Tag Archives: dreams/expectations

An Update to the 100 Goal Challenge

22 Mar 16
Megan
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One of the most popular posts on the blog here seems to be the 100 Goal Challenge post, so I thought I’d do an update on where I’ve gotten in almost 2 years.

As a reminder I broke my goals down into my Defining the Best ME categories (Mental, Physical, Wisdom) with some actions fitting into more than one category.

  1. Start/Run my own business
    • I’ve achieved this one! Once I worked out I wouldn’t be able to go back to my full time job at the Council, I began doing some consulting work. My business, LiveKen, focuses on helping others to live simple, sustainable and meaningful lives with or without chronic illness. At the moment I’m focused on finalising the Foggy Frog picture book, helping one local Council to develop a 3 year Environmental Action Plan, and another to develop a biodiversity hot spot map and fact sheets for local schools.
  2. Have 2 children/start a family
    • Not yet, as per my recent posts E and I are currently discussing our options. I have a few health issues that need to be sorted out before we can begin trying.
  3. Develop/run educational resources/sessions for business, community and schools/unis
    • See number 1 – I’ve started doing this. I’d like to increase this over time.
  4. Visit the Great Barrier Reef
    • Not Yet.
  5. Visit Tasmania
    • Not Yet.
  6. Work internationally
    • I have in the past but would like to again.
  7. Travel to Europe/UK
    • Not Yet.
  8. Do 30 minutes walk/run/ride daily
    • Building up slowly, currently doing a short ride every 2-3 days but no dedicated walks (just step count that I mainly get around the house).
  9. Daily yoga
    • Hit and miss on this one at the moment.
  10. Daily meditation
    • Most days I get this.
  11. Travel to Africa/See wild Gorillas
    • Not Yet.
  12. Participate in 12hr Rogaine (I did this when I first got ill – before I realised how serious it was – and would love to have the energy/low pain levels to do it again)
    • I participated in a 4hr one on the weekend (managed about 2 and a half hours).
  13. Contribute to charity regularly
    • I contribute to charity on an adhoc basis at the moment.
  14. Publish Foggy Frog Picture book
    The dummy book for Foggy Frog...

    The dummy book for Foggy Frog…

    • This is much closer now! Today I’ve finished the inside pages (we need to print to check colours), we now just need to design a few cover options for our backers to vote on.
  15. Work nationally
    • Have done in the past but want to expand current business when I’m up to it.
  16. Have annual holidays
    • We do this, at least a short camping trip each year.
  17. Build own house
    • Not Yet.
  18. Annual income of $100,000 (This one I’m really not sure about, I’d be happy with earning just enough to live off, but the process said to dream big so that’s what I tried to do)
    • Not yet, and still not sure about this one… I may end up changing it next time I review.
  19. Retire with enough financial security to continue annual holidays
    • Not yet, but I think we’re on track to do it.
  20. Celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary
    On our Wedding Day Photo (c) M. Vovers, 2011

    On our Wedding Day
    Photo (c) M. Vovers, 2011

    • It’s our 5th this year (a 10th of the way there)!
  21. Continue to learn something new each year
    • I believe I’m on track with this. I’m constantly trying new things.
  22. Learn to sew my own clothes
    Patterns I've bought but not sewn yet

    Patterns I’ve bought but not sewn yet

    • Still just doing basic sewing at this stage (pillows, napkins, blankets, etc)
  23. Live as sustainably as possible
    • Working on this one… I’m still decluttering and removing unnecessary items from our lives, aiming to buy second hand as much as possible, and reducing our waste stream as much as possible.
  24. Complete my Bachelor of Education
    • I have decided not to continue with this one, instead I’m aiming to complete my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.
  25. Help others live sustainably
    The last campaign I ran before getting ill in 2013. Focusing on riding and travelling to work.

    The last campaign I ran before getting ill in 2013. Focusing on riding and travelling to work.

    • Working on it. I discuss ideas in my blog, and I’m working with local Council’s to move communities towards more sustainable options.
  26. Help others understand chronic illness
    • Working on it… The picture book will be out soon
  27. Have monthly dinner parties with family and friends
    • This has not been happening so far.
  28. Have monthly games afternoons with friends (board games)
    • This hasn’t happened monthly, but we have had more games afternoons than in the past.
  29. Clean out old and unused things and give to people who will use them
    • I’ve been doing this, but it is an ongoing process.
  30. Set up my own space for sewing, drawing and studying
    • I now have my desk set up in the study for drawing and studying, and a small desk for sewing in the spare room.2016-02-28 14.11.28
  31. Plant and maintain veg garden
    Our veggie garden last year

    Our veggie garden last year

    • There is currently nothing in our veggie garden apart from herbs but I’m working on this one.
  32. Find a mentor(s) to help me achieve my goals
    • I think this is an ongoing thing… Just taking advice whenever I can from where ever I can.
  33. Schedule time weekly to reflect/review my goals and achievements
    • I’ve been keeping a daily journal instead.
  34. Achieve work/life balance (need to work out what this actually means to me)
    • This is my focus this year, I feel I’m finding more balance at the moment.
  35. Have a weekly ‘date’ with E
    • We aim to do something together each week, even if it’s just a games night at home.
  36. Pay off our mortgage
    • We’re working on this one. Thanks to support from E’s parents we have gotten the mortgage below $100,000.
  37. Only buy quality items
    • Ongoing, but a focus whenever we buy things.
  38. Save 10% of my income
    • Ongoing, I have set up an automatic transfer to put $45 into my Super account each fortnight (retirement fund here in Australia) and automatically have 10% of anything I earn through my casual work go to Super. I haven’t worked out if the $45 a fortnight will add up to 10% of what I earn through consulting this year yet.
  39. Organise a financial plan
    • I have a very simple 5 year plan written up and a budget that we work within (I try and keep it flexible as long as we don’t go into debt throughout the year). I haven’t fleshed out the plan with detail yet.
  40. Teach my children how to save, invest and create wealth for themselves (need to teach myself this first so I know what I’m talking about… still not too clear on investments and wealth creation)
    • Slowly teaching myself through reading books and blog posts on financial management so that when we have children I can teach them.
  41. Teach my children to live sustainably
    • Need to have children first!
  42. Ensure I have regular health checks
    • I see my doctor and specialists regularly.
  43. Read every week (would love daily if possible)
    • I read a lot of blog posts these days, I want to work on reading more physical books as well.
  44. Learn to live a fulfilling life with my chronic illnesses
    Retrieved from Facebook.

    Retrieved from Facebook.

    • Working on it! I’m getting better at pacing and have managed to add in activities that fit with my values and make me feel like I’m contributing to my community.
  45. Swim regularly 1-2 x a week
    • Waiting for our local pool to open as there really isn’t anything close to us at the moment.
  46. Visit T in Hong Kong
    • Not yet, planning to visit her this year some time (she’s coming here this week to go camping with me and E over easter).
  47. Develop networks to help make my ideas reality
    • Working on it.
  48. Visit Japan
    • Not yet.
  49. Teach my children to cook
    • Need children first.
  50. Schedule time to draw
    • Haven’t made this regular yet.
  51. Learn to belly dance
    • Not yet.
  52. Get a family dog
    • Not yet.
  53. Participate in a yoga/health retreat
    • Not yet.
  54. Find a hobby E and I can do together (used to hike regularly but I’m not up to that at this stage)
    • We’ve been playing a lot more games together. I’m hoping to add short walks back into our routine.
  55. Learn to be more assertive
    • Working on it.
  56. Get monthly massages
    • I’ve been using my massage chair regularly.
  57. Learn to play the guitar better
    • Not yet.
  58. Write 2 blog posts a week
    • Most weeks I’m achieving this, some weeks I only manage 1 if I’m extra busy or in a crash.
  59. Spend a day by myself every 6 months focusing on reviewing and renewing my goals and plans
    • I’ve done this maybe every 12 months so far, I still would like to increase it to every 6 months.
  60. Find a weekly routine that works (I feel very flustered lately as I can’t settle into one routine with things changing all the time)
    • This is still constantly changing but I’ve found a flexible schedule works better for me. Instead of a fixed routine I’ve been working to only schedule 2-3 activities a day and leave a lot of space so I don’t get flustered.
  61. Write a will
    • Not yet.
  62. Go on a 4 week holiday by myself
    • Not yet.
  63. Write regular articles for other blogs/websites/media sources
    • Not yet. I need to be more consistent writing for My Invisible Life and other people who have contacted me.
  64. Learn to cook more delicious and healthy dairy and gluten free meals
    • I’ve increased our repitoire of meals but this is an ongoing goal.
  65. Spend time in nature regularly
    A bird bath on a community walking trail near work.

    A bird bath on a community walking trail near work.

    • I try and spend some time outside each and every day.
  66. Enter writing competition and win
    • Not yet.
  67. Organise an annual event to raise awareness of, and funds for research into, chronic illness
    • Not yet.
  68. Act as a mentor for someone
    • Not yet.
  69. Have quarterly girls nights/afternoons/days with my closest friends
    • I’ve caught up with people a bit more regularly but not quarterly yet.
  70. Get Foggy Frog into libraries, schools and homes around the world
    • I’ve had one library contact me already. I need to publish the book first though.
  71. Keep a gratitude jar and read the contents yearly
    My gratitude corner (bedside table)

    My gratitude corner (bedside table)

    • I’ve moved away from the gratitude jar, instead I include gratitude in my weekly ‘Share My World’ post and write in my journal.
  72. Create a neighbourhood/community sustainability group to catch up and share ideas
    • Not yet.
  73. Be present and mindful every day
    • I’m getting better. This is a work in progress goal.
  74. Develop a morning and evening routine
    • Morning – check emails in bed, dress (shower if necessary), breakfast and tea, one major task.
    • Evening – dinner, tv with Erik, teeth and pills (shower if necessary, sponge bath otherwise), journal, meditation.
  75. Keep a regular journal
    • I’m using it to track my daily activities. I set up to 3 activities each night for the next day and then add extra if I manage more during the day.
  76. Incorporate physio recommended exercises/stretches into daily life
    • I’m doing this. I do my pelvic stretches throughout the day and I’m currently focused on maintaining my step count.
  77. Declutter my life
    • Working on it, I’ve removed many items from our house but still working to declutter my calendar and feel that this goal is an ongoing work-in-progress kind of goal.
  78. Spend a weekend away with E every 6 months
    • This hasn’t happened but we have had a few weekends away in the last few years and have a few planned for this year.
  79. Learn more about business management and marketing
    • I read blogs and books to help me better understand what I should be doing with my business.
  80. Deliver a TED talk (about my work and education programs?)
    • Not yet.
  81. Smile every day
    Christmas 2013...

    Christmas 2013…

    • I think I’ve achieved this one… To be honest I haven’t tracked it but know that I smile quite often.
  82. Learn to deal with conflict
    • Working on it. I’m getting better at dealing with conflict and standing up for myself.
  83. Write every day
    • I write my to-do list every day. Once a week, I write my blog posts. I would like to add more writing.
  84. Frame our pictures and display them in the house
    • Not yet, reconsidering as I’m reducing the amount of ‘stuff’ in our house.
  85. Interact with people who support my vision
    • Doing this as much as I can.
  86. Make a firm career decision and pursue it
    • Still working on this. I’ve got a vague idea of where I want to go but need to clarify some details.
  87. Be well regarded and respected for my work
    • Not something I feel comfortable judging for myself but from the feedback I get I’d say I am.
  88. Develop a realistic business plan, implement the plan and follow through
    • Because of my health I’m still struggling to develop a realistic business plan that can be implemented and followed through. At this stage I’m just working to complete the projects I have already and then I’ll reassess this.
  89. Assist 10 people to live a fulfilling life with a chronic illness
    • Not yet, working on it.
  90. Get my superannuation strategy working for me
    • Working on it, I’m making sure that I get something into my super regularly.
  91. Maintain a healthy weight
    • My weight has stayed about the same for the last few years.
  92. Have regular skin checks
    • Had one a year and a half ago. I believe they suggested every 2 years.
  93. Have monthly goals to focus on
    • This hasn’t been working for me. I need to reassess the goals that I set.
  94. Build a team around me to help me reach my goals
    • Working on it.
  95. Be around for my children as much as possible
    • Need children first.
  96. Visit my Uncle in Vietnam
    • Not yet.
  97. Buy local as much as possible
    • I try and do this. Still working on improving this.
  98. Focus on experiences not possessions
    • Working on it.
  99. Eat vegetables with every meal
    • Mostly.
  100. Focus on the good things in life

    I found this little guy while walking with a friend Christmas Eve 2012...

    I found this little guy while walking with a friend Christmas Eve 2012… He made us smile, we took photos but left him for others to find and enjoy as well.

A quick No Buy Challenge Update: I did swap one top I hadn’t worn in over 6 months for a new striped top which I’ve already worn 3 times in the last week. Other than that no purchases for me this week.

Have you completed your 100 Goal Challenge?

If so, what have you learnt from reviewing the goals you’ve set?

If not, has my list helped you identify a few more things you could add to your own?


Just One of Many: Difficult decisions with Invisible Illness

09 Sep 14
Megan
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This year’s theme for Invisible Illness Awareness Week is “Just One”.

Invisible Illness Awareness Week 2014

My whole life I have suffered from invisible illnesses. From a very early age I suffered from asthma and allergies. Because I grew up with them I know how to manage them reasonably well (although I’m still identifying and learning to manage new allergies all the time). The newer conditions (Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS and Pelvic Congestion Syndrome) I’m still learning how to manage and live with.

I feel like since I have been living with these conditions my whole life has been turned upside down. Many things have been put on hold or given up. I haven’t worked in over a year, I struggle with social events and I only just manage to stay positive with the limited level of activity I’m capable of.

Lately, I’ve been struggling more than usual with staying positive. I honestly don’t mind that my ability to do many of the things I love has been limited. I don’t really mind too much that I haven’t been able to work for so long and that I haven’t been able to go on the holidays I dream of.

There is JUST ONE thing that I really struggle with and I think it is something many women in my position are likely to be struggling with as well.

Many of my family and friends are either pregnant or have young children in their families. Although I am extremely happy and excited for them, it also makes me sad. Before the new conditions hit, I had believed that by now I would be a mother, or at least we would be trying for children.

Now my life is filled with so much uncertainty. Although I’m told that my conditions do not affect my fertility, many of the drugs I’m on at the moment can OR can affect the development of a baby. I’m not sure my body can cope with pregnancy or with looking after a young child. My bone density is low which means I have a higher risk of stress fractures and very weak bones. My pain is going to increase during pregnancy due to the pelvic congestion and all my other conditions have a 33.33% chance of getting worse as well based on what information I’ve been able to find.

Despite all of these issues, having a family of my own is the number one most important thing to me. Ever since I was a child (possibly even as young as 4 when my sister was born) I have wanted to be a mum.

If I had to choose JUST ONE activity I would like to achieve in my life it would be to have a child of my own.

I have a difficult decision to make and I feel we need to make it soon. To try for a biological child of our own or to adopt. There are treatment options available for some of my issues which I have been told we can’t consider until we’ve finished trying for children.

Whichever choice we make, I know that any child we bring into our family will be loved and cared for. I may not have the energy or strength to be a ‘normal’ active parent, but I will be the best mother I can be. We have a wide network of family and friends who I know would do whatever they could to help us as well.

What is your JUST ONE story?

Are there others out there who are struggling with decisions related to starting a family with multiple chronic illnesses?

The 100 Goal Challenge: My Life To-Do-List

03 Jun 14
Megan
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As discussed in last week’s post about Finding Your Passion, the first steps are to undertake the 100 Goal Challenge and use your answers to identify your Driving Emotions.

I shared my Driving Emotions and their definitions in the previous post and as requested I’m sharing my list of 100 Goals with you today. I apologise in advance for the lengthy post (I’ve tried to break it up with images so it’s not just text). I hope the goals inspire you and help you in creating your own Life To-Do List (100 goals).

Looking through them I think I can break them down into my Defining the Best ME categories (Mental, Physical, Wisdom) and some fit into more than one category.

Here we go:

  1. Start/Run my own business
  2. Have 2 children/start a family
  3. Develop/run educational resources/sessions for business, community and schools/unis
  4. Visit the Great Barrier Reef
  5. Visit Tasmania
  6. Work internationally
  7. Travel to Europe/UK
  8. Do 30 minutes walk/run/ride daily
  9. Daily yoga
  10. Daily meditation
  11. Travel to Africa/See wild Gorillas
  12. Participate in 12hr Rogaine (I did this when I first got ill – before I realised how serious it was – and would love to have the energy/low pain levels to do it again)
  13. Contribute to charity regularly
  14. Publish Foggy Frog Picture book

    The dummy book for Foggy Frog...

    The dummy book for Foggy Frog…

  15. Work nationally
  16. Have annual holidays
  17. Build own house
  18. Annual income of $100,000 (This one I’m really not sure about, I’d be happy with earning just enough to live off, but the process said to dream big so that’s what I tried to do)
  19. Retire with enough financial security to continue annual holidays
  20. Celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary (It’s our 3rd this year)

    On our Wedding Day Photo (c) M. Vovers, 2011

    On our Wedding Day
    Photo (c) M. Vovers, 2011

  21. Continue to learn something new each year
  22. Learn to sew my own clothes

    Patterns I've bought but not sewn yet

    Patterns I’ve bought but not sewn yet

  23. Live as sustainably as possible
  24. Complete my Bachelor of Education
  25. Help others live sustainably

    The last campaign I ran before getting ill in 2013. Focusing on riding and travelling to work.

    The last campaign I ran before getting ill in 2013. Focusing on riding and travelling to work.

  26. Help others understand chronic illness
  27. Have monthly dinner parties with family and friends
  28. Have monthly games afternoons with friends (board games)
  29. Clean out old and unused things and give to people who will use them
  30. Set up my own space for sewing, drawing and studying
  31. Plant and maintain veg garden

    Our veggie garden last year

    Our veggie garden last year

  32. Find a mentor(s) to help me achieve my goals (I’ve found one business mentor already since setting this goal, but I feel that I would benefit from a team of people I can go to for advice/support)
  33. Schedule time weekly to reflect/review my goals and achievements
  34. Achieve work/life balance (need to work out what this actually means to me)
  35. Have a weekly ‘date’ with E
  36. Pay off our mortgage
  37. Only buy quality items
  38. Save 10% of my income
  39. Organise a financial plan
  40. Teach my children how to save, invest and create wealth for themselves (need to teach myself this first so I know what I’m talking about… still not too clear on investments and wealth creation)
  41. Teach my children to live sustainably
  42. Ensure I have regular health checks
  43. Read every week (would love daily if possible)
  44. Learn to live a fulfilling life with my chronic illnesses

    Retrieved from Facebook.

    Retrieved from Facebook.

  45. Swim regularly 1-2 x a week
  46. Visit T in Hong Kong
  47. Develop networks to help make my ideas reality
  48. Visit Japan
  49. Teach my children to cook
  50. Schedule time to draw
  51. Learn to belly dance
  52. Get a family dog
  53. Participate in a yoga/health retreat
  54. Find a hobby E and I can do together (used to hike regularly but I’m not up to that at this stage)
  55. Learn to be more assertive
  56. Get monthly massages
  57. Learn to play the guitar better
  58. Write 2 blog posts a week
  59. Spend a day by myself every 6 months focusing on reviewing and renewing my goals and plans
  60. Find a weekly routine that works (I feel very flustered lately as I can’t settle into one routine with things changing all the time)
  61. Write a will
  62. Go on a 4 week holiday by myself
  63. Write regular articles for other blogs/websites/media sources
  64. Learn to cook more delicious and healthy dairy and gluten free meals
  65. Spend time in nature regularly

    A bird bath on a community walking trail near work.

    A bird bath on a community walking trail near work.

  66. Enter writing competition and win
  67. Organise an annual event to raise awareness of, and funds for research into, chronic illness
  68. Act as a mentor for someone
  69. Have quarterly girls nights/afternoons/days with my closest friends
  70. Get Foggy Frog into libraries, schools and homes around the world
  71. Keep a gratitude jar and read the contents yearly

    My gratitude corner (bedside table)

    My gratitude corner (bedside table)

  72. Create a neighbourhood/community sustainability group to catch up and share ideas
  73. Be present and mindful every day
  74. Develop a morning and evening routine
  75. Keep a regular journal
  76. Incorporate physio recommended exercises/stretches into daily life
  77. Declutter my life
  78. Spend a weekend away with E every 6 months
  79. Learn more about business mangement and marketing
  80. Deliver a TED talk (about my work and education programs?)
  81. Smile every day

    Christmas 2013...

    Christmas 2013…

  82. Learn to deal with conflict
  83. Write every day
  84. Frame our pictures and display them in the house
  85. Interact with people who support my vision
  86. Make a firm career decision and pursue it
  87. Be well regarded and respected for my work
  88. Develop a realistic business plan, implement the plan and follow through
  89. Assist 10 people to live a fulfilling life with a chronic illness
  90. Get my superannuation strategy working for me
  91. Maintain a healthy weight
  92. Have regular skin checks
  93. Have monthly goals to focus on
  94. Build a team around me to help me reach my goals
  95. Be around for my children as much as possible
  96. Visit my Uncle in Vietnam
  97. Buy local as much as possible
  98. Focus on experiences not possesions
  99. Eat vegetables with every meal
  100. Focus on the good things in life

    I found this little guy while walking with a friend Christmas Eve 2012...

    I found this little guy while walking with a friend Christmas Eve 2012… He made us smile, we took photos but left him for others to find and enjoy as well.

 What I’ve learnt from creating this list

The following are the key important things I’ve pulled from my list:

  • Helping others/Educating and Awareness Raising. As I go through this list I can count over 10 items that relate to helping/teaching others about different things.
  • Having a support team and strong relationships with my family and friends.  Again multiple items on the list focus on spending time with or identifying others who can help me/I can help them.
  • Sustainable living. In terms of how I live my life, my financial security, and how I interact with others, having a positive impact instead of a negative one is key.
  • Structure and Simplicity. In order to manage my illness and remain as healthy as possible I should aim to have some structure in my daily/weekly routines and I should simplify as much as possible. (This will be a focus of a future post)

Have you completed your 100 Goal Challenge?

If so, what have you learnt from reviewing the goals you’ve set?

If not, has my list helped you identify a few more things you could add to your own?

Chronic Pain and Fatigue – Managing your own Expectations

14 Nov 13
Megan
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image from Google Image Search “Dreams”
http://heavendreamscometrue.com

This post has been inspired by conversations with people I know and The Better Way CFS‘s post on “How CFS has Changed Me”. The conversations have been around other people expressing their concerns that my goals and expectations for the future are now unrealistic. The blog post talks about how being ill has caused a change in her goals are for the future.

I have resigned myself to the possibility I may not ever get well enough to work full time again, and I may have to change my career choices, but I am really struggling with letting go of, or changing, other goals and dreams because I see them as a defining part of who I am.

For example, my whole life I have wanted to be a mother. This, in my mind, is one of the most important things that could ever happen to me. I have always, even as a small child, pictured myself as a mother. I’m now being told, by multiple people in my life, that this life long dream is unrealistic. I understand that the people who are saying this are only saying it because they are concerned about me and my health, but it is still very hard to hear it. Their concerns are around my ability to look after a child while I’m fatigued and in pain and around the pain and fatigue that being pregnant can cause (especially given the Pelvic Congestion Syndrome). I am being told to consider the risks of going through a pregnancy and these people believe the risk is too high.

These are all valid concerns and I do understand where they’re coming from BUT I don’t think I’m going to give up on this dream. I believe that the risks are high but manageable and, in my mind, they are worth it. My mum is with me on this. She has pointed out that I have a large support base available to me in the form of family members and friends in the area that we live. She understands how important this is for me, and like me she believes that there is never a “right” time for having a child.

Before I got this ill, E and I had been discussing the possibility of “considering” children towards the end of next year. He now believes that until I am “well” (which lets be realistic, may never happen) I should not be considering children. Another point he made was that even if I get better he would be concerned about the pregnancy causing a relapse of symptoms. He has straight out told me that end of next year is completely unrealistic for considering children now that I am ill, and that I should be preparing myself for the unlikely possibility that I may never be able to have children.

These comments really hurt me. I know he’s only said them because he loves me and he is concerned about my health and well being and so I’m trying to take them on board and consider the possibilities but it’s difficult.

How have you dealt with letting go of (or redefining) something you believed was an integral part of how you perceived yourself?

Have you ever struggled with managing your expectations and dreams when they’ve clashed with reality or the expectations and dreams of those you love?