When is it time to give up on your dream?

This post intention is to gain some clarity and insight into my own personal situation. Some may see it as a cry for help. Maybe it is that in some way, it could also be a piece of writing for someone else to relate to or even some sort of cosmic scrutiny. I’m not sure but for the most part, the question being asked is “When is it time to give up on your dream?” Allow me to give you some backstory…

I’m a 28-year-old man. I currently have no source of income, any kind of meaningful relationships and I live with my parents still. For those judgemental eyes including my own, I make no bones about it. My situation isn’t ideal, however I am very fortunate to have the few things I have, The love of my family, a roof over my head, a car, the money I do have…the list could go on and like many others, I take this for granted, but deep down I am more fortunate than most.

I have a dream. Several years ago after slugging my way through mediocre job after mediocre job, fighting my way through mind-numbing warehouse work, office data entry a brief stint in recruitment I took the leap to go self-employed. I love working with media. By this I mean video, photography, editing, graphic design, anything technology related that makes ideas come to life. I love it. Clichéd as hell as a child i would sit for endless hours writing my own scripts, taking pictures and turning my toys into movie stars with an old JVC video camera. I loved it, and I still do.

I can’t explain why but I am fascinated with watching ideas come to life, seeing something as simple as a passing thought develop into a new form that can be appreciated on an endless scale…My dream is to do this every day. To create ideas in any form my mind allows. To be part of the process. To be for lack of better words a media producer.

I encompass this dream of mine by selling my talents to businesses and the public, offering them whatever I can do in the aforementioned. I’m a freelancer. If you’re interested in what I do feel free to check out my work at thomasbarnesmedia.com . But I’m not here to shamelessly plug my site. I’m here to discuss why this question of giving up looms so large in my head, why it’s been keeping me up at night, why I sit and dream of a better tomorrow.

Wanting is the key to all sadness. Wanting things to be this way, wanting things to be that way, wanting change. Try and think of the things that make you sad. There is a chance wanting is the source. My wants are fuelled by my love of working with media related projects. I fantasize about that next big client, the next big job, the project that will propel me into a new man… But that wanting has led to nothing at this moment in time.

Even though the question of giving up has been with me for some time it solidified itself more so the other week. Me and my sister got into a fight, what it was about was irrelevant but the full stop to it is something that still sits with me. She said to me I should try being an adult, get a 9 to 5 job, get a relationship, have a kid and stop living off my parents. All rational points, but the venom they were delivered in hit hard. These aren’t things I’m oblivious to either. I know someone of my age if living by societal conventions should be doing all those things. I didn’t sleep that week.

One thing I’d like to make clear is that despite living with my parents, I don’t take money off them, I cook for myself, I’m independent and the only thing I rely on them for is a key to the front door. I clean the house for them everyday, I respect them and love them for what they have done for me. They took me back in during an hour of need several years ago. A story for another time but I wasn’t always this way, things were not always this way.

After quitting/being made redundant from a job several months ago as a contractor doing what I loved (well I had a camera in my hand at least) , I decided I should reconnect with my original plan, be the media man I always wanted to be! My days have been spent working on personal projects to keep me creative, applying for every job under the sun, creating detailed target advertising campaigns for my business, graphic designing business cards and flyers, handing out flyers, firing out emails left right and center and trying to connect with the local business community… and nothing.

The first thought in my mind is that I haven’t tried hard enough. I haven’t tried, maybe all I’ve done is incidental, irrelevant to what I need to do to succeed. My lack of own perceived success is amplified by my life situation. It haunts me as I rewrite that CV for the 400th time. The second thought that swamps me is maybe I’m just not that talented? Maybe what I have to offer isn’t what people want, like or at the skill level they desire. The third thought is my own punishment, specially branded for myself. The thought that I’m the problem.

It’s strange how when you find yourself in a situation you don’t want to be in (there’s that wanting again!!!) a cycle of negativity becomes somewhat of a comfort blanket. You beat yourself up, you tell yourself you’re not good enough, you question your motives and personality traits. You question yourself. You find yourself in a tunnel and inside that tunnel you wear blinkers, your view and perception of yourself is even more obscured. You view and perception of the world is fragmented. Nothing seems or feels right.

Rejection is hard. Rejection can be like the beat of a drum. It’s either fast and constant or slow and brooding, either way, it’s hard and booming. I’ve had more rejection in the past month than I’ve had in my lifetime and I’ve been wallowing in it. I’m swimming in it. Everything that surrounds me reminds me of it. It hurts.

So when is it time to give up on your dream? Everything I have written about to this point was meant to try and give some clarity to the question. Endless searching on the internet gives the answer “Never give up on your dream!!!”… But I’m tired. Tired of wanting, tired of trying, tired of hoping for a better tomorrow.

I think it’s time to give up on my dream. Your dream will be different to mine, maybe it’s not the time for you. Maybe your wanting is more achievable and not out of reach. All I want to be is happy now. My dream has turned into somewhat of a nightmare, a nightmare that keeps me up at night, a nightmare that has stunted my adult life.

This wasn’t the nicest article to write, nor to read. This space was intended to be a place of self-development and positivity. In a dark place a matchstick can be a glimmer of hope. Find your matchstick.

3 thoughts on “When is it time to give up on your dream?

  1. Hmm.. This was a very thought-provoking read for me, because I’m one of those who strongly advocate for pursuing passion, doing what you love for a living, and living out what you feel called to do. I myself struggled through a career change in order to get to find my niche and live my dream, wake up each day actually excited to get to work. It wasn’t easy, but with everything you’ve shared here, it sounds like you’re having a rougher time than I did.

    Have you tried reading Bolles’ “What Color Is Your Parachute?” ? That book helped me weather through my own career transition period and has solid, concrete advice on what to do while things are not yet working out in the path you want to pursue. Maybe at the moment you can try going for a job, even if it isn’t exactly in your intended field, but still taps on some aspect of the things you love doing (e.g. calls for creativity) or at least allows you enough time left over to build a portfolio and client base on the side.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for reading and your comment. It means more than you know.
    Despite the hardship I currently am experiencing there’s still a tiny voice in the back of my head that says “Don’t give up!” But i’m sure if you have been through a similar experience you know all too well you can become your own punching bag. I use writing as a cathartic exercise to vent frustrations so sometimes it can be a bit downbeat, but on the whole I like to think i’m a positive person.

    I will take a look at the book you’ve recommended and the advice you’ve kindly offered. Something needs to change as I can’t put off life anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s understandable to lose motivation once in a while, especially when things are rough. Yeah, I’ve also been through times when I beat myself up for not trying hard enough, or maybe just not *being* enough. That’s always a rough patch to be in. Knowing when to give up and when to try hard is a very difficult dilemma, but I guess your best chances still lie in listening to your gut. If it says it’s not time to give up yet, then maybe it’s right.


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