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Can You Live Your Dream? (An Article About Chasing Those Dreams We All Have)

Updated on October 7, 2012

How many of us have a dream? How many of us have an idealistic view of life, tucked away in the backs of our minds, that occasionally resurfaces to remind us of who we really wanted to be? How many of us are working in a job we find unfulfilling, unsure if we will ever be able to get out of our rut and move on to the things we truly aspire to? How many of us are letting our dreams pass us by, writing them off as naive, youthful fantasies, unrealistic in the 'real' world?

I'm willing to bet there are quite a few of us. Myself included. For, as we grow up and become adults, we acquire a lot of time-consuming and costly responsibilities. Somehow our dreams seem to fade further and further into the stratosphere until we become convinced they are unattainable.

Image: Arvind Balaraman /
Image: Arvind Balaraman /

Sometimes You Have To Take Risks

Sometimes money plays a part. We know what we want but we don't have the spare funds to go after it. Sometimes time discourages us - we want to make a career change but we must spend several years studying before we are qualified. Sometimes fear plays a big part, for there's nothing so comfortable as an old pair of slippers. Sometimes, though, if we want to live an enriched and fulfilling life then we simply have to go for it.

We all know people who have done it, of course. There have been countless television programmes about lucky people who have upped-sticks and headed off to a faraway country to live in an old castle, or something equally unconventional. Stressed out city slickers have thrown it all away to live on a farm in the back of beyond, getting their pleasures from feeding the chickens as the sun comes up. Others have risked it all to start a new business they are passionate about. Whatever your dream, most of the time it can be done - if only we can find the courage to get out of our comfy old slippers and go for it.

A friend of mine was one of the people who 'went for it'. She had always wanted the autonomy and freedom of working for herself. Even though she had three young children, she borrowed the money and took over a business renting out day boats on the Broads. Not only that, but she later expanded and set up a cafe and gift shop alongside it. The business is a valuable asset to the area and, even though she isn't rich, she is still doing what she wanted to do.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step - quote from Confucius
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step - quote from Confucius

Taking Small Steps

I know someone else who was working part-time for a clothing chain but set up an on-line business selling children's clothes. This person also has young children, so working from home is ideal. Selling wholesale products on your own website is a reasonably safe path to take. Even if your business is unsuccessful, you will hopefully have suffered only minimal financial loss.

Some people are happy to take a risk or two, but so many more of us are stuck in our comfy old slippers. I am just as guilty as the next person. I have always harboured a dream of writing a book - and not just one book but many. But then I had a full-time job, and then I had my children and suddenly the prospect of writing that novel seemed extremely daunting; always something to put off until tomorrow. Not only that, but when I finally had a couple of hours to myself at the end of the day, the latest episode of my favourite soap opera suddenly seemed more appealing.

The problem was, I was stuck in my comfy old slippers. People who suceed in achieving their dreams don't get there without knowing what they want and making the effort. It doesn't always mean that you have to risk everything you have on a whim. Understandably, that is often not possible when you have responsibilities. Instead, the answer is to start out small, even very small, and work upwards.

That is what I am doing. I was fed up with the nagging feeling that time ticks on and on, even when you are standing still. I decided that doing something, however small, towards achieving my dream was a step in the right direction. I have now started writing my book and it is fifty thousand words long. I write something every day, even if it is only a paragraph or two. It's already taken me several months, but each time I write just a little bit, the words add up. After all, writing anything is better than writing nothing. If I write my one or two, or even three paragraphs, I finish the day with a feeling that I have accomplished something towards achieving my dream, even if it is only a tiny bit. I have done something worthwhile, just for me. Doing a small amount each day means that you still have time for everything else.

Remember: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step.....(quote from Confucius)

It does, indeed. At the end of the day, everything starts from nothing at all. I've always remembered the story told to me by a lady with a small business selling reusable nappies. She ran her on-line business from home, and I visited her house to collect some nappies I had bought because she lives in the same city as me. Anyway, I was purchasing three Tots Bots Bamboozle nappies and she asked me if I knew the story of how Tots Bots had first started out.

'A couple, husband and wife, had found themselves both unemployed with a young baby,' she said. 'With little money coming in, they suddenly had the idea of making their own nappies for the baby. They could see a gap in the market as they hadn't been able to find any products that suited them. So they used their dole money to buy some fabric and set about their plan at the kitchen table. Thus, Tots Bots was born.'

Tots Bots is now one of the major sellers of real nappies, at least in the UK. I think it is a wonderful story. It is an inspiring example of how two people who had hit hard times became a success. But it could easily have been so different. Had they not been prepared to take a risk, they would never have succeeded. How many people do nothing, believing a change just isn't possible? Low self-motivation leads to low self-esteem. You must believe you can be successful, otherwise you will never find the drive to 'go for it' in the first place.


The World is Your Oyster

These days, a huge percentage of households have access to the internet. Indeed, the Worldwide Web has completely revolutionised our lives. Suddenly we are all connected, without even having to go anywhere. A click of a button can put us in contact with someone on the other side of the country, or even the other side of the world.

For people who dream about setting up their own small business, the internet is a wonderful invention. It has made it possible for virtually anyone to purchase a domain and set themselves up as a company. Many people have taken a step into the world of business by selling wholesale items, or even their own products, on their own websites. The only finances required to get going are the costs incurred setting up and maintaining the website and the cost of the products to sell. It is an amazing opportunity, and far less of a risk than opening up your own shop, for instance. If it all falls flat, then you have lost only the cost of the products you have purchased. If is a success, then you can move on to greater things.


Image: Arvind Balaraman /
Image: Arvind Balaraman /

The Good Life

Perhaps it isn't a new business you are looking for. Perhaps you are fed up with the rat race; of ending the day feeling bogged down by the pressures of modern life. There is so much to do and so much is expected of us. Sometimes it can seem as though our society values little else but earning money and spending money. Perhaps you harbour a desire to get away from it all; to lead a self-sufficient existence in the country. Maybe you imagine yourself growing your own vegetables while the children run freely in clean, fresh air. It's a big step. You don't work in the country - you work in the city. You need the money, you can hardly give up working. You tell yourself it's not possible - you can't make the change. At least, not yet.

You could, however, start by making small changes. If you want to become self-sufficient(ish), put your name on the council waiting list for an allotment. I know two people who have recently done just that. Both of them now have their own plots (one half size, one full size), spades, shovels and wellie boots. One of them is my own sister, who had so many courgettes last summer that she didn't know what to do with them. The other is a friend who is only just setting out, but who has announced that she fancies keeping chickens as well. Freshly laid eggs and your own, home-grown, local vegetables. Zero air miles and practically no road miles. You're beginning to live your dream and you are thinking about the planet, too. It might not be the dream home with the acres of land in the countryside, but it's still digging in the outdoor air. It's a little step in the right direction and one step away from total reliance on the supermarket.


Image: robert bell /
Image: robert bell /

If You Have A Dream...

If you have a dream, a vision of the life you would love to lead, then spare a moment or two to consider this: One day, all being well, you will have grown older, a lot older. You will have a lot of time behind you to look back and reminisce over. Propel yourself into the future and imagine how you might feel. Go on, do it. I dare you. How will you feel if you had a dream but never did a thing about it? Then look at it from another perspective - how will you feel if you gave it your all and just tried?


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    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      7 years ago from UK

      Hi Improving You, I'm glad you enjoyed it, thanks for reading - I notice you write on similar topics so I'll be back to read your hubs later :)

    • Improving You profile image

      Improving You 

      7 years ago from Estero, Fl

      Enjoyed reading your article Polly. Thank you for the inspiration.

    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      8 years ago from UK

      Hi Jeannieinabottle, thank you for reading and for your great comment :)

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 

      8 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      I love this hub. It is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing it!

    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      8 years ago from UK

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for stopping by and reading, much appreciated :)

    • my-success-guru profile image


      8 years ago from Upstate NY

      Hey Polly,

      Great advice on living your dreams!

      Take Care,


    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      8 years ago from UK

      Les Trois Chenes - Thank you so much for your wonderful comments. You're right about the sadness of unfulfilled dreams, and I think that having a dream and never going after it is perhaps the saddest thing of all. Your dream sounds amazing, I'm really glad you're going for it. Painting holidays and a B&B in France sounds like a fantastic life, congratulations on setting it up. Actually, I watched a programme some years ago, either No Going Back or Get a New Life, I can't recall which, but one episode featured a family who went to France to do just that....are you sure it wasn't you??! It looked great anyway, there have been several times myself when I have thought how great it would be to up sticks and move to another country. I don't think that will happen though, both my husband and my oldest son are dead against it. Never mind, I think I'll just stick with the book thing. Anyway, thanks for dropping by, great to meet someone who is following their own dreams :)

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image

      Les Trois Chenes 

      8 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      This is really a very lovely Hub. It brings tears to my eyes, literally. There is something so sad about unfulfilled dreams. I'm trying to live my dream. In 2002 I moved to France with my husband and son. We bought a farm with 1ha of land and we set up a kind of smallholding, Painting Holidays, Bed and Breakfast and gite. I was a professional painter and want to get back to painting and teaching. Good luck with the book.

    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      8 years ago from UK

      Hi Winsome, thank you for your wonderful comment. That is an interesting quote, and I wonder where people's dreams really do come from? Sometimes it seems as though they are ingrained in your mind, right from the very beginning, as though some things are just meant to be. Thank you for stopping by, anyhow, and I hope your dreams come true too :)

    • Winsome profile image


      8 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Polly, what fun to happen upon you and this delightful hub. The bible has an odd comment: "Your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams." Youth on the move often follow their visions and when you are older, you dream about things that might have been as well as things that are yet to come. Whether it is a vision or a dream, I hope yours come true. -:)

    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      8 years ago from UK

      Hi Rebecca - not sure about wise, just a bit of a dreamer sometimes, I think! Thank you for your wonderful comments, and yes, you answered my question, it was a great help :)

    • Rebecca E. profile image

      Rebecca E. 

      8 years ago from Canada

      polly, surely you must be very wise to write such a lovely and profound hub! bravo! keep on writing. (ps, I think I answered your question, feel free to contact if there is anything) one small step each day is really what it is about.

    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      8 years ago from UK

      Hi maggs, sorry for the delaying in replying, I have been away for a couple of days. Anyway, thank you for your wonderful comments, and I agree completely with that saying, 'Being content is not so much about getting what you want, but wanting what you've got'. They do say that the happiest people in life are those whose desires closely match what they have - and a desire does not have to be something material (which is often not soul-enriching) but can be something as simple as nurturing our children, or looking after an animal. I have had a wonderful afternoon watching my children welcome their new guinea pigs into our home - I just love seeing the way they want to love and nuture them.

      Wanting to be where you are is so important - I could not bear the thought of looking back at an older age and realising that I'd spent my whole life in a 'place' I didn't want to be. We all have interests, dreams and passions, and if we follow those dreams and passions (even the really simple ones, like creating a wonderful garden, for instance) then life can be so much more rewarding than if we put up with doing something we hate, every single day for years. And passions can be quite strong sometimes, almost as though they won't let you forget about them - probably then that's the time to start doing something about it.

      Staying at home with your children is a wonderful gift to them, and after all it is love and great memories that matter in the end, not money, once we have our basic needs covered. Anyway, thanks for stoppping by and reading, your thoughts are much appreciated.

    • maggs224 profile image


      8 years ago from Sunny Spain

      Hi Polly, this is yet another excellent Hub followed by such interesting comments from your readers.

      I like the way you look at things and you seem to have your priorities right. I know that when you follow your heart and your dreams that you end up with less regrets in life. Some one once said to me "Being content is not so much about getting what you want but wanting what you have got."

      I stayed at home when my children were small which meant that we went without quite a lot of material things, but looking back I have no regrets about the choice I made.

      I am not saying that being a stay at home mum is the right thing for every mum to do or is for everyone. What I am saying is that wanting to be where you are and wanting to do what you are doing will influence greatly how you experience your life and the choices that you make.

      I am voting this hub up

    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      9 years ago from UK

      Hi Jennifer, thank you for your comments, much appreciated. I love the saying 'Life is for living', so true and something we should all try not to forget. After all, life is short and we all have to make the best of it. Once again, thanks for reading.

    • Jennifer Lynch profile image

      Jennifer Lynch 

      9 years ago from Stowmarket, Suffolk.

      Like you say, it cuts down on your petrol bills and give you time to look after your pets. Life is for living!

    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      9 years ago from UK

      Hi heart4theword, thank you for your great comments. Yes, I agree with you, some dreams are just meant to be shared, and some dreams just have to be acted upon! Again, thanks for reading :)

    • heart4theword profile image


      9 years ago from hub

      Yes, dreams are so real to me. I used to not share things with people, that I had dreamed. As I have gotten older, I have realized, some dreams are meant to be shared. Journaling helps, for acting on the a later date:) Great Hub! Thanks:)

    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      9 years ago from UK

      Hi Pamela - what a coincidence that you have just revisited a business dream from 16 years ago, I hope it works out well for you.

      I completely agree with you about being their for your children, if you can. At the moment, I am staying at home with my two year old, but I must say, money is quite tight right now even though my partner has a fairly good job. Before that I used to work part time, when I only had my older son. It didn't impact him too much though, as it was only for two days, and one of those was at night when his dad was at home. It's such a dilemma though, isn't it? We are at the point when we really do need to move house as the one we are in really is way too small. But I, for one, am in two minds about it. I do not really want to be in a position where we are spending so much money on a mortgage that we cannot afford to enjoy life together. For me, life is about a sequence of experiences and special moments, more than it is about a house. But we bought our house before the house prices in the UK suddenly shot through the roof, way out of balance with salaries. Now,more than half of young couples here cannot even afford to get on the property ladder, even when both partners are working.So I think the situation is different for everyone.

      Anyway, dreams are so important, they are what inspire us to move forwards with our lives. We all have passions deep within our souls, and if we can we should set ourselves small goals so that these passions and dreams are realised and not just buried away. Well, that's what I think, anyway!

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Dapples 

      9 years ago from Just Arizona Now

      I like this article. It's timely for me because this morning I've been revisiting a goal I had 16 years ago for a small at-home business start-up. Earlier today I was also looking online to see if anyone is doing it or doing it the way I envision it would work.

      I think the most important thing we can do as mothers is be there for our children as they grow up. I've often said to my adult daughter that if I could do it over again, I'd live in an apartment for 29 years while the children grew up instead of thinking we have to have a house and two cars, etc. That way a mother can often stay home and I believe that's important.

      In today's economy, many mothers have to work outside the home and that is a reality.

      This was a very inspiring article. I find it especially inspiring that you have started working day by day on a book. That's a golden example to all of us.

    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      9 years ago from UK

      Hi LizzyBoo, yes, I think you're right - the secret is to not give up, and realise that sometimes we have to wait for our dreams to turn to reality. I also believe that dreams are important, after all they are often what gives us hope and positivity for the future.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments, very much appreciated :)

    • LizzyBoo profile image


      9 years ago from Czech Republic

      Woow! I have many dreams and I am soo positive about them. Sometimes we just have to realise that we need to work hard, not give up easily and our dreams can turn into reality. I believe dreams are important as they keep as going and keep us focused to complete them.

      Nice hub, thank you for sharing. LizzyBoo

    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      9 years ago from UK

      Hi Katie, thank you for your great comments - great to meet you too :)

    • katiem2 profile image

      Katie McMurray 

      9 years ago from Westerville

      You said a mouth and heart full, can I ever relate. Glad to have ran into you today. The can you live your dream hub was SO worth it and then some. Welcome :)

    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      9 years ago from UK

      Hi Tatjana, thank you for your lovely comment :)

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image


      9 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Beautiful and so inspiring, Polly.

    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      9 years ago from UK

      Hi Lou, thank you for reading and for your great comments, much appreciated! :)

    • Lou1842 profile image


      9 years ago

      I loved reading this article. It really is true. The time will pass anyway so you may as well start making steps forward to living your dream.

      Eventually you will finish your book too. Good luck!

    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      9 years ago from UK

      Hi waynet, thanks for your comments - I know the feeling, sometimes it's almost as though we are becoming 'stuck' and not moving forwards at all. I'm so pleased that you are realising your dream of working online, sometimes we just have to start out with little steps that lead towards the bigger picture.

    • waynet profile image

      Wayne Tully 

      9 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom

      Great hubpage here! So often have I felt so bored with life in the past that I've always wanted to work online and that is coming true, allbeit in a part time capacity at the moment, but it's happening and that to me is just great when you find something that will give you the freedom from the dead end jobs that don't go anywhere in life.

      To dream is to see your life becoming a success in whatever way you want it to...

      Cheers now!

    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      9 years ago from UK

      Thank you, your compliment means a lot, especially from someone so talented. You, also, must never give up - I know I will see you on the shelves in Waterstones one day! :)

    • myownworld profile image


      9 years ago from uk

      Loved your reply..... thank you. Yes, your grandmother's legacy is in my eyes the most inspirational of all...take care and keep writing... you really have such a way with words! And small steps...yes, perhaps we've both already taken them here... :)

    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      9 years ago from UK

      Thank you, myownworld, for your great comments. I think that often, when you are young, you feel you have your whole life ahead of you and really believe you will be able to achieve all the things you want to. However, somehow time keeps passing and you barely even notice - and then suddenly you realise that a lot of time has passed and you haven't done many of the things you set out to do at all. Well, that has been my own personal feeling of late.

      Your dream about going to Africa sounds wonderful - I hope you get to do it some day. It is quite hard to do things for yourself (or even for others), when you have children, I agree. I have two, rather spaced out in age - one is nearly ten and the other only a toddler. The time I really get to myself is virtually non-existent, apart from at night when my brain starts getting tired! I wouldn't change it at all, however - being a mother is the most wonderful achievement of all.

      I think you have brought up a very good point about it taking more courage to live a regular life for your family. After all, at the end of the day your children want nothing more than you...(apart from my son who always wants to go round a friends house, but that's another story!) The point you brought up made me think about my grandmother, who passed away a couple of years ago. She was always focused on her family, namely my mum, my sister, me and my oldest son, who was to be her only great-grandchild. She was always so interested in everything we were doing; she would ring up if we were ill; she would look forward to visiting us; she would chat on the phone for ages about all sorts of things, even when she was in her late nineties. It sounds very ordinary, I know. It was. The thing is, I remember her as a perfect grandmother, and I do not have anything but wonderful memories of her. At the end of the day, that is a beautiful legacy to leave.

      I suppose, at the end of the day, we just have to try to live the life we envisage as best we can - and if we have a dream that really matters a lot to us, then think of a way to achieve it and make small steps towards it, even if it doesn't happen right away. :)

    • myownworld profile image


      9 years ago from uk

      I simply loved this hub! Just somehow it struck all the sensitive chords: the 'comfy slippers' we've gotten used to, the financial constraints, lack of courage, the fear of taking that first step! We all have these little dreams that we push away in the back shelves of our lives, and forget about, yet there are all these inspirational examples like the ones you mention of people who do achieve that greatness!

      Personally, I too dream of writing a book, but more than that I have this dream about going to Africa and working with children there. Yet, I have my own to look after at the moment and that is always my excuse! However, don't you also think that sometimes it takes more courage to live a regular life for your family and make a gentle success of it than drop everything in pursuit of a wild dream we long for? (reminds me of JK Rowling's personal story often). I wonder about this yes....esp. because my just 'being there' gives my daughter a reason to smile everyday...

      Sorry, for getting carried away, but you raise so many questions in the mind...and your words just leave one thinking...! Wonderful hub...:)

    • Polly C profile imageAUTHOR

      Polly C 

      9 years ago from UK

      scarytaff, thank you and thanks for reading!

    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 

      9 years ago from South Wales

      A very good hub, Polly and every word is true. Thanks for this.


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