphins? The experience would surely be as exciting as the dream in those cases wouldn’t it? Yes, absolutely – I’ve experienced one of those (the first) and it was fantastic, a real thrill – but they’re also short-lived. The memories are wonderful but they are just memories (and mine, being over twenty years old, have faded considerably!). That said, building up an archive of achieved aspirations like that certainly adds to the joy of existence and I guess, with enough time and money you could even spend your whole life surfing the wave of these types of dreams…

Are there any more long-lasting aspirations that are as wonderful to experience as they look from afar though? Specific career goals perhaps? It’s possible, but in my experience, every goal realised in this area too, brings its own challenges. But then, no aspiration has ever burned quite so brightly as my desire to be a published author. When I imagine how it would feel to see my name on the cover of a printed book… to open it and run my fingers through its pages… to sit and read it to my kids… ahhh. I’m smiling just thinking about it.

Would achieving that not bring me joy unbridled? Of course it would!

… For five minutes, or perhaps five hours but beyond that, well, publication would bring a whole other range of pressures and expectations. I’d have to market my books for a start, and I’d also have to write more. And maybe it wouldn’t be to my own schedule anymore. There would be deadlines and pressure from editors and publishers. And that’s if things were going well.

But you know what? None of this is bad news. Living the reality of an achieved dream, rather than musing on the fantasy, doesn’t make that dream any less worthwhile. Sure, my home life isn’t perfect but it still makes me very happy; my family is the most important thing in the world to me. And my memories of Niagra Falls may have faded but some sense of them will always linger… and that sense makes me want to fulfil those other ‘once in a lifetime’ dreams too. And then, even as aware as I am of the hard work involved in publishing a book, imagining turning the pages of that book still makes my stomach fizz with excitement.

And that’s the joy of aspirations really isn’t it? Unlimited by practicalities, they exist in perfect form. They are the wonder of motherhood without the exhaustion of sleepless nights, the excitement of choosing a dream home without the burden of paying for it and the fulfilment of publishing a book without the pressure of sustaining a writing career. They are the pop and whizz of ‘what if?’ and ‘let’s try that!’.

So, for me at least, I think the excitement of aspirations is in the journey just as much as the goal. And I love that about them. After all, individual aspirations can only be achieved once (if at all), but thinking, planning and dreaming about achieving them makes their sparkle limitless.

Every day I imagine how it it would feel to get that publishing deal. Maybe it will never happen, but my life is one hell of a lot richer for having dreamed, hoped and strived for it.

What do aspirations mean to you?


Thanks to Reneé from Mummy Tries for the inspiration for this post! Reneé is running the Brit Mums Carnival this week and the theme is ‘achieving dreams’. Why not pop over to see what other people have come up with?

Muddled Manuscript

22 thoughts on “achieving dreams – #WhatImWriting

  1. Rachael

    “The excitement of aspirations is in the journey just as much as the goal” – absolutely. We may or may not achieve all of our dreams but we’ll certainly have stories to tell along the way! :-)

  2. Mummy Tries

    This is a brilliant way to look at it Maddy, and you’re completely right of course. The journey is always where the happiness is, in all aspects of life, but unfortunately some get too hung up on the end goal that they don’t enjoy the journey… Great post hon xx

  3. Iona@redpeffer

    I really like your perspective Maddy, such a positive way of approaching it and one I totally agree with too. I’ve known people get so caught up in achieving their aspirations that they miss so much along the way and are inevitably let down when that aspiration fails to reach the impossible standards of a dream. It becomes an obsession almost.

    1. Maddy Post author

      I agree it can be too easy to get obsessed with the goal. I’d much rather try to appreciate what I can in life along the way. Thanks for commenting Iona. xx

  4. Nicola Young

    What a beautiful post, written with such emotion. I think it’s nice to have dreams and aspirations, but appreciating what you’ve got is so important. Living your life with the ‘grass is greener’ attitude could make you bitter and unable to appreciate the little things and the special moments that are part of everyday life.

  5. Emily Organ

    What a lovely post Maddy. I think you’re so right, achieving your dreams isn’t always what you imagine it to be. Rose tinted glasses and all that! But those dreams keep you going and help you motivate and strive. I think you always need to believe they can happen, and when they do (in an albeit different form to how you imagined), you can create new ones.

  6. Funky Wellies

    Wonderful post, Maddy.
    There is so much satisfaction in achieving a goal, but the journey to get there can be so exciting. Probably what make us start with new aspirations/goals again. xx

  7. Zena's Suitcase

    You have put into words, exactly how I feel about it all. Life isn’t perfect, and it’s never what you thought it would be when you were young. Working out what makes us happy is a journey all in itself

  8. Mel

    What a beautifully written post, Maddy. I agree with you, life with Hubby and the children is not a fairy tale, but it is life and it is good. Short-lived dreams are also exciting. What I find the best is booking something I really want to do a long time in advance. This way, you enjoy the event / trip through its planning stages, researching it etc. x

  9. Louise

    I love this post – so beautifully written and I agree that the journey is often as exciting as achieving our aspirations. While they’re still dreams, they can be perfect but achieving them is still wonderful even if it never quite is the way we expect it to be.

  10. Sophie Lovett

    Love this post :) I feel so lucky to have achieved many of my dreams over the years, but each time I can’t help but raise the bar that little bit higher. Getting published is the ultimate aspiration for me now – so much so that I think I’m still at the stage of admiring it from afar as this thing unsullied by reality. I do need to pluck up the courage to take the next steps with that (or at least work out what they are!), but it’s definitely important too to relish and celebrate all the other successes – even if now they’re here they bring with them their own challenges too :) xx

  11. Chrissie (@rantybeast)

    Excellent post. Not sure I’ve achieved any of my long term aspirations… I don’t know what they are, such is the nature of my depression and self-doubt.
    Recently my career has excelled though and achieving this was a blast. It has actually changed my life (in both good and bad ways). I’ll always have the writer bug gnawing through my brain, though x


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