The Sweeter The Juice: Why Chasing Your Dreams Is Worth The Struggle

by Dinuki Suraweera

We all know the feeling of watching others live out the lives of their dreams.

Their lives seem like annoyingly upbeat, pre-Bieber Selena Gomez songs, and we crave that same excitement, uncertainty and promise.

You tell yourself if you were in their positions, you’d never second-guess your decision. You would never secretly wish you were back in your comfort zone.

But the thing about chasing your dreams is it’s less like a dream, and it's more like a rollercoaster that hurls you in a bunch of different directions.

Allow me to give you a dose of reality.

I left a comfortable job in finance and a cushy life in Los Angeles to become a copywriter in New York City.

And the act of following my dream is not at all like the fantasy I had about it in the safety of my bedroom back home.

My “dream” consists of lonely nights on a couch in Williamsburg, while my friends sip drinks on warm rooftops in LA. It consists of FaceTiming with my family and my Yorkie, trying to not let the knot in my stomach clench tighter and tighter. It consists of walking down the busiest part of Broadway and feeling strangely isolated.

It consists of wondering if my dreams are even worth all of this sacrifice.

Sometimes, I even entertain the thought of moving back and settling into my comfortable life in LA, where going to the beach was a matter of an air-conditioned car ride, a home-cooked meal was minutes away, and I had a standing brunch reservation in WeHo every Sunday with my best friends.

Life was easy. My current situation, on the other hand, is far from smooth sailing.

But the purpose of my post is not to discourage anyone from chasing after his or her passion. It's quite the opposite, actually.

I realize now the struggle I experience is the rite of passage that connects my dream to my destiny. This time of resistance is a necessary milestone in the grand scheme of my existence, but it comes at a cost.

When I first moved to New York City, the jobs I applied to weren’t calling me back, the living room I was staying in didn’t have AC (it was mid-July), and I was eating protein bars for all three meals to save money. The struggle was definitely real, but for me, surrendering wasn't an option.

One day, I will look back on this purgatory and say, “Damn! I’m a badass for getting through that.”

One day, I’ll be so grateful I stuck it out because reaching my destiny will taste so sweet.

There is no denying each day comes with its hurdles. Yet, I wake up every morning with the fire of anticipation and passion blazing inside of me.

Sure, I could be back home, doing the same things and living the same life. But comfortable complacency can never compare to purpose-driven resistance.

On some days, I feel utterly defeated, but the city lights have a way of replenishing me. I know I can always face another day of dream-chasing.

If your dreams don’t require struggle, hard work and stepping so far outside of your comfort zone that you’re completely disoriented, then they aren’t big enough. If you’re willing to sacrifice your dreams in favor of convenience, I beg you to reconsider.

Nothing amazing comes easily.

Chasing your dream means feeling exhausted, invigorated and confused as hell, all at the same time. It’s discovering what you’re truly made of. It’s stepping outside every box you have ever confined yourself to.

It's meeting people, seeing places and experiencing things you never thought you would. It’s reaching and exceeding the potential you always knew was within.

And hello? I get to live in the most amazing city on Earth!

When your journey becomes too much to bear, just take a deep breath and look up. There’s beauty all around you.

I know you expect me to end this post with a speech about how I overcame it all, and I went on to become a wildly successful copywriter living in the Upper East Side. That isn't the case.

I am actually writing this the night before I start a new job as an entry-level copywriter for a start-up marketing agency. I haven’t “made it” yet, but I know I’m on my way.

The reason I’m writing this while still in the heat of the chase is because I want to show you there’s beauty in uncertainty. I have no idea what the future holds, but at least I know I didn’t shy away from it.

Hopefully, in a few years, I’ll be telling you everything worked out. But who knows? Maybe I won’t.

That’s the thing about chasing your dream. You follow it, even at the risk of failure.

Because in the end, the act of stepping out into the unknown is a victory in and of itself.