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?