Yesterday, I wrote about the power of dreams. Specifically, I was talking about my own dreams and how my renewed ability to dream gives me hope. I also had the opportunity yesterday to witness one of my colleagues, who I am also proud to call my friend, bring one of his dreams closer to reality. His first Kickstarter project (for those who don’t know, KS is a crowdfunding site) met its goal in less than 12 hours. Now, it’s moving on to stretch goals with the aim of expanding the original project. As my grandmother would have said, I am kvelling.
To get to this point, my friend has had to endure. There have been setbacks and disappoints along the way. He’s also spent a lot of time building a community of support.
Lately, I have been struggling with a profound sense of loss related to my professional identity. For so long, I thought that my job gave my life meaning. My identity, and much of my self-esteem and self-image, was predicated on what I did for a living. That life and identity seem so far away right now. I feel exposed and vulnerable. Through therapy I’ve come to realize that much of my struggle with my mental health has come from having my identity so bound up in my work that it left me with nothing for myself. No matter how much I sacrificed or how hard I worked, it would never love me back. It could never be a substitute for loving myself for who I am. Only now am I beginning to be able to define who I am outside of my work.
And that’s part of why watching my friend achieve his dream gives me so much joy. His success is a tangible reminder to me that even though a dream may seem far off, or even feel impossible right now, there is reason for hope and optimism. Put in the work, roll with what comes along the way, and keep moving forward.