Disabilities put an end to your dreams. Wanting to revive them after a disability is natural. Dreams are what give us the energy to strive and overcome challenges. We don’t want to surrender that energy. If surrendered, we want to recover it again.
You should not revive your dreams after a disability
Your old dreams were for another you. Before your disability you had different abilities. You could do different things. They were made for a different person in a different situation. To try and live out those old dreams will make you face the new reality over and over again.
I used to enjoy driving. It gave me a sense of freedom and competence. I never worried about accidents or harming others. As my eyesight failed, I had several near misses. One day I miss-judged the response of the car I was driving and flipped it. We were safe but shaken. While I miss the freedom of getting behind the wheel and going places, I don’t miss the fear that came over time. I can now recall with joy the freedom and ignore the fear, as long as I don’t try to drive.
As you see the reality of a disability it often causes you pain and depression. Would it not be easier to start afresh and not face the constant reminder of your loss?
How did those dreams come about? Were they not the product of your parents and others asking you things and offering you options? They molded you and often projected their own dreams on to you. How often does a father project onto his son the frustrated ambitions of an athlete? Often these projections are more subtle but still result in an ill-fitting dream.
Did that dream cause you stress? Did you feel that you must live that life? A dream that does not fit you does not give you energy. You don’t wake up each morning looking forward to living out that dream. Each night as you try to settle down the tension between your day and your dream haunts you. The challenges of the day were challenges with no rewards for overcoming them. You survived another day, for what? If you got closer to that dream did you feel any happier?
Do those old dreams now excite you? A dream should give you energy, energy to attack and conquer the challenges of the day. You now must look at those dreams. You are not the person you used to be. You are now the one who must create the dream. No longer are your parents and other adults responsible for you. They may still give you input, but their life experiences are no longer the ones you face. They are no longer able to mentor you.
You should dream anew after a disability.
As you live into a new you, you must look anew at your life. What can you do now? What do others with your abilities do? Should you let their limited successes limit you? Blind men have climbed Mt. Everest and solo hiked the Appellation trail. What will be the dream that you will embrace?
I have put the responsibility of driving behind me. I can now talk with the driver and others without worrying about getting lost. When I do get lost, it does not matter. Someone else is driving and we can recover. I am not alone in being lost!
I have moved to a place where I can take busses. Busses give me freedom that I would not have if I had to depend upon others to drive me. I can use the time waiting for and riding on the bus to plan, think, and read audio books. It may not be the way most of my peers do things, but it serves me well and I don’t have to strain to see where I am going.
When you were young you saw stories of other’s exploits. Some excited you and some seemed silly. What exploits now excite you? What now seem silly? Are there new stories that interest you?
Share your dreams old and new.
Bring others into this conversation. Do you know someone who needs a new dream?
Next week I continue this series on how to put your life back together to achieve your new dreams. Sign up at the right to be notified of when it is posted. If you know others who might also want to join us on this journey, forward this blog’s link to them.
As All Ways, Seek Joy,