The Unrealistic Desire

There is nothing so consuming as an unrealistic desire. I’m not even sure it matters what it is: unattainable career goals, inappropriate men, getting into a size 2 again….  All of these things have the power to take the concentration off of realistic and necessary activities and put it firmly in dreamland.

I have made unrealistic desire an art form. I could justify it by saying that being a writer requires a certain dreamlike approach to living. I need fantasy to fuel the projects that will someday be written.  But I have a feeling it’s also been a subtle form of self-sabotage.

Wrapping myself in the strong arms of yesteryear, complete with “it’s only a matter of time until we get back together” thoughts, kept me out of the deep end of the dating pool (hell, it kept me out of the foot bath) for years.  It was time wasted hoping for something that was never going to happen. While the movie star/character gazing is fun, it’s a distance-r, too.  Deep love for Mr. Darcy is delightful, but holding out for a hero often means not looking for something real.  Wanting a man you can’t ever have (either because he is married, dating someone or fictional) can only keep you entertained for so long (20 years… 25 at most). And in most cases, the decision is ultimately unfulfilling.

Have you ever put something off until you’ve lost weight? I do this almost daily. I’ve put off getting photos taken, going out, dating and even going to the doctor pending some sort of miracle weight loss. Would I be happier with my body if I suddenly looked like a 22 year old swimsuit model? Sure.  Does that unrealistic desire keep me from doing things that need to be done? No doubt.

Now I’m looking at my “career” and thinking that my close relationship with unrealistic desires could be reasserting itself. I’m going to need a job at some point soon, but I keep plugging away at the hope that writing will start bringing in a living wage. Sadly, with the business the way it is, this really isn’t likely—at least not any time soon. Yet the determination that this be so, has made me hesitate to commit to something outside of that. Plus, I don’t drink coffee and couldn’t make a latte if my life depended on it.

I’m not saying that dreaming is a bad thing. It keeps people creative and innovative.  But at what point does a dream become an unrealistic desire that is only detrimental? At what point do you say, “George Clooney is never going to date me (or ABC is never going to pick up my show),” and move on?

3 comments on “The Unrealistic Desire”

  1. Helen

    Some dreams are realistic. Others are not. If my dream is to visit Paris, become a lawyer or write a book, there’s some reasonable expectation I can make that happen(though I can’t be sure I’ll visit Paris with the love of my life, become a top attorney earning loads of cash or that the book will ever be published–or sell any copies if it is.) If, on the other hand, my dream is to marry David Tennant, become a swimsuit model or win a nobel prize for physics, then I am out of luck. While some of these dreams may be realistic for some people (David’s wife, Kate Upton, Stephen Hawking) they are not for me for various reasons, some of which happen to be genetic. Having dreams is necessary and I believe we are all at our best when we can strive in the direction of our passions. But the idea that if we simply work hard enough, we can accomplish ANYTHING is simply not true. We all have our limits. The trick is to know when to persever and when to give up. In your examples, I will tell you what I think you already know:
    The Ex isn’t coming back.
    Mr. Darcy doesn’t exist.
    You can lose weight if you really want to.
    Clooney gets around, but you are more likely to be struck by lightening than lock lips with him.
    ABC might pick up your your show. Or they might not. You’re likely to be rejected dozens of times before someone says yes…that doesn’t mean someone won’t say yes.

  2. Liz

    It’s hard to say when it’s time to let the dream go. My experience has always been that what I want, I ultimately attain. It may not happen when I want it to, but it does happen! I’ve learned that you have to be persistent and patient, especially in this business. You also have to put yourself out there, no one is gonna come knocking on your door randomly looking for a writer. (At least not for the kind of writing you hope to do.)

    It also highly depends on the type of person you are…If you’re used to living in a certain way and can’t feasibly see your self adjusting to any other kind of life until you attain that dream, then it’s probably time you do let it go. Sometimes, this business requires sacrifice and YOU have to figure out what you’re willing to give up in reaching YOUR ultimate goal.

    I’m the eternal optimist when it comes to certain things in life. I believe that if you put what you want out there, ultimately it will manifest into reality…BUT then there are the things that I do think should remain ONLY fantasies.

    Like George Clooney for example, It would be silly to live your life waiting for a man who probably has never met you or if he has, has never given you a second thought. AND before you say, “then something’s wrong with me”, STOP! It’s not because there’s something wrong with you, it just means that in the grand scheme of THEIR life you don’t matter because they don’t know you. It’s fun to fantasize but it should remain that, if you live your life thinking that this man will come in and sweep you off your feet, that’s not an unrealistic desire that self delusion. LOL 😉

  3. anasazi42

    It’s funny, we all know that we don’t live forever, yet we all think that there will always be a tomorrow. I guess if we really believed that someday we’re going to die, we would throw ourselves off a bridge. I used to do that. For not very valid reasons or for no reason at all, I would put things off, small or large, until another day. I always wanted to take aerobatic flying lessons. A valid reason would be logistical or financial, but I was just putting it off without thought. I’m a procrastinator by trade, so I often do that. Problem is sometimes there is no tomorrow. Oh nothing so dramatic as a fiery car crash, or fatal heart attack. Sometimes we don’t die. I had a 4+ cm benign brain tumor removed last year that had shoved aside my cerebellum and was pushing down on my brain stem. The tumor was nestled within cranial nerves, some of which were cut to remove it. Now I’ll never fly an airplane aerobatically or ride a roller coaster or even drive a car. Maybe you’re not into planes or roller coasters, I’m just saying to ask yourself what you’re putting off doing because subconsciously you’re leaving it for another day. Think about, because you may not have one or the one you do have may be mighty different from what you had imagined.

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