Ten years ago, I was 23-years-old with a head full of dreams that I was determined
to make into realities.
I was fresh out of college, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and full of fearlessness that I would find and take a job that met my major studies of psychology,
communications, and sociology. I wholeheartedly believed in my teachers and education, achieving the best grades, and all my hard work that caused me to miss
out on college parties to enjoy the college life and early 20’s just a little bit more would get me where I would need to—my dream job.
I would have a dream job that I loved. I did not know exactly what my dream job
was, but I knew it would not be the type where I sat behind the desk to push paper. Rather, it would be a job where I would be the change that I wished so badly to see
in this broken world. Surely, I would not become one of those people who loathed
where I went to and worked at for at least 7 hours a day. I would get along with all
my colleagues. My boss would be a stellar role model who epitomized leadership. Many dream jobs played in my mind like a song that beckoned to be sung
repeatedly. A social worker. A therapist. A government job where I would make executive decisions to change the world and make a most positive difference.
Maybe a PeaceCorps position to gallivant the globe where I would see and heal the sadness and the suffering.
Of course, my dream job had to be in the pulse of New York City—breathing in and living the life of bright and blinding lights, restaurants galore, and endless cultural
and fun activities that I would traipse to so I could meet people and my future
husband that I would marry by the time I was 24-years-old.
These were all my dreams. Nothing and no one would stop me from living them.
Well, except for reality—of course.
Reality that my parents, nothing, and no one lasted forever for me to depend on
for money to pay and figure out the piling bills, live on my own, and handle the
daily and sporadic household needs (grocery shopping, preparing/cooking my meals, housecleaning, laundry, ant infestation, and the plumbing and electrical issues)
that arose. Reality about responsibilities. Reality for the hundreds of thousands
who had to take a disliked job in order to make ends meet to feed a family. And,
the ultimate reality of all: Independence and freedom came at literal and metaphorical costs.
Fast forward to now. Just about ten years later and I am back in New York City
once again for job training before I begin my new job that I am more filled with ambivalence about rather than excitement. And, I hate it—‘it’ referring to the city
and not the training. I hate it with an intensity that leaves me in shocking
disbelief that I ever dreamed to live and work in New York City. The chaos, the
cost, the crowds are way too much for my body and mind to even try to manage. I have lost at least two hours every single day for this month-long training because
of a commute that requires me to wake up before dawn breaks and return as the
sun sets. Now in my 30’s, time and freedom has become more vital to me than ever before, for time is borrowed without any returns. Most of all, my
observations of the exhaustion, anxiety, and worrisome expressions on the herds of commuters and New Yorkers all around me at extreme stimulation leave me questioning how many of them are actually living and working their dream job?
How many people can say that they are living their dreams?
These latest ventures back in New York City has made my mind rewind to the time of my 20’s when I had so many dreams about a job that I would love only
to now see the reality that we often do not and maybe never even live out the dreams we dreamed and the dream job because of the life realities and circumstances of needing money and healthcare benefits to fulfill daily responsibilities for ourselves and our loved ones. It has also made me reflect
on myself with blunt truth that this is the very first time in my life that I am taking
a job because I really needed this job, and not because I really wanted the job.
This is a job that entails everything that goes against all my dreams right out of college: It is a paper pushing job of fighting with and dealing with insurance
companies to get medical services approved.
I have worked for over a decade in various jobs: A personal assistant to a dragon
lady who breathed fire in my face over minute details, a receptionist at a tennis
club with posh individuals who seemed to have everything on the outside and nothing on the inside, and a Medicaid Service Coordinator/Case Worker for 22-25 families
with children with serious medical needs. Although all these jobs varied in responsibilities at hand and people I worked with and for, the core commonality quality they all had was helping people in real-time where I could actually see the results from the people I helped face-to-face. Now, with this job that awaits me in about a month, I cannot help but feel deep betrayal on my part. Like, I have
betrayed my dreams. Like, I have betrayed myself.
Dreams are funny and quirky, beating to their own rhythm, because they are
played out and ultimately planned out in our heads. Realities beat to their own rhythms by going and moving on with unforeseen life circumstances that ultimately
tell us that we cannot plan anything because there are never any guarantees in
life. Somehow, dreams and realities are hand in hand and forever connected that make and mold our lives to live it without any life instruction manual to read from
and really understand.
What is your dream job? Did you ever even have a dream job, for there are some people who do not necessarily know what they want to do with their lives and are always hoping for and searching for a purpose?
At what point did reality set in for you that you could not necessarily do what
you wanted and dreamed to do, but did what you had to do to survive for yourself/your loved ones or because life circumstances steered you in a
Or, are you one of the few people who I see, who actually got the chance to live
out your dreams and dream job?
So many dreams that I had with starry eyes and sweet innocence. When I look
back, the early 20’s was a magical time that possessed boldness, discovery,
naivety, and factual knowledge that eventually manifests into life knowledge as
the years go by and growing up turns into growing old. So many dreams that still
play on and live in my head to hold on to with every hope to make into my
realities. When I look at now in my 30’s, I am still seeing sparks of magic in forms
of acceptance, openness, growth, and understanding of realities based on life and whatever it brings in all its changing and moving ways.
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,