That has nothing to do with money
If you can believe it, when I was in my early twenties I spent a whole year traveling with an international group performing a musical show. I’d secretly wanted to do more than sing in the background but I was shy and scared to share that desire with anyone.
Back then, I didn’t know how to reach out and ask for help. Besides, (almost) everyone that was doing the front stage singing had experience, a lot of it. I’d sung in choirs but never had lessons.
So, I never did it, but the dream didn’t go away and neither did the regret.
The older I got, the less likely it seemed that living that dream was possible. Until I started taking small steps in other areas that I was curious about trying, like public speaking. Practicing being front and center in front of a supportive group helped my self-esteem and confidence.
Then I started to speak to service groups and became accustomed to being the focus of attention while learning how to craft a great speech. This was part of another dream, becoming a professional speaker. It was that dream that helped me learn the importance of seeking help so that I could become as good as possible.
In turn, that fueled other dreams that in the past would have felt out of reach. It seemed that the more I acted on my dreams, the more ideas and dreams came to me.
Meanwhile, the long-held dream of more prominent singing on stage waited in the wings.
It didn’t happen right away, but it did happen. Being out in the world more, testing my skills, and meeting new people widened my world so that new people and opportunities came into view.
Finally, everything aligned.
I was ready and so was the man I was dating at the time. He too had spent years with a lifetime of original songs that he’d yet had the courage to play or sing in public. Together, we were able to provide each other the mutual support and belief in our abilities so that when an opportunity arose, we were ready to accept it.
The value of your dream is internal, not external
Unlike the crowds that the original group I traveled with decades ago performed in front of, we had a more intimate setting. It was a small but appreciative crowd of strangers and it felt…wonderful. Especially when someone stopped me to say how much they enjoyed our set.
There was no money exchanged for this opportunity, nor did we go on to try and make something more from it. The value, was in each of us honoring a long-held dream and choosing to give it a chance to surface.
In a world that attaches a price to everything, we forget that when it comes to the feeling you’re creating a meaningful and fulfilled life, it’s more about experiences than the money spent or received.
Even now, I’m so happy that I didn’t let that dream slip by and that I gave myself the time to let it become a reality. I’m also glad that I was under no illusions about this being some part of a career path or a huge money-making endeavor.
It’s quite possible, even preferential that you have dreams that exist simply for the joy of experiencing them. Age is only minimally important to your ability to follow your hidden dreams. Once you choose to let some of them surface and act on them, you’ll be amazed at how you’ll feel once you do.
Your happiness, satisfaction, and pleasure in life will all rise. Instead of dealing with low-grade regret for what you never did, consider staying open to new possibilities for those old desires to take form. Perhaps not in quite the way you envisioned when they first came into your mind, but give them room and you’ll likely be surprised at what can happen. And, more importantly, how you’ll feel about yourself and your life, once you do.
Frances Hickmott is the author of Journey to Joy, How to Overcome Life’s Setbacks to Create a Life You Love