Finding a New Dream

Have you ever had to find a new dream? Have you ever had something happen to you that changed the course of your life forever? I have.

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Almost 6 years ago now I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis. At first I had no idea what it was, and my doctors were just as naive as I was. Laden with constant pain, I felt like I was on my own trying to paddle through a storm in the middle of the ocean. A year went by and then I was diagnosed with a new chronic health condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS for short. Years went on and the diagnoses kept piling up… fibromyalgia, anemia, Hashimoto’s disease, insomnia, digestive tract paralysis, and more. Each new health condition came with new restrictions and lifestyle changes. At times I had to drop out of school and quit my job. To say that all of this was devastating is the understatement of the century. I had to endure things I thought I would never have to, such as a bone marrow biopsy, countless ER visits, and multiple cancer scares, just as recent as a few months ago.

But I don’t want to write a post all about my pain and medical history. I could go on for days. What I do want to talk about is how it caused me to find a new dream. You see, I used to dream of graduating college in 4 years, studying abroad half the time, then graduating and moving to New York City where I would start my career and end up on top as a fashion mogul at a very successful company. Unfortunately, this never happened, and I always do mourn this dream. It is hard to give up something you wanted for so long. Do you mourn your dream? Or your old life? It is normal and natural, and I am here to tell you it is okay. Do not let anyone tell you differently.

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Unfortunately it took me awhile to come to terms with my new life, and I still tried to make my dream happen. But every time I did, I got more and more sick. I had to realize that my body has limits now that are beyond my control. That is a harsh realization in and of itself. To have a brain filled with dreams and aspirations, but a body that warrants you to stay in bed 24/7. But despite the pain, I was able to accomplish one part of my dream, and that was graduating college Summa Cum Laude in 6 years. It was longer than I had hoped, and I never got to study abroad, but I now have a Bachelors Degree. I say this to encourage anyone who is struggling to get through school, especially if they are sick. It is never about how long it will take, so long as you finish. That is what I kept telling myself. It also proves that you do not always have to get rid of your entire dream. Sometimes you can make part of it still happen.

Since graduating, I am now having to find and create my new life and my new dream. I was never able to move to New York City and become the corporate, fashionable, business women I always dreamed about. I was invincible back then when I had that dream. I knew I would and could do anything to make it to the top, working long days, long nights, overnights, and weekends. But unfortunately my body cannot do that, and I have had to find a new dream, and a new way of coping, and I have found it: fashion/lifestyle blogging. It is a path less taken, but I am excited beyond anything. Finding a new dream can do that to you.

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My dream is specific and tailored for me. As someone who is chronically ill, having a full time job is pretty much impossible. You have to come up with other ways to create an income, and unfortunately for some, any semblance of having a career is history. I know that for my life I will never be able to work a 9-5 job, 5 times a week, 4 weeks a month, for 12 months out of the year, so my dream of free-lancing and blogging is perfect for me and my life. What is perfect for you? What can change your life back around from the diagnosis you were given, or the pain you have endured? Find your new dream and allow it to propel you forward from the pain of your past or pain of your current position. I have found it in fashion/lifestyle blogging. Giving women words of encouragement and style tips. It is not what I dreamed I would be doing at 24 years old, but that is the beauty of new dreams. They take you places you never imagined.

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So have you started to find your new dream? I know it can be hard. I understand the devastation of having to forsake something you always wanted because you know it will never happen. Or having to learn to let go of the life you used to have. But instead of mourning that old dream or old life for eternity, eventually you have to celebrate a new one. I know this is not easy. Things happen in life that turn everything upside down, whether it is a chronic illness, cancer, depression, divorce, or the loss of loved one. Life is hard. God never promised easy. The key is to feel what you need to feel, but instill hope in yourself that it is not the end, and you can create a new dream and a new life. It might not be what you imagined, but it might just be what you were meant to do and you might just turn you into who you were meant to be.

Top: Marshalls / Sweater: Forever / Jeans: American Eagle / Boots: DSW / Bag: Marshalls (Olivia + Joy)

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9 Comment

  1. Reply
    Dana
    April 8, 2016 at 7:50 am

    Great blog. As someone with EDS I am having to give up the dream job of 18 years because my body just can’t take it. 10 years as a photojournalist and 8 owning my own photography studio has been great but after awhile the pain makes you start to hate your job. I am so excited about the possibilities and I am happy you found your way. It takes a strong person to create their dreams even if they were not exactly how you pictured them to begin with.

    1. Reply
      chronicallystylish.com
      April 8, 2016 at 11:04 am

      Hey Dana! Thank you so much for the encouraging feedback! I am so glad you found the blog post to be uplifting! I am currently in the process of figuring out of I have EDS. I am amazed at your photojournalism and photography success! I checked it out and you do great work! You are definitely an inspiration!

  2. Reply
    Claire Stevens
    April 8, 2016 at 8:18 am

    This really touched me. In this post you have described exactly how I have felt for a long time; because I too have been diagnosed with many chronic illnesses and had my dreams ripped away from me.
    You have made me have a more positive outlook when thinking about my future and I really hope you continue to post more x

    1. Reply
      chronicallystylish.com
      April 8, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Thank you so much Claire for you feedback! I am so encouraged to hear that the blog post gave you hope and a positive outlook. That is exactly what I want to happen when I sit down and write open and honestly about my struggles with chronic illnesses. I will definitely be posting more! Thanks again for your response! I am so glad to know it touched you in a positive way!

  3. Reply
    Victoria Leonard
    April 8, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    This was a wonderful post and resonates to my core. I am EDS and Chronic Fatigue suffer with my own gastro issues but I am luckier than most that I can still work full time (no not my dream job, had to give up performing arts at 22 because I couldn’t cope. Dream dead lol!) But I can still do my passions as a hobby and teach dance and yoga now and again. I have a number of dreams but due to work and keeping up my passionz I am too tired on my off time and I end up lacking the energy and motivation. Blogging and having a online presence is something I have also wanted to do but my negative thoughts of ‘at 31 you are too old to be chasing dreams’ and ‘my area of knowledge is too oversubscribed anyway.’ And ‘you have too many things you want to do why can’t you pick one and stick with it.’ I admire your determination to find a new dream and pinning it down. ?

    1. Reply
      chronicallystylish.com
      April 9, 2016 at 10:24 am

      Hi Victoria! I am so sorry to hear about some of your struggles. I understand them far too well. I encourage you to chase those dreams though if you can! A quote that always sticks with me is, “The cost of not following your heart is spending the rest of your life wishing you had,” or “We only regret the chances we never took.” These quotes propel me forward to not let discouragement creep in. I know it is easier said than done though. I took me years before I started my blog. But I knew that if I never tried I would regret it forever. I hope that gives you some encouragement. The last quote I want to leave you with says, “Don’t be ashamed of your story. It will inspire others.” I do not think your area of knowledge could be oversubscribed. Everyone has a story to tell, and it is unique. You have no idea who you will impact or help when you are open about it. I’ll get off my soapbox now, but I hope you find these quotes encouraging. And thank you for commenting on my post. I am so glad it could resonate with you.

  4. Reply
    theodora
    October 15, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    made me cry. You are so strong and so brave!! Keep going, you will achieve your dreams!

    1. Reply
      chronicallystylish.com
      November 29, 2016 at 10:30 pm

      Thank you so much Theodora!

  5. Reply
    Jillian
    September 19, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Love this post. I recently got diagnosed with bipolar disorder and decided to make a blog about it, along with beauty and lifestyle posts. I am trying to turn my negative experience into a positive with my blog, and hope to inspire others to speak up or go and get help. I’m almost done preparing it, now I have to write my first post. I am nervous to be sharing my story with the world wide web, but I look at people like you, and I know I can do it. Thank you 🙂

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