You hear it all the time while growing up: “Follow your dreams.”

They tell you over and over again that you can be whatever you want to be: author, politician, Olympic athlete, business tycoon, etc.

Then somewhere along the way it’s time to get serious and pay the bills. It’s time to be practical. There’s no other choice because you need a steady income and don’t have time to test your passions as careers before rent is due. In the back of your mind, you’re shouting “SELLOUT” at yourself each time you look in the mirror before work.

STOP.

If you take a closer look at your life, you may still be following your dreams. And if you’re not, read on and find out how to get there today, right now, not someday.

Here’s the best advice I can give you: Follow your dreams outside of work. Let your passions become your hobbies. Your dreams don’t have to be your career in order for you to achieve them.

Okay, maybe you don’t have time to write a bestselling novel in a year, but you can still start a blog, write short stories or take years and years to write the novel. You can do it in your own time. Maybe you don’t have the connections, qualifications or money to run for a major political office, but you can try your hands at local government or take a small volunteer role in state or federal politics. You can take small but meaningful actions. Maybe you’re not going to be an Olympic athlete, but you can enter races, train hard and push yourself to the limits. You can give it your all.

When I graduated college, I thought following my dreams meant leaving my husband to travel the world while I wrote about my experiences. Maybe one day that is what following my dreams will look like. But for now, it looks like taking a job with a PR firm to gain experience and have a steady income in order to save up for a house. My dreams intersect here because I dream of having a house with my husband; I dream of a comfortable life filled with adventurous vacations together. How do I fulfill my passion for adventure and free expression on the side? I blog; I travel locally and write about my experiences; I read and live through others who’ve followed their dreams in different ways than mine.

Know that your dreams will change as you do. As long as what’s at the core of those dreams — your passions — are still constantly fulfilled, you’re on the right path!

From freelancer and publisher to travel writer and one-day college professor, my dreams for being a writer have changed multiple times. At the core of all my dreams for the future is that I want to write; writing is one of passions. So I keep on writing, hoping to inspire or help someone along the way.

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