Big Dreams Can Help Us Overcome Health Setbacks

Big Dreams Can Help Us Overcome Health Setbacks

Boarding an airport shuttle bus at 3 a.m. on a recent Sunday, I didn’t expect much in the way of conversation when I greeted the driver. I thought I’d receive a grunted “hello” in response. But instead, I got a talkative young man with a dream.

Dreaming big

During the short drive to the terminal, his enthusiasm was infectious. Since stumbling upon sarcoidosis in my early 30s, playing it safe has become a habit because of the disease’s unpredictability. I envied the wild abandon of my driver’s dream of moving to Colombia with no more forethought than getting a passport and learning a little Spanish. I attributed his carefree attitude to his youth. But as I made my way through the security checkpoint, it struck me that lofty dreams shouldn’t be a privilege of the young. We all could benefit from having ambitious aspirations, especially in the face of health battles, because dreams inject passion into our lives.  

Pathway to purpose

During a recent annual medical examination, I asked my nurse how she was. She replied that though her life was fine, it felt dull because she wasn’t working toward achieving any goals. Lately, I’ve encountered others like her, who are on a quest to find more meaning in their lives. Some people I know are pursuing their dreams: a co-worker is taking courses to enter a new field, another has written a book, and a longtime friend plans to start her own business.

Establishing goals can help us to remain engaged as we age, benefiting our mental and physical health, according to an article from Harvard Health Publishing. Setting goals and striving to meet them is a key way that I deal with health setbacks — like my favorite quarterback, Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. After being given a 6- to 8-week recovery timetable for a thumb injury earlier this year, Brees, true to form, made it back in just five weeks, throwing three touchdowns during his return game. 

Chasing dreams

Setting and accomplishing goals can bring focus and purpose to our lives. But the sense of satisfaction that we get upon meeting these small milestones pales in comparison to the passionate pursuit and attainment of our biggest dreams.

A study found that 78 percent of adults don’t end up on the career paths they dreamed about in childhood. The 22 percent who do are “overwhelmingly happy with their careers,” Mashable reported. In that less than 10-minute ride to the airport terminal, I saw firsthand the happiness that a big dream can bring to someone’s life.

That’s why I’m off to find one of my own to chase. What is your big dream?

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Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.

Athena Merritt was a journalist for 20 years until her prolonged battle with sarcoidosis forced her out of work. As she rebuilds her life, she hopes to bring humor, inspiration and knowledge to others in the process.
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Athena Merritt was a journalist for 20 years until her prolonged battle with sarcoidosis forced her out of work. As she rebuilds her life, she hopes to bring humor, inspiration and knowledge to others in the process.

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