Heartaches vs. Heartbreaks : Your Dreams & Plans vs. Life

I know at some point you all are probably tired of hearing me rant and ramble about New York. This time is going to be a little bit different. I’m going to try and explain to you why my dreams pull me in that direction in the first place, and how life and my plans have changed alongside my dreams.

I stepped foot in New York City almost 8 years ago. The only way I can describe that initial feeling? It took my breath away.

The pivotal feeling NYC gave me was similar to the feeling I used to feel when being on stage dancing-Alive.

The city lights, bustling people of all shapes, sizes, personalities and complexions, made me smile. The aromas from garbage and sewers to italian food and McDonalds intrigued me so much.

And then I saw the purple flags….discovered NYU. Thus my dream of moving to NYC as soon as possible was born

nyu

When you first get an idea or first become passionate about something, the possibilities are endless. It seems as if nothing can stand in your way. And oh, what I would give to have that optimism every single waking day of my life. When I first decided NYC was the place for me, I chose the route that seemed most realistic. School. I would go to NYU live in the big city, learn new things, meet worldly people and BOOM. Dream come true. Right? Wrong.

I didn’t think of the OBSTACLES.

The first wall that presented itself was in fact the very same method I thought I’d gain entry to NYC by. School. I didn’t get into NYU. I was utterly devastated. Felt as if I’d done something horribly wrong, and that all my hard work had been for nothing. All hope was lost.

(insert dramatic pause here…)

Then I came to UNC Asheville. And because the memories, experience, and feelings I have about this school could be its own blog post i’ll save it for another time…but basically, I found my place. The place that I was supposed to be next… and now almost 4 years later, 8 months or 243 days away from undergraduate graduation I wouldn’t have had it any other way. 

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You see, we have this idea of what our lives are supposed to be like. To some degree, we assume that by planning things no matter how specifically or generally we do it, that this plan ensures that what we want to happen will be what happens.

Lesson 1: Plans don’t always work out the way you hope they will

 

I would never give up the people I have met, interacted with , and learned from these past few years. I’ve learned new things, done big things, and met some worldly people. Just like I wanted right? 

So not getting in the first time around? Necessary. Didn’t kill my dream. In fact, the time spent away from NYC resulted in a few things for my dreams and I:

  • Helped me realize that I didn’t have to choose a career right away but that it was okay to choose a direction.
  • Why I actually wanted to go to NYC, and NYU in the first place
  • I had a lot of growing to do before I could take on this big dream the right way.
  • Allowed me to discover a new passion, which is fatefully stationed right in the big Apple and has allowed me to see NYC in a new professional light.
  • Taught me to appreciate home more than ever.

So obstacles? Are not all that bad. There are a lot of things that would have gone much much differently if I’d have gone to NYC right away.  It’s hard to imagine life that way now, because of all the wonderful things that have happened since.

Lesson 2: A part of achieving your dreams, is truly knowing the answer to the question: WHY?

If you ask me what I want to do now I’d tell you graduate school. For what? Public Administration. Where? NYC. Why?

Pause.

Why? Is the question that trips everyone up. It is the question you can’t really contest, because the answer is yours. Why do YOU want to do this? Why is this the route YOU want to take?  I highlight the YOU part because when you really sit and think about this why question you realize how many other people have placed a stake in YOUR dream…. versus the stake you have in it. If the stakes other people have in your dream are bigger than your own? Technically it isn’t your dream anymore.

When I first wanted to take on NYC. I wanted to be a lawyer. I was going to go to NYU, learn everything I could. Go to Law School, do it again, and then work for a big firm in which I could find some way to impact housing laws and policies. Looking at that now almost makes me cringe a bit. Why? Because it was far from what I truly wanted.

Now? I would like to pursue a master’s degree in Public Administration or Public Policy. Why? I want to better understand the way policies and organizations interact with one another, how they can work together better, and how I can use the skills and knowledge taught in these types of programs to begin my own organization one day that is able to provide a substantial public service and collaborate with not only other non-profit organizations but local, state, and federal organizations as well.

Now, look at that, versus being a lawyer? The difference is huge to me when I see it laid out before me.

Lesson 3: Knowing what you want is sometimes more powerful than a detailed plan

 

The difference ultimately lies in my path. Either way I’ve always known that I want to make a difference, and that I wanted to contribute something to the world. It took the past few years for me to realize that whatever I do, I need to be rooted in it, I need to be intrinsically motivated. I can’t let the big flashy lights and beautiful scenery of NYC be the defining factor of why I want to go there. And to be honest, that’s what it was at first. It’s hard to admit it, but I didn’t know anything about the city, all I had to go off of was the pretty sights and scenery.

I’m grateful that i’ve been able to go to NYC three times in the last 3 years. That I found an organization that taught me to see NYC in a new light. It’s still bright and shiny, but I am not ignorant to its challenges and flaws. 

Is it still my dream to go there for school? Yes. I honestly, want to go to NYC period. It would be the ultimate blessing, and challenge for me. And I am okay with that.

Lesson 4: Learn to dream, prepare, and plan, and live life along with the opening and closing of doors and presentation of different obstacles.

Sometimes, life says no. Since I believe in God, I see it as God, saying no. It doesn’t happen to us to push us down, and that I think is the hardest thing to accept.

When I first applied to NYU, I was terrified, second guessing myself, worried, a bit unprepared to be honest…and I would not have admitted ANY of that to you or anyone. Now, knowing what I want and being able to see it more clearly, recognizing the benefits in the obstacles that have been presented to me, knowing how to answer the question WHY? and realizing that plans aren’t always going to work out the way I hope they will… have prepared me more than ever before to take on the next big step towards my dream.

When your dream gets placed on hold it hurts. It is a definite heartache. When it doesn’t happen when you think it will, it can even feel like a heartbreak. What heals that pain though, are the four lessons that being away from NYC have taught me:

Lesson 1: Plans don’t always work out the way you hope they will.

Lesson 2: A part of achieving your dreams, is truly knowing the answer to the question: WHY?

Lesson 3: Knowing what you want is sometimes more powerful than a detailed plan.

Lesson 4: Learn to dream, prepare, and plan, and live life along with the opening and closing of doors and presentation of different obstacles.

 

I hope that whatever your dream is, you continue to fight for it. I also hope that if you recognize that it isn’t your dream anymore you can let go of it as peacefully.

As for my dream? NYC i’m coming for you. NYU?

 

Round 2, let’s go.

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Much love,

 

SWC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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