Ever since I was young (which wasn't long ago since I'm only now 24), my dream was to be an author. A fiction author, one who specialized in the romance genre with coming-of-age undertones. It was all I ever wanted.
Well that, and to be interviewed by Chelsea Handler for my tremendous success (I used to watch her old show on E! religiously). But I digress.
Despite working/writing my ass off, choosing to be a hermit instead of a teenager, and living in my head more than reality, I didn't expect to achieve my dream so quickly. And at such a young age.
I'm damn proud of myself too, please don't misinterpret that. I get to hear congratulations from people who used to pick on me for being so quiet in high school. I get popular, well-liked people asking me for writing tips.
It was everything I ever thought I wanted.
Until the excitement faded, and I realized accomplishing my dream wasn't the end goal.
It was merely the beginning of learning things I never would've guessed I needed to learn. And those things are listed below.
Accomplishing Your Dream Doesn't Mean Instant Happiness
In fact, at times, it's sort of depressing.
You find yourself asking, "Well, what do I do now?" or "How do I make this even better?" We as humans are greedy as hell, and one accomplishment isn't enough. Even if it was the ultimate accomplishment. Reaching that point only means craving even more.
You Realize Your Dream Isn't Quite So Glamorous
This may have been pure naivety on my part, I'll admit it. Or it may be that I had no earthly idea what being an author was actually like.
My dumb ass thought that being published automatically guaranteed you success and money. I didn't realize that being an author was more promoting yourself and your work than it is actually writing. And for my antisocial, hate-attention self, I was horrified.
It Only Gives You More Work to Do
As I mentioned before, we as people are greedy bitches. We get five dollars and want ten, we get a book for Christmas and immediately want the rest of the series. Nothing is enough for us.
It's an epidemic, surely, and something you can train your mind to be aware of.
But when you first accomplish your dream and you're on that high horse of yours, there's nothing more depressing than hearing you're not quite done yet.
There's no end goal in life, not like many people think there is. A lot of people assume your life isn't done until you've found true happiness, or made that million dollars, or made out with your childhood celebrity crush.
They don't think of after when the excitement has faded and you realize you no longer have something to strive for. That's when you try to build on that feeling, to turn that million into a billion, to turn those kisses into a relationship.
Nothing is ever truly over. There's always going to be something else you want, another goal to chase.
Hear me out on this, okay?
My family, my friends, people I'd never spoken to but were somehow friends with on Facebook, were thrilled for me. When I posted the status that I'd been signed by a publisher, friends and family called me, screaming their excitement, telling me how utterly proud they were.
It was the greatest weekend of my life.
But it fades eventually, just like your own excitement. The phone calls slow done, the texts stop chiming in, and you're left in your bedroom with this golden metaphorical crown on your head and no one to tell you how beautiful it is.
This huge, monumental part of your life, the one you'd always wished for, the one you killed yourself working toward, gets passed over by the next "is this shirt these colors or these colors?".
You wonder to yourself if it's really not that big of a deal. Or if your dream was nothing because people aren't constantly hounding you about how proud they are of you. It's a narcissistic, immature feeling, but it's real. And it hurts.
Looking back on it now, I realize that that isolation was only because of my own thoughts. Back then, I was too blindsided by my achievement to see that.
This ties in with the first thing I mentioned. Once your dream is accomplished, and you still have so much of your life left to go, you can't help but get scared. What do you do next? Are you done? Have you reached the peak of your life? Is there nowhere to go except for down?
This may have been my anxiety yelling at me, but I did feel that way for a while. Now? Not so much. Now I'm scared but in a good way. In a proactive way. I've told myself that I still have three-quarters of my life left (hopefully) and that I refuse to peak now.
So I'm going to keep working my ass off, writing my ass off, and accomplish more of my dreams.
Because what is life if you don't have something to work toward?
[clickToTweet tweet="Because what is life if you don't have something to work toward? @authorcjmiranda " quote="Because what is life if you don't have something to work toward?"]
It's The Best, Most Fulfilling Feeling Ever
You didn't actually think this list would be all depressing, right? I write romance novels with happily ever afters (my book page here). Of course not. That's not my jam.
I wouldn't have felt all of these scary things, all of these anxieties, if accomplishing my dream didn't feel so damn good. If it felt like any other normal day than I'd most likely be content to coast through life without trying for anything.
Getting that email from my publishers, calling my mom and scream-crying out of happiness, hearing my dad tearfully tell me how proud he was....I've never in my life felt that. It was this out-of-body, can't believe it, can't stop smiling sensation that I ache to feel again.
The feeling lingered for months, the most potent of it did anyway. Even now, I still feel brief glimpses of it. I'll be doing my makeup in the mirror, and somehow look at myself and think "I'm a published author". My body will warm with pride, and I'll be thankful for my awkward, book-nerd, pre-pubescent past.
This post of mine is here as a warning, yes, but hopefully, first and foremost, as a kick in the butt to start working toward whatever your dream is. I don't care how Disney Channel that may sound.
Working toward my first dream had me waking up hours before school, typing furiously on my laptop while my sister yelled at me to shut up so she could sleep. Accomplishing my dream has me waking hours before work, typing furiously on my laptop while my dog stares at me and begs for my sole attention.
And that goes to show you, as it's showed me, that nothing about you changes when you accomplish your dream. It gives you motivation, more goals, more work to do. It scares the shit out of you, and may even lead you to stay up at night with anxiety plaguing your mind.
But it's all worth it.
Hands down, it's so worth it.
Having those anxieties, having those goals, those motivators...it's a blessing. I'm so proud of myself for having ambition, for having things to strive for. Not everyone gets to strive for such things, and even fewer get to accomplish them.
That's why accomplishing your dream is only a pit-stop in your life. It's stopping at a gas station, filling up your tank with pride and motivation, before hopping back on the road and driving further.
So if you've accomplished your dream and are feeling these bad things, or if you're still working hard to accomplish that first one, do not give up. DON'T GIVE UP. It's so, so simple.
Keep that fire lit under your ass.
It's there for a reason.