Why It’s Never Too Late to Write and Act on Your Dream List
Emilia Ohrtmann explains why there’s no time like the present to focus on yourself and make your dreams a reality
“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream”
– Les Brown
When I first read the above quote many years ago, it really struck me. Was I following my dreams? What would happen if I die tomorrow? Would I have any regrets? Could I say that I was living the life I had imagined I would live?
I had all these dreams in my head, and sometimes I would think about them, and many other times I would not. Sometimes I would daydream and immediately dismiss any ideas by telling myself ‘it’s too late’, ‘now is not the right time’, or ‘I can’t do that anyway’. But I also didn’t want to take all my dreams to my grave. I didn’t want to have any regrets. I wanted to live the life I had always imagined. So I started following my dreams.
Now I have a dream list. My dream list is filled with all the things I want to do and achieve with my life. It’s a work in progress. I’m always adding new ideas and crossing of the ones that I have achieved or are no longer that important to me. One dream at a time.
Do you sometimes think of the things you dreamt of when you were a child? Have you realised some of those dreams? Yes? No? If the answer is no, why not? I know life takes over. Life takes different turns, and we do what we think is the ‘right’ thing or the ‘smart’ thing. But are those the things you really want to do? The crazy dreams you secretly have? The things that might appear to make no sense – at least not to anybody else. I know how easy it can be to push those dreamy thoughts away: I still do it myself. But now I remind myself to allow them to come back. I imagine, I dream and I add to my list.
Creating your Dream List
I highly recommend you sit down and allow yourself some quiet time to create your own dream list. Put on some music that makes you feel calm, turn off all the distractions and just write down everything you have always wanted to do and experience. Fill it with the places you want to visit, the things you want to do, the people you want to meet, the things you want to have and work for. Forget the excuses: ‘It’s not the right time’, ‘I’m not clever enough’, ‘I’m not strong enough, ‘I have a family to look after’… Don’t think, just write. Think about all the dreams that you have or had and thought it was too late to achieve, whether not for you or just not the right thing to do. Write down everything that you can think of. Whatever it is that might be holding you back, let it go for just these few minutes. Don’t overthink. Write. Dream.
Now you can just let it sit there for a moment.
By writing it down in the first place – by hand if possible – and allowing yourself to even think those dreams, you are taking the first step to visualising and realising your dream and your dream life.
It may seem overwhelming. All the same excuses are still there: time, other commitments, that negative voice in your head that says you can’t. What now?
Start small, look at your list and choose one dream that you can achieve in the next couple of days or weeks. Or, perhaps you’d like to go big by picking the most important dream on your list and work on that. Whatever it is – just do it. Start with a small step. When you take ownership and control of your life, things will begin to work themselves out. You will see that your fears will not come true. You will start doing things you never thought you were capable of. And by having your dreams in your mind, new opportunities will arise. By just starting, new doors will open. Most importantly, you will realise that it is never too late for anything.
Realising it’s never too late
My dream from a very young age was to be a fashion designer. Back then, I wasn’t as confident and assured of my dreams as I have become today. I listened to other people’s advice (which was not always the right advice) and to that little voice in my head that said I wasn’t good enough. Later on, I thought it was too late to start something new… and I never became a fashion designer.
Don’t get me wrong – I went on to do many things that I’m proud of and have worked hard at but that one dream has always followed me around, just waiting. When I read the passage by Les Brown and I made my own list, my dream of being a fashion designer was right there.
As I write this article, the first fashion item that I designed is going live on my new website, some twenty years later. My dream is coming true, and so can yours.
I’m in my forties now and it is easier for me to see how we can start new things all the time. I’m an expat so change comes easier (I’ve had many years of moving around and starting new) but it comes easier because of practice. I get to start new adventures every day. They’re not always big – sometimes it’s finding a new group to run with or making a new friend.
The amazing thing is that I am not alone. I have met people in their fifties, sixties and seventies who have started something new. I met a woman who did her first ever triathlon when she was 50. My own father and father-in-law have just started yoga in their seventies. I know women who started ballroom dancing in their seventies. I even know of one woman who took up running aged eighty-five. There are so many amazing stories out there that show us it is never too late to start something new – and if they can do it, so can you.
Every day is a new beginning, every day is full of opportunities. Go for it. If you feel ‘too old’, go and look for the people who are even older than you and are following their dream. Follow their paths, find like-minded people, don’t listen to that voice in your head telling you otherwise, and just go for it. You can start living your dream too.
About the author
Emilia Ohrtmann is a multi-passion entrepreneur, blogger and co-host of the Mums in Biz Podcast. As a website designer and consultant, she helps female entrepreneurs start their dream businesses. She is a certified neurolinguistic programming (NLP) coach and always on the lookout for new opportunities. Emilia left the corporate world in 2007 when she moved with her husband to Houston, Texas and started her first design business. She hails from Germany, has lived in four different countries and with her husband and their four children currently calls Dubai their home. Emilia is the author of It’s Your Life: How to Choose Confidence (£14.99, Panoma Press).