How to Stay Sane When You Have Big Dreams

Ben Giesbrecht

Ben Giesbrecht

I started writing this post July 29 and tonight while in a state of near panic concerning my future, my abilities, my passions and my seeming inability to see it all come together (seriously, I have to stop IMDB'ing directors) I thought to myself, "Dang. Taren, you're being crazy." immediately followed by, "I should write a post about the importance of milestones." It was then that I found the draft titled, "The importance of mile-markers." Apparently this cycle isn't anything new for me. 

Look. I get it. Living life as a creative human is more often than not a circus. Throw in a little faith and belief in an omniscient God and, hell, you've got yourself a full blown, emotional shit-show in the making! Believe me. It's my everyday. The important thing is to remember that while emotions are a beautiful part of the process, they do not always dictate truth.

Take tonight for instance. I turn on my computer to test my wacom tablet, and 45 minutes later I'm near breaking point over the state of my life and how I'm doing and achieving a whole lot of nothing while living in a city that costs too much, gives too little and in which I've done nothing but sweat for the last who knows how long. The reality is: none of that is truth (minus the city part; It is too expensive, and it surely is too hot for my overcast, fall tendencies).

Even now I clearly remember the night I sat in a hot tub with my friend and talked about how I felt like my future was tied up in Hollywood; how I felt my creativity, my passion and my purpose all converged in this beautiful place that is film and the entertainment industry and how I was going to pursue it. Tonight, not even two years later, I found myself frustrated because I am freshly 26 and am not directing the next big blockbuster. or Marvel tv show. or distopian, fantasy, sci-fi whatever. I entertained the voice that said because you aren't doing everything you dream of in this moment, you'll probably only amount to the consolation prize in life. And while I sometimes find myself feeling like a horse reined in to lose, I know purely because of a handful of dropped milestones - moments of celebration of small but huge achievements - that TRUTH is far from that. I can look back now, in the throes of anxiety about my future, and know that I have both the ability to keep moving forward and that good things await me in the wild.

It's daunting, this free fall into the title of pioneer of our dreams; looking forward into the unmarked, unmapped territory called our lives. Lao Tzu said it best, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." It's important to recognize what it looks and feels like to build; the understanding of one step being a part of a thousand mile journey. I think a reality that needs to captain our emotions is that the building of our dreams is actually quite lackluster in appearance. The universe, while cheering us on, is not likely going to rain confetti and stardust over us for each step we take. It's our job to stop and recognize moments for what they are, to express gratitude for the opportunities we've been given -- to sink our milestone. And then to turn back toward growth, learning and exploration with renewed vigor.

So (dear self,) lets just chill out, shall we? Let's take a deep breath. Re:center. Re:focus.
Let's take a good long look at the distance we've come, the things we've accomplished, remember the moments of achievement and growth -- sink a stone or two for the future, find confidence in those of the past-- and then turn toward tomorrow with bright and hope-filled eyes.

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