Who the hell are you to live your dreams?

I ask myself this question every time I go back home to Senigallia. The pleasure of seeing my friends again is tinged by the guilt that I’m living a life so many of them can only dream of.

No, I’m not a millionaire. I don’t have a wardrobe full of designer clothes. I don’t live in a huge mansion or travel by private planes.

I’m just living life on my own terms.

A couple of years ago, I decided I had enough of playing it small. Enough of hanging out in the same places, with the same people, doing the same old things we always did.

I knew there was more to life than this. So, I booked a one-way ticket to London and never looked back. I didn’t know what I would find here but I knew I owed it to myself to give my dreams a go before it was too late.

Before that little spark that still flickered in my eye when I thought of writing a book would die. Killed off by responsibility. Conformism. Apathy.

I have seen it happen to so many of my friends. Talented friends. Friends who have the skills and the resources to turn their dreams into a reality.

But, something always got in the way. Marriage and kids. Jobs that paid too well to give up. Debts that kept them stuck in crappy, low paying jobs. Commitments. Fears.

An old friend who’s practically part of the family took me aside when I announced my decision to leave. He understood where I was coming from, he said. He had dreams and passions he wanted to pursue but it was never the right time and now it was too late for him. Commitments. Fears.

He knew how much it hurts, he said. But, sometimes, you have to suck it up and do what society expects of you. My duty was to stay home to support my mum in her old years. Things have been tough since your dad left, he reminded me. She needs your company. Money, too.

But, I couldn’t.

Because, as he was giving me this speech, all I could think of was how talented this guy is. Of all the amazing things he could have accomplished had he given his dreams a real chance.

Instead, he was doing a mundane job he didn’t like. His passion almost abandoned. A hobby he didn’t have much time for anymore.

Getting on that plane almost felt like stabbing him in the back. Because I was taking the chance that had been denied him.

Who the hell am I to live my dreams?

And yet, he was one of the lucky ones. The ones who aren’t living their dreams, but they have jobs that allow them to keep a roof over their heads, put food on their tables and enjoy a holiday every now and then.

So many people out there aren’t so lucky. Just turning on the news and hearing what’s going on in the world is enough to make you depressed. Children starving. People escaping from wars. The divide between the poor and the rich widening.

Who the hell are you to live your dreams?

And yet, what choice do you have?

Had I stayed, we’d still meet up every Saturday night at the same old pub we always went to. But instead of passionately making plans for the future and the dreams we’d accomplish, we’d regretfully reminisce about all the reasons why they never had the chance to come true.

He’d still be unhappy. I’d be unhappy. Children would still be starving. People would still be escaping from wars. The poor would still be getting poorer and the richer would still be getting richer.

I don’t have a solution to the world’s problems. But, I know this. This world would be a much better place if we had the guts to risk delight. If we had the courage to do what makes us truly happy rather than settling for what society expects of us.

Because life is hard. Shit happens all the time. But you can’t let it win. You can’t let it kill your dreams. You can’t let it kill your soul.

You have to fight back. You have to find what truly makes you happy and hold onto it for dear life. You can’t let it go. Ever.

Because if you do, it’s game over.

Getting on that plane may have been selfish of me. But it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

My mum misses me, like I miss her. But she’s so happy to see how her daughter blossomed from an insecure girl in the throes of depression into a confident woman who isn’t afraid to pursue her dreams. She’s rather I pursue my delight here than be stuck in limbo at home to keep her company.

The money problems are sorting themselves out, too. Heck, I’m making more money here than I’d ever make back home!

Everyone’s happier because I had the guts to risk delight. And, who knows, maybe my example will inspire my friend to risk his delight, too. I certainly hope it will inspire you to risk yours.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Find what truly makes you happy and hold onto it for dear life. You can’t let it go. Ever. If you do, it’s game over.” quote=”Find what truly makes you happy and hold onto it for dear life. You can’t let it go. Ever. If you do, it’s game over.”]

Over to you, now. Are you going to risk your delight and do what makes you happy in a world that makes you feel guilty for it?

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