TED Conversations

Mary Vidaurri

This conversation is closed.

How do you balance living practically, with reaching for your dreams? How much does material gain matter, realistically?

As a teenager, there aren't many people within my age group willing to discuss life’s dilemmas outside of drama unfolding on FB, resulting in mental asphyxiation.
I've got my whole, too brief life, stretched out before me, and the sheer stunningness of my own mortality leads me to question the path my life will lead, and the "real" world impact of my decisions.
I want life and every word to the extent that it's absurd. I want to take every opportunity to travel, and fully experience life, even if it means I don't have much in material wealth. I don't mind hardship, I've lived with it. As long as I have enough for food and healthcare I'm fine. (This plan definitely includes college:)
Yet my family and culture pushes me in the direction of "traditional success" which consists of a job paying big bucks, a shiny new car, big house, two kids, and a dog. The American Dream, for a latina in a migrant family. This is seen as climbing up the ladder, it's a practical, comfortable lifestyle. A wise choice many would say and well within my grasp.
So I guess, after all that backstory, I want to hear what really matters once you've well advanced through life? Do you wish you'd taken the leap, or treasure the security of your life?
I don't know, I'm only 16, so I'd love to hear any advice, or common regrets.
and I hope this doesn't sound like typical teen angst, straight out of Catcher in the Rye:)


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jul 11 2013: There is a small group of young students who think the way you do: futuristic planning, if you will. Many students accept the common path that everyone is supposed to take, yet never acknowledge their dreams as something that can actually become reality. I was much like you at your age. I am 24 now, and I have a few words to say about this subject because I spent nearly 8 years trying to balance practical living with reaching for my dreams.

    During my high school years, I had a few dreams and aspirations that I was undoubtedly going to do. However, I had a problem. How was I going to afford it all? I wanted to travel, buy a house, have a family, and no doubt was my current profession was not going to fund any of this: a server at a restaurant. So I knew I had to make a change.

    The first change I made was changing the way I looked at my life. My perspective at the time was that I had a very short amount of time to see all my dreams come to pass. I was in a hurry for no reason. I then realized that some dreams like traveling could wait. I slowly began to change my perspective on life.

    I would suggest to you to not be anxious about the future and know that you have plenty of time to balance practical living and achieving your dreams. As you get older you will start to prioritize certain things in your life and how you prioritize your life can greatly affect your overall happiness. Prioritize with a balanced mindset on practical living and achieving your dreams. Some dreams of yours may be bigger and harder taking more time to achieve, while others can be achieved fairly easily and quickly. A small step towards any goal is still progress.
    • thumb
      Jul 13 2013: Thanks, often times we all need someone to tell us to slow down, I know I do. Overthinking my decisions can lead needless rushing, and sleepless nights...I confess to being a worrywart.

      Thanks for the reminder:)
    • thumb
      Jul 13 2013: Hey Austin, thanks for sharing.

      I plan to move to either LA and pursue a degree in Film production or move to either Amsterdam or Ibiza and work as a DJ in a club and do other jobs while attending college. I believe I can afford minimal living by myself until either my music or film career jumps forward.

      Do you think I should take a risk and enjoy a life full of exciting new adventures? Or should I actually go 'conventional'?
      • Jul 15 2013: Well from the way you form your question, it seems you have your mind already made up. A life full of excitement and new adventures can be achieved in a "conventional" manner; however, it takes hard work and dedication. Many times I feel that a majority of people today steer away from hard work and dedication or, in other words, "conventional" living.

        That said, I believe you should take a risk.
        • thumb
          Jul 15 2013: Thanks, I needed someone to say that to me.

          I feel motivated. I really needed some motivation. Haha...I'm needy sometimes.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.