One phrase I hear on a loop is some variation of 'Never Give Up On Your Dreams.' It's not that this is bad advice per se it's just incomplete advice. Despite the possible good intentions imbued in those words, I believe this phrase causes more harm than help.
'Never give up on your dreams' gives the impression that I must follow my dreams and hold onto them no matter the cost. It causes doubts like - Have I given up on my dreams if I want to change them? What if my dreams don't fit the life I find myself living?
These doubts allow me to hang onto what could have been, they are what gives fuel to an empty hope that those opportunities will once more be on my front step knocking on my door and calling my name. What could have been is the disappointment I have been silently putting off, until tomorrow. But, time has marched on, leaving me holding empty ticket stubs for shows I never got to see.
This is the part no one wants to talk about. When you must give up on your dreams because there is no pulse in them anymore. The ship has sailed. That opportunity has walked away - or maybe that particular opportunity never even knocked on my door! Whatever ingredients were needed for that particular dream I didn't find them. My dream died.
I could choose to never give up on my dream. I could cling desperately to it's lifeless body breathing into it the hope of what could still be. Likewise, I could choose to feel the disappointment and mourn the loss of what could have been.
Only one of these choices leads to a new tomorrow. Feeling the grief of what could have been seems to me one way to plant the seeds of what might yet be. So I let my dreams die. I say respectful words honouring their memory. I am grateful for their guidance that lead me to the life I live now. I let go. I give up on my dreams because it's a healthy thing to do. I move forward by becoming an empty vessel awaiting new dreams to light my way. Once I have new dreams then I can hold on again as they guide me to my new life.