“Each day can be a new year if you let it. ” — Things I tell myself all the time and only listen to sometimesWhile reading Shonda Rhimes’ book, Year of Yes, I reached the part where she delivers her commencement speech at Dartmouth. Suddenly, I felt like a bunch of bricks hit me against the head and a screeching alarm woke me up:
“Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral. Pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.” — S. RhimesWide-eyed from the invisible bricks and alarm I realized: "I dream too damn much. That's my problem. THAT'S IT!" You're probably thinking "that's so obvious! Of course dreaming doesn't get you anywhere! Of course you need to work hard and actually DO something to get results!" However, is it really that obvious? How many times have we said, I want to be "x" or I want to do "y" and then returned to being and doing whatever is the furthest from "x" and "y?" Do we really want to do or be those things we dream of or do we just like hearing ourselves talk about things that we know will not happen? I hope it's the former, and if so, I believe that we as humans are just more comfortable with dreaming than actually doing and that is why we often never get to where we want to be. At least, that's the truth for me. Despite being a hardworking person, I spend A LOT of my time dreaming about how my life would be if it was just a little bit different. If I lived somewhere else, if I didn't make that decision, if I was born rich, if I had chosen a different major, if, if, if. All this time spent has gotten me nowhere. At least nowhere I want to be yet. Don't get me wrong, apart from being a black female, I live a decently privileged life. I have a great family, fantastic friends, a nice apartment, a college degree, a job, the chance to take time and consider my life and actually dream. However, as one does, I wish for more for myself and I can have "more" if I actually act. As Ms. Rhimes said,
“Ditch the dream. Be a doer, not a dreamer. ”That is what is going to happen. Although 2015 was a (long, albeit necessary) year of dreaming, 2016 is going to be a year of DOING. Inherently, 2016 is going to be the beginning of a new chapter for me because I am actually moving to a bigger, different city in a couple of months to pursue one of the other things I dream about (yay to actually doing something about my dreams!). However, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, each day can be a new year so the DOING starts today, not just January 1, 2016. As the new year (read: new day) approaches, what do you not only hope for yourself but hope you DO for yourself in the future?
Born in Nigeria, raised in Scotland and America, Nneka Njoku is a writer and photographer striving to tell captivating stories portraying the diversity of humanity all while making her way through her 20s in one piece. When she is not writing or taking photos, you can find her drinking ginger tea or red wine, eating A LOT of food, reading, laughing with friends, Netflix-ing, or trying to learn anything tech related. Follow Nneka on Twitter and Instagram @unspokennneka, and at nnekanjoku.com.