Picture My Dream
Life in General

Picture My Dream

Image may contain: text that says 'SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO LET GO OF THE PICTURE OF WHAT YOU THOUGHT LIFE WOULD BE LIKE & LEARN TO FIND JOY IN THE STORY YOU'RE LIVING.'

A friend of mine posted this quote on Facebook recently. I’ve always loved this quote. It’s been important to remember throughout my life when things weren’t going quite as I’d hoped. And then another blogger shared a post about giving up our dreams. Together, they made me think about my life and dreams and the story I’m living.

My dream

My dream, if I go way back in life, was to find the right guy, get married, and have children. It seems so simple especially since many people get this without even trying. At what point do you realize this dream will never come true and decide to strive for something else?

For me, it wasn’t a conscious thought. You just live your life and continue to hope you’ll find what you’re looking for. Until you reach that point where you realize it isn’t ever going to happen. Then you accept your life and hopefully, have new dreams to keep you going.

It’s a good thing I was able to let go of that dream. Sometimes I wonder if it was God’s way of telling me I wasn’t cut out for that. I was supposed to be alone and a “career woman”. It never felt quite right, though, especially the alone part. Not because I couldn’t handle it, but I always felt like I had more to offer.

The beginning of my reality

I was never good at finding love. Maybe it’s my introvert personality; I wasn’t the life of the party or the one who immediately caught anyone’s attention. And unfortunately, it seems to take that when you’re younger and trying to attract someone to make a connection.

I had hoped to meet someone in college, but that didn’t happen either. I met some nice guys but none of them turned into love. Shortly after graduation and I started my new job, I met someone. I think deep down I knew he wasn’t the right one, but I convinced myself I was in love with him. Our marriage lasted four years.

My dream seemed to come true after that when I met someone who I thought was the love of my life. After three years, he decided I wasn’t the right one for him. This loss hurt more than my divorce. Looking back 34 years now, I can be more objective about him and our relationship. We really didn’t have the same values and life goals, but we sure had fun for a while!!

At 30, I was back in the dating world and it wasn’t promising. I never really gave up on my dream, but I also decided I had to live my life the way it was. I bought a house and moved on. I had good friends to spend time with, I focused on my job, and while there were definitely some lonely times, I was busy and happy.

Living my story

I’m not expecting anyone to feel sorry for me. I’ve had a great life. Absolutely no regrets. All those years while my friends were raising their children, I was traveling and doing the things I love to do without those responsibilities.

I was able to spend money while also saving as much as I could. Expenses are easier to manage when it’s just you. And I’ve always been a pretty frugal person. I never lived beyond my means.

So my dream became retirement and making sure I could quit work at a relatively early age and live comfortably. That dream is now my reality. I have no complaints.

Getting older

Now that I’m older, I think about the dream of my younger self. The situation with my parents has definitely made me think about my own situation and I wonder who will be helping me someday. That’s not the right reason to have kids, but the reality is, we will all need help at some point in our lives.

I suppose you could say I’ve achieved some of that dream. Marrying Tim has made me a grandmother. And while I couldn’t love those kids any more than if they were my own, the fact is, they aren’t my own. It shouldn’t matter, I know. But there are times when it’s clear I’m really not their grandmother. It’s simply a fact.

Is it too late to dream?

Have I reached the point in my life when I no longer have dreams? I hope not.

I know I want to make the most of the next 20 years and enjoy each day to its fullest. But is that a dream?

COVID has put a halt to many of the things I’ve dreamed about. No snowbirding in Florida in 2021. We hesitate to plan any trips because who knows when we can take them. We can’t even visit my parents and they can’t visit each other!!

Life isn’t fair. We each have our own reality that doesn’t quite fit our dream or the picture of what we thought life would be like. It’s easy to assume everyone else has it better, right? But maybe someone is looking at you and thinking you don’t have it so bad!!

The key is to focus on what’s gone right with my life because there’s been so much good in it. And I know there’s more good to come.

So what if my dreams never come true. It’s still fun to dream about what could be as long as I don’t let that destroy the joy I get from the life I’m living.

My life is what it is and it’s pretty great!!

Have your dreams come true?

12 Comments

  • Patricia Doyle

    I’ve not quite thought of my younger self dreams in this way. I’m going to have to do that!

    I know I gave up the “dream” of motherhood quite early in life when I realized it was a “should” expectation and not really my own desire. I do look back and wish I had been more adventuresome when I was younger… don’t know if that is a dream that can still manifest itself. Or is it merely a fantasy…to far removed from the relaity of who I am – my need for security and safety.

    Very thought provoking post!

    • Retired Introvert

      Thanks Pat. I know I’ve lived a very “safe” life too. Same for me – it’s who I am. While I might imagine myself being more adventurous, I’m pretty sure it won’t happen!! Something to think about though. 🤔

  • Mona R McGinnis

    In my younger days, I learned to quell my voice. Consequently, my dreams were not always my own so influenced were they by social and parental expectations. Some came out of rebellion or escapism. Thankfully, I no longer dream of running off with a biker!! Some people will confess that they didn’t know how to dream “that big” when their lives morph into something big. Purpose and goals have replaced dreams for the most part. Like you, “It’s still fun to dream about what could be as long as I don’t let that destroy the joy I get from the life I’m living.”

    • Retired Introvert

      Thanks Mona. I agree that much of what we strive for is based on others’ expectations. I know I always felt I was disappointing my parents when my life didn’t follow a certain pattern. I know they only wanted what they thought was best for me but it does create some pressure to live a certain way. Now that I’m retired, I feel I’m finally living my dream life!!

  • Marty

    I really appreciate your candor and honesty in this post. To me, that’s what makes blogging meaningful, both as a reader and also as a writer.

    I can relate to much of what you’ve written. I am on my second marriage, and my wife always says the reason I’m always so happy and upbeat is that I don’t have kids. She says that tongue-in-cheek, but I suppose there is a glimmer of truth in there somewhere. I have no regrets about not having children, though I do admit to the same thoughts about who might be there for me someday if I need it. But other than creating some reasonable protections for myself (i.e. long term care), I’m also not sure it’s worth my time to stress about it. Focusing on what *might* happen seems to be a waste of my precious mind.

    Thanks for a mindful and thought-provoking read.

    • Retired Introvert

      I never want to make anyone uncomfortable with what I write but it’s always been good therapy for me.

      I agree it’s not worthwhile to worry about what might happen. Having children isn’t a guarantee anyway!!

      Thanks Marty!!

  • An’Nyce

    You showed us your vulnerability today. Thank you for doing that.
    What a crazy time this is, but we know how lucky we are. Clearly, any problems we have are minimal in the grand scheme of things. I’ve been writing in my gratitude journal lately. It keeps me grounded and helps me to appreciate my changed dream. This isn’t what I expected, but it is what I have been given, so I will continue to find the joy everywhere I can.

    • Retired Introvert

      Thanks An’Nyce. It’s so important to appreciate what we have instead of what we don’t have. But that doesn’t mean we won’t have tough days and think about the dreams that will never come true. The key is not to dwell on it to the point it becomes the focus of our life. I know we’ll both continue to find joy in our lives!!

      • Trudy Huisman

        Such a timely post for me.

        Just yesterday, the guy in my life told me he wishes he had a normal family (speaking about his daughter and grandchildren). That’s his current life’s dream. He’s having a rough time understanding the blessings that come with a family that’s not “normal.” (Is there even such a thing as a “normal ” family?)

        I believe life takes us on a path to where we’re supposed to be. Life’s dreams are ever changing.

        I remember wanting to be a teacher but entered the legal field instead and I loved it. I dreamt of a marriage that lasted til death. Instead, I had a 3 year marriage and a 31 year marriage. Neither lasted til death.

        Now I have new dreams, one of which is finding my niche in how to help others. 😏

        • Retired Introvert

          I’m not sure what a normal family would be. I know my parents had a picture in their minds of how my life should be and my divorce did not fit that picture. Normal is what we make it and there will be disappointments along the way. Finding a new dream keeps us going. Maybe our dreams become more realistic as we age? Good luck with finding your niche. It sounds perfect for you!! Thanks Trudy.

  • Cheryl Prior

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful, insightful and very personal post, from a fellow introvert who also does cross stitching. I have been divorced a long time and have 3 grown children, soon to be a grandmother for the first time! I’ve had many relationships since my divorce, and I’m in a good one now, but I don’t know if I can ever take the plunge (that’s what it feels like, as in jumping off a cliff!) and marry again. I love my independence and my biggest passion, travel, which I often do solo. That passion has been greatly curtailed in this pandemic year, and for that I feel a great loss. It’s also just plain scary, with protests and the election mess, and makes you wonder, “What’s next?” So, thanks again.

    • Retired Introvert

      Thanks Cheryl. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever marry again, but it’s definitely been the right thing for me. I understand your perspective, though, as it is kind of a scary proposition. I had prepared for a single retirement (financially) so I had to change things a little bit. But from a non-financial perspective, it’s been a blessing. I’d be spending all of my time alone right now and while I can do it, I’m not sure it would be healthy for me. It’s been good having someone to share the burden. And to bring new things into my life.

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