Are you overwhelmed with tasks and responsibilities but still clinging to your dreams? You're not alone. Years ago, I faced a similar situation when I decided to pursue a Computer Science degree while working a low-paying job. Seeing people around me living more luxurious lives made me realize that opportunity was the only thing separating us. I believed that getting a degree could unlock those opportunities for me.
I enrolled in a local college that offered a Computer Science program. I juggled work and school, both physically tiring and mentally taxing. But I found my sanctuary on my apartment's third-floor balcony, watching airplanes take off from a nearby airport. This wasn't just a place to catch my breath; it was my personal vision board. There, I found the space to visualize my dreams and plot my future.
The Everyday Grind: A Juggling Act
Every day, I woke up the buzzing of an alarm clock, already anticipating the marathon that the day would be. Awaiting me were three grueling hours of lectures, seminars, and note-taking at school. Though fulfilling, intellectual stimulation felt like my brain was running a sprint. But there's no time for a break.
Then, I had to switch gears mentally and do the physically demanding job for another eight hours as a store clerk from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. - the graveyard shift. My muscles were tense and strained from the continuous standing and stocking shelves. By the time I got home, my body and mind were exhausted. That was my reality almost every day for three years.
The Balcony: A Portal to Dreaming
After school each day at noon, before heading to work, I would go to the balcony of my third-floor apartment. I liked to review notes and complete reading assignments there. For a mental break, I would watch happy passengers through the windows of American Airlines planes as they began or ended their journeys.
I would sit in my worn-out lawn chair with my feet propped up on the railing. The horizon would take me to a different world, away from the daily hustle. The noise of life below would fade away, leaving only the distant hum of jet engines and the mesmerizing dance of departing and arriving planes. This place was not only a sanctuary for me to rest, but it also ignited my imagination.
Dreamscapes: Crafting a Vision
I wasn't just observing the planes but imagining myself aboard them. Picture the plane speeding down the runway, the pilot's voice coming over the intercom to tell passengers to fasten their seat belts. Feel the excitement as the plane lifts off, soaring over a sea of clouds that look like an endless cotton quilt.
I envisioned landing in bustling destinations like New York City, vibrant Miami, tech-oriented San Francisco, or the scenic beauty of Seattle. I imagined stepping off the plane in a new city, my heart filled with anticipation and my mind ready to soak in new experiences, connect with interesting people, and create lasting memories. These daydreams served as my sanctuary, my vision for an as-yet-unrealized future.
Skepticism and Resilience: My Brother's Perspective
My brother occasionally joined me on the balcony. One evening, as we watched planes take off into the velvety darkness, I told him we would succeed. His response? "You don't even know what success is, so stop dreaming!" Then there was silence. Imagine that sinking feeling, a shadow momentarily darkening my vision.
However, it was crucial to remember that the dream was mine to envision and hold onto. Despite his skepticism, I continued to visualize myself traveling to far-off destinations on those planes. The dream remained alive in my heart.
The Dream Realized: From Vision to Reality
Two years later, I found myself gazing from an airplane window, looking down at the balcony where my dream had first sparked. That feeling of accomplishment was immense.
At 18, I was faced with a reality that many youths confront. Despite their best intentions, my parents couldn’t afford my college education, even though I had graduated in the top 10% of my class. As a result, I relocated to Dallas, Texas, to stay with my siblings. The trip to Dallas was my first experience on a bus and was unnerving. Being away from home for the first time, surrounded by strangers boarding and getting off at every little town, heightened my anxiety.
The journey, which covered just over 400 miles, took more than twelve hours due to numerous stops on rural routes. It was exhausting and daunting, leading me to promise to avoid traveling by bus for long trips. Four years later, on my maiden flight journey, the anticipation of seeing my mother again was palpable. As the seatbelt sign lit up, I reflected on the power of visualization. Dreams can be actualized with commitment, careful planning, and continuous effort, but it’s crucial to allow them the time they require to unfold.
Echoing the words of motivational speaker Les Brown, "Focus on the vision, not the method." I clung to that belief, and the vision I once held so closely had transformed into a tangible, fulfilling reality.
Conclusion: The Power of Visualization
With persistence and dedication, I transformed a once far-off dream into a tangible experience. The balcony, which once served as an escape, became a foundation for bigger aspirations. What began as a mere imagination evolved into a transformative reality.
If you ever find yourself metaphorically on a 'balcony,' merely observing your dreams from afar, know this: Visualization can elevate you to unimaginable heights. Embrace that vision, dream persistently, and always believe that one day, you can ascend from your 'balcony' into the vastness of your dreams.
Your dreams are within reach. Over the years, by visualizing my aspirations—whether it was growing dreadlocks, having a beachside wedding, or building a joyful life with a family I cherish—I've witnessed them come to life. Visualize, believe, and you'll achieve.
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