Randy Pausch, the author of the Last Lecture, he had pancreatic cancer and just had a few months left to live. He talks about his childhood dreams and how he was able to achieve most of them. He explains his upbringing and for a dying man he has the greatest sense of humor and mindset on life.
When things didn’t work out for him he would explain, “Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.” This is a forward-thinking mindset, so when he has roadblocks or doors that close it’s just provided him with experience and didn’t cause him to give up and stop dreaming.
His parents encouraged him to live creatively, they let him paint his room however he wanted. His parents encouraged him and helped him to grow up in a safe space where he could be authentically himself. His upbringing had a huge impact on how he saw the world and what he was able to accomplish.
Another one of my favorite quotes of his is, “The brick walls are there for a reason. They’re there to show how much you want something, they’re there to stop other people.”
I fully believe that dreaming is important.
It’s our dreams that enrich our lives and drive us forward. A life without having dreams is dark and dreary. I know this better than most. Before getting married I had so many dreams and goals I was working toward. After getting married my ex-husband didn’t share any of the same dreams he previously professed to have had.
My world became dark and dismal, my dreams were hushed by him on a daily basis. My identity was diminished and he controlled everything I did and dreaming was something that was difficult to do. Life became a mundane and mere routine of survival. But dreaming allows us to thrive, be happy, and become a person of depth and character. Having dreams puts color and meaning in our lives.
One of my childhood dreams was to publish a book.
I’ve tried writing many different types of books since elementary school. In high school, I finally found my niche. Personal development. The books I had tried writing before were anything from a fun workbook for kids, sci-fi, poetry, and so on. But I couldn’t just sit and read a book for fun, I honestly hate fiction books, I always have. So I couldn’t write about something that I don’t enjoy reading.
But I love personal development and I started writing a book based on attitude and perspective. But I had a single thought that stopped me. I was only 18 at the time. What did I know about life? Who would want to read a book on how having a positive attitude can change your life? I feared ridicule and judgment. So, I retired that dream.
Then when I had been married for about a year my ex-husband made me move away from all my friends and family. He became more abusive and I clung to what I could as I slipped into severe depression. I went back to my childhood dream. I tried illustrating and writing a self-care book. I was afraid to tell my ex-husband what I was working on and wouldn’t dare work on my project if he was around. Inevitably he found my illustrations and I couldn’t finish writing my book. It gave me joy for a brief moment in a dark time of my life, but it couldn’t be sustained in such a dark environment.
A year later, I was pregnant and looking for a way to provide some extra money, nonetheless a passive income. I again went back to my dream of publishing a book and I picked up the book I started writing in high school. I was quite a few years older and had a lot more life experience. I had experienced losing my entire family due to moving, I lost all my friends. I had no one (but an abusive husband). Above it all I thought I was doing okay, I was writing about positivity and happiness when you’re going through extreme trials.
I wrote over 20 pages, I would work on it every night after working a 8+ hour shift while my ex-husband would repeatedly tell me what a negative person I am and how I’m the one making my life miserable. I refused to tell him what I was working on but unfortunately his words got to me. I felt hypocritical. How could I write about having a positive perspective on life and being happy when I was so unhappy? I couldn’t. I wasn’t in a positive environment, I wasn’t in a place that was safe in anyway.
But since being able to get away from my abusive ex-husband I have written and illustrated a book for my daughter. I am just about to send it off the publisher. So Fingers crossed.
The difference in my environment is astounding. Being married to a cruel man limited what I was able to accomplish, I wasn’t supported or encouraged to go after my dreams. So anything I tried, I failed. Now being in a positive environment surrounded by people who are kind and who love and encourage me I’ve been able to finish a book and get it to the point where I’m ready to send it to a publisher.
I don’t see any of the books I’ve tried writing as failures. Again, I loved what Randy Pausch said, “Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.”
I’ve learned a lot from pursuing my dreams. If it doesn’t work out with the publisher this time, I’ll keep writing. I’ll keep illustrating. I’ll keep going, that’s another thing about Randy and anyone who is successful is they don’t give up, just because something doesn’t work out right away doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen. It takes persistence and most dreams require experience and knowledge in order for them to be fulfilled.