dreams“My anxiety ate my dreams.” A simple tweet. Spotted a tiny bit of the way down my news feed. But I didn’t favorite it, or retweet it. Because it didn’t happen to me, at least not permanently. Sure, I lived in fear for a number of years, writing off and on. And I lived in ignorance, not knowing how to make my dreams work.

But to let anxiety eat them? It would probably swallow them, and then turn them into shit. For no matter how elegant the meal, how delicious and artfully presented, that is the end it faces: things we let be food are consumed, digested, and then leave our bodies in a form so hideous, we immediately flush it away. Not to mention the smell. Dreams are not to be eaten. Nor are they to be placed upon a shelf to be looked at, pointed to with pride.

No, dreams are the clothing of life, meant to be worn, lived, sometimes laundered, but cherished like a favorite pair of jeans. There are some beautiful things about dreams though, ways they are not at all like clothing.

Dreams rarely wear out. Maybe a definition of dream is in order here. Your dream is your one thing. The one thing that makes you tick, gets you up in the morning, and propels you through your day. Many people never find them, living “lives of quiet desperation.” Your dream ages gracefully with you, like your skin. It never wears out, until you do.

*Time out here to say my dream is not just to be a writer. It is to tell stories. I have used many means to help fulfill that dream, but I can tell you when I am not telling stories, I am unhappy and unpleasant to be around. When I wearing my dream, I am happy, pleasant, and for the most part much easier to take. The key is to know your dream well. Sometimes it starts out as a loose outline, but as you wear it, it begins to conform to you, and you understand it better.

You can’t loan someone your dream. After a time, no one else would fit into your favorite jeans. Countless washings and wearings have made them uniquely yours: they fit you in a way they would fit no one else. So you can’t loan your dream out for a weekend. No one else’s dream is exactly like yours, so they really can’t be compared, borrowed, or shared. You cannot borrow someone else’s dream either. It just won’t ever fit right.

Find your dream. I promise you it is not a house in the suburbs, a wife, 2.5 kids, a dog named Rover, and two cars in the garage. For the most part, those things will get you locked into a job, or a career. If a lucrative career is your dream, perhaps medicine or law, then you may get those things. But the purpose of life is to find what that dream is, and follow it, whether it guarantees financial ‘success’ or not.

Finding your dream, analyzing and focusing on it, and truly wearing it the way it should be worn is hard work. But it’s worth it. Don’t let anything eat your dreams. Wear them instead.