Following a dream, or chasing a fantasy?

I need to get this off my chest, its a conversation I’ve had so many times and I imagine one I will have many more, but it needs to be written. I need this documented for if I ever forget it, I want to remember that I once felt this way.

We are taught so often to follow our dreams, do what you want to do, drop your 9-5 job in favour of the pursuit of some kind of dream. So many Ted Talks, so many motivational Youtube videos and Instagram ‘influencers’, all motivating you to stop doing X and start doing Y. Picture this perfect version of your life, and pursue it, no matter how unrealistic. And this is where my problem lies. The realism of it all. This constant mental battering that if you motivate yourself enough, you will get to that perfect life. Well, its just not true, but that’s not a bad thing. Far from it.

I have to give some perspective on this before I say anything; I have had an amazing childhood. I grew up surrounded by friends, I went to a good school and always worked hard (I was and am quite the nerd). I got good grades, went a good uni, and got a great degree in Computer Science. Throughout this process, School –> Sixth Form –> University, you are told to always do well for the next part. Get good grades at High School to go to a good sixth form. Get good grades at Sixth Form to go to a good university. But here is where I think I differ with a lot of people (or perhaps its just my good fortune, let me know), what is the correct step after University? Is it to get a job that sets you up for an even better job in the future? Is it a job that pays you lots of money? Or is it a job you want to do? For me, the arrows stop at university. Thats it, at that point you’ve done a shit tonne of education, now go and get a job you want.

As I wrote that last paragraph it dawned on me how incredibly lucky I actually am. I made a choice to move to Spain, Barcelona, and I applied for one job, with an amazing tech company there. After some pretty brutal interviews, I got it. I now live and work in one of the greatest cities in the world (not just my opinion). And I will be honest, its fucking brilliant.

I go to work with a team of incredibly talented people, who love to have a laugh as much as I do. The office is stunning, with the classic techy traits like table football, a nintendo switch and unlimited fruit, coffee, and breakfast. The work I do is interesting, relevant and impactful. Im learning a crazy amount about software processes, best practices and development methodologies. I get home and try to do something new or improve myself in some way, something i think is key for happiness (for another day).

Throughout all this I don’t think, hey, what’s that dream, how do i get there? And it’s not the case that I am living my dream, as there are always things that could be improved.