I lived every day thinking about the one day when everything was going to be like a dream. It was a very long time before I realized that all my thoughts were dreams, and only dreams. Head in the clouds, on top of the world, building an empire to stand the test of time, all of it…a fantasy. It was all but a dream within a dream.
Then came the jobs, the girlfriends, the car, the gas, the bills, the groceries, the clothes, the apartment….everything cost so damn much, how is it that anyone gets ahead?
Things begin to pile up, some people try screwing you out of money they owe you, others try suing you for money, and still there are the bill collectors, the stress keeps building and building, and one day you drive yourself to the emergency room with chest pain and radiating left arm pain. 21 years old and I had so much stress and hypertension I thought I had a heart attack. Yea….this is exactly what I thought my life would be.
Oh to be younger and more naïve, what I would give! To have nap time again and recess…oh, what a treat it would be to be free of the cruelty of the world.
SO WHAT IS MY POINT?
I was living a romanticized fantasy of life. TV shows, movies, and the lives of the rich and famous show you a life that doesn’t exist, and they engrain it into the minds of us as children, and part of growing up is realizing the harsh realities of the world.
No, life is not fair.
No, we do not always get what we want.
Shit happens, and you have to deal with it.
Sometimes your hopes and dreams get crushed.
Sometimes you have to learn things the hard way because there are no easy ways to learn them.
Every now and then you lie awake in your bed, just thinking, possibly wanting to cry, but you can’t because the harsh reality of the world has toughened you.
Yes, if you let it, life will chew you up and spit you out like an old piece of gum.
The fact of the matter is, one day you wake up, look in the mirror, and you see the image of a person you once knew, but seems like it’s been ages since you last spoke.
But do you see a hollow shell of the individual before you, or do you see a person, accomplishing all the things you never thought you could.
Sometimes, we hit lows, and even rarer yet you hit the lowest of lows…but in no way can you let that define the person you are or the person you want to become.
HOW IS IT I KNOW THIS?
I have had my fair share of hard times, just like anyone else, and I won’t bore you with my story (I’ll save that for another article, or perhaps a book since it’s long enough), but I have also faced those hard times head on. Pain is only temporary, but when temporary comes around a lot more often than it should, you know that you need to change something.
It’s in those lows that you feel like you don’t know anything anymore; that the world is crumbling around you and you’re drowning in it.
FIGHT IT! This is not you, and your life does NOT need to be defined by this. We all need help sometimes, and it’s okay to get it!
I have seen what the power of depression can lead a person to do. AND IF YOU TAKE AWAY ONLY ONE THING FROM THIS, KNOW THAT IT ALWAYS GETS BETTER!
What helped get me out of such a depression I was in (after losing a full ride scholarship and of all things being kicked out of the Air Force because I had asthma) was acceptance. I realized what I had been focusing on, and then figured out what I really needed to focus on.
WHAT WAS I FOCUSING ON?
The dream…not reality.
So from there, I started focusing on my present, looking forward to the future, and not only learning from but also embracing my past.
It took me over a year of constantly wondering to figure out that I was trying to live a dream, and I needed to accept where I was in life in order for me to move forward.
SO WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE YOU?
Regain control of your life….it sounds really simple, but it’s not…find the person that you truly are and want to be, then start kicking ass!
If you want to live that dream, its not going to be easy either! Obviously, it’s a dream for a reason, and you are going to have to work your ass off to get it, and then take all the trials and tribulations that come with it. Contrary to what the youth of today think, everything will not be given to you on a silver platter. But guess what, it is attainable, and if you keep working at it, it gets easier and better.
I was talking to a great friend of mine a couple of months ago, and she was trying to figure out if she should do something that would benefit her and she should do, or if she should do something that makes her happy. To which I responded, ”There is no difference, if it does not make you happy, then you should not do it.”
I then spoke to her just the other day and she is working on launching a food blog about New Orleans. And we talked; I told her what was going on in my life and she told me what all was happening in her’s. But as I was telling her that I was trying to decide between one thing that would make my parents happy or another that would make me happy, she stopped me and eloquently reminded me of the same words I told her, which I needed to hear.
NOW WHAT DO I DO?
Live…Simple as that! Embrace your past, Live for today, and Look forward to tomorrow!
Part of the reason I lost my full ride to LSU was because not only was I living in a fantasy where I could do what I wanted without repercussions, but also because I wasn’t mature enough yet to be in college. What I had worked so hard for in high school was all of a sudden gone, and I had no one to blame but myself.
My father spoke to me the other day, and he’s been trying to get me to go back to school to get my education and get a good job so that way life won’t be so hard for me as it was for him and my mother, who were both uneducated and broke with lousy jobs when me and my brother were born. But they have come a long way from then and worked hard to get us to where we are now.
My dad told me, “I think you just need to bite the bullet and go back to college and stick it out.”
Which I can agree to, to some extent, but a person needs to go to college on their own terms.
Don’t get me wrong, I want to go back to college, I miss it and I want to get my degree. But I know that if I go back right now, it wouldn’t be good for me…because I still have a little bit more maturing to do, and that’s okay, at least I know that! I need to know what it is I’m going back for…and although the answer is “for myself,” right now it would mostly be for my parents, not me, which isn’t good enough, and that definitely won’t help me decide what I want to get a degree in.
Now, do I think it’s a good move for a person to drop out of school or not go to school in order to start a company or do something else?
(Don’t tell anyone I said this, but hell yea, IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING GOOD GOING FOR YOU) Let the record show I’m saying no if any of my cousins that are in college or their parents just so happen to read this. (To my cousins-talk to me first)Do I think it’s smart?
[email protected]%# No! (Depends on what you got going for you.) It’s probably the most stupid decision you’ll ever make in your life that you’ll either never regret making, or hate the day you first thought of it. But like I say, close your eyes, count to three, say, “Fuck It!” then jump!
Now was it smart of me? No, but it kind of worked out, haha! I still understand the value and importance of an education, and I will go back to finish my degree, but this time on my terms.
So go out there, find yourself and your purpose, quit living in a fantasy and make your dreams a reality.
At some point in your life, you have to determine when you’ve had enough.
WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO START LIVING LIFE ON YOUR OWN TERMS!?
Brandon Jolicoeur is a young business professional from the New Orleans area. As a native of New Orleans, he prides himself on being a food connoisseur and a travel and adrenaline junkie always staying true to his family’s motto, “Be Adventurous, Live Life!”
Image Credit: www.flickr.com