On Carrie Underwood and Achieving Your Dream Life

I just bought the new issue of Marie Claire a.) because I like that magazine and b.) because Carrie Underwood (my life idol and spirit animal) is on the cover. Her interview was great, and revealed some things I wouldn’t have expected. For example, I’d picture Carrie as a girl’s girl who lives for chick flick moments. She seems so put together all the time, and like she has no cares in the world. This is actually not the case, and Carrie spends time talking about how she doesn’t normally overflow with emotions and is the queen of awkward moments. I found this surprising and interesting to note.

During the interview, Carrie brought up a sweet yet important moment that she and her dad shared at her wedding. Apparently Papa Underwood said to Carrie during their father-daughter dance, “There is no reason that you shouldn’t have everything you want.” While this is a sweet and personal daddy-daughter moment, it also got me thinking: Do you ever feel like you can’t have everything on your “big picture” life list? That you shouldn’t be greedy with what you wish for? I definitely do. Sometimes it feels like you have to choose between career, family, a relationship, a social life, and hobbies. You can maybe pick one or two, but definitely not all of them. Personally, I often feel like I have a series of this OR that choices and not this AND that (not to get all standardized test on you).

While it’s true that sometimes you have to make sacrifices that will contribute to your ultimate happiness, I also believe that we don’t think big enough once we graduate college and enter the real world. Why CAN’T you live in an exciting place and see your family and have a strong relationship and a successful career? And even if you don’t have every single thing on your list right away, why couldn’t you have them at some point in the future? Or if you can’t have all 20 items on your list, why can’t you at least have enough of them so that you feel perfectly content?

While I think it’s important to appreciate what you have going for you at this very moment, I also don’t think that you should stop hoping and working toward your ideal life. Obviously if you have no ounce of musical talent, you should probably give up on the record deal dream. But dreaming within reason is a beautiful thing.

I drive my boyfriend insane because I’m constantly talking about what the future will hold. He’s a low-key guy who takes things as they come and doesn’t dabble in hypotheticals. While I think this attitude would help me to sleep better at night, my anxiety is also complemented by a hefty dose of excitement about the future. Though I often toss and turn at night, it’s partially due to the hope that big things lie ahead, as corny as it sounds.

In college, we’re taught to go after what we really, truly want. But sometime around 23 or 24, you start to feel as if it’s time to stop fantasizing. Time to put that pipe dream aside and start to find ways to make money. Time to stop holding out for your dream relationship and just settle for what you’ve got. Look, I know being practical is important, otherwise you’ll end up spending all your money and making risky choices. However, I also think it’s possible to be too practical. You shouldn’t have to settle or start justifying things to make yourself feel content. You should feel like you’d make all the same life choices over again, given a redo. Though it may seem otherwise, there’s actually no age when it’s time to pack it in. If you don’t like what your life is like right now, change it. It may not be easy and it may take some time, but it’s completely and totally possible, regardless of your age. Your friends and family may criticize you and you may feel alone in your choices, but you can do it. It’s worth it.

Do I have everything that I want right at this very moment? Definitely not. But I’m not giving up yet either. And I may not have these things tomorrow or the next day either, but I can still work toward them. As long as you’re not setting yourself up for failure (I’m probably not going to win an Olympic gold) then dreaming and working toward lofty goals is a beautiful thing.

Do you ever feel like you just have to settle and give up on far-fetched dreams?

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