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When I thought of “living a dream” as a teenager, I thought of fortune and fame. I wanted to be a great actor and artist, with a jet set lifestyle, lucrative contracts and mountains of success.

That, to me, was a dream. It was THE dream.

Having found high school extremely difficult at times, I would escape into fantasies. Be they in my own head or books. I anted to escape.

We’re always warned that life after school and uni is going to teach us some harsh lessons, although we can never appreciate just how hard those lessons are until we’ve been there. Your very perceptions of life and what you want change.

And, not to put too fine a point on it, you realise what is and isn’t possible. Not to mention that Lady Luck plays a much bigger role than we would like to think she does. But although the big dreams and fantasies we spin growing up can’t always come true, sometimes that perception is changed for the better.

I didn’t have many friends in high school. Even less that I genuinely trusted. It seemed every time you thought you knew someone, they would change unexpectedly and the mask would fall away.

I honestly began to think that was what friendship was. Now I know how kind, supportive and wonderful people can be.

I may not have the dream performing career I wanted, but I’ve also tasted what it can be to fall to the very bottom of the career ladder too. I waited tables with a good degree. I’ve seen actors go from starring roles to truly terrible temp jobs. I’ve seen incredibly charming people who are cold and heartless inside. I had a good job as an editor which fell apart. I’ve had to fall to the bottom and pick myself up. Twice.

I’ve loved and lost in many respects.

But right now, with a good job, good friends and a good life in London. I can honestly say I’ve never been happier.

Maybe we don’t aways get to live the dream we envisioned. But dreams are just that – wisps of thought which carry no real weight by themselves. It’s only when we apply then to the material world that they can manifest.

And sometimes they do.

Sometimes they don’t.

And sometimes it’s in a way we never even expected.

Working as a Web Editor in Gibraltar I found the people mean and the job dull. Yet everyone around me, and a good few back home, couldn’t understand why I wasn’t loving it because there was sun and sea. “I’m living the dream!” was something I grew sick of hearing from slimy arseholes around an over-heated online casino office.

When I came to London I had almost nothing. I knew almost nobody, I didn’t have a job, and I had nowhere to live. Everything I have now I built or created over the past year and a half.

To look back on your past and reflect as the year closes, I would say that to look around at your present and feel contented and happy is, I’ve learned, an all-too-rare occurrence.

And to feel truly blessed, is that not living the dream?

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