"Mama told me not to waste my life"

By Kerry O'Connor

My mother did indeed tell me to chase my dreams and I will never resent her for doing so. But I wish the bigger picture kept itself distant from romanticism. A 90s baby, fuelled with the optimum of reaching X = Happily Ever After. But, where was the disclaimer? Like, FYI you ambitious souls, you are going to have to take leaps and bounds over hurdles, just to even see the horizon of your destination. As if our pure existence was to dream and dream BIG. Keep looking towards the future and you will get there. Yet, while we are tripping over hurdles to reach the end goal, we are dismissing how we are feeling right in this moment. What ever happened to taking pure satisfaction from our ability to just be? As naive or ‘hippy’ as it may sound, it rings truth.

While writing this, it became clear that having an aspiration is a matter I could not and should not take for granted. My mother, a working woman like so many, would grind her way through life to fuel my character with desire and hope. I can still hear previous phone calls echoing within thoughts. Riddled with anxiety at where my life is going she returns with, ‘I never got to live the life you are fulfilling. You are already reaching goals that I wished for at your age.’ So here I am, writing an ode to my mother while working out why the hell aspiration causes pressure to be something, rather than to just be.



1. Be the BIGGEST dreamer. Because BIGGEST is BETTER and BETTER is SUCCESFUL.

Ok, so the saying goes ‘Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.’ (Thanks, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe. From poet to poet, I believe in your emotional connection to the inner self. But, it’s got problems) Firstly, what is a small dream? Secondly, why am I moving hearts of men? Creating a label as dreams being too big or small categorises dreamers, resulting in pressures to vision beyond where no other has gone. Undermining the ability to have a ‘small’ dream challenges an individual’s drive in life. Is having the ability to aspire not enough? By having a larger vision, you are basically presenting to others the determination and strength to reach this. To note, I am not slandering. However, doesn’t this cause implication? For my dream to satisfy another creates pressure. The dream is then not for myself. I am deeming myself to be successful in the eyes of others

2. Dream like no other has dreamt before.

Here again. I feel the pressure upon my shoulders. I must push with all my might to feed the world with greatness. To be unique in my delivery. However, do you ever feel fuzzy-headed? As if your thoughts are rambling with distraction towards figuring out what exactly this may be? What a conflicting scenario. While we are becoming wrapped around diagnosing the expectations of our unique goal, we are stuck at a crossing. Not knowing the best direction to take, as to take the wrong one may result in dreaming like every other fighter out there. 
Speaking of every other fighter…

3. I am a small fish in a big pond.

Welcome to the city baby. We are all about excess and virtual personality, didn’t you know? So, I guess its best to reiterate that the previous quote is not applicable either in or out of the city. You are more like the tiniest fish, in the ocean. When moving to London, I understood it would be competitive. It was a contributing factor to my decision to move; finally, likeminded people would surround me. Although, these exact people are ‘dreaming like no other has dreamt before.’ They equally want to be the biggest idealist. Together we are running, leaping and crashing over hurdles within the same race. Somebody will finish in first place, leaving room for another to join the race. But, what if all this stumbling leaves me too injured to continue to fight for gold? 
Do not tell us we do not want it hard enough if we complain about the fight.

I am tired of the motivational quotations with hidden connotations. They are leaving us to fall short of fulfilling expectations for others’ perspective. Yes, overall ambtion is stimulated within us; our interests and connection towards elements in life create it. However, it is not as simple as that. Dreams seem to be a vision towards BEing something. Not many people have ever said it is ok to just be in the moment of right now, to figure out the right routes to take to reach your desire. It is as if we should know from the instant decision of our goal. A pressure that hovers upon each step I take pops the bubble protecting the precious time of right now.

I return to my Mother, reminding myself of the life I am living. That it could easily be an ambition of another. Therefore I am grateful to say I am my mother’s daughter. But, I want to be the ambitious, reaching goals big and small. Fulfilling my desires and not that of others. However, I am yet to find out how. Dreaming that one day soon I shall.