Achieving Goals Can Provide Meaning and Fulfillment
Many young people enter adulthood with dreams and goals in mind. The burning desire to attain these goals drives them to carry on through hardships and challenges.
But for people with chronic illness, achieving goals can be harder, as they may face more obstacles related to their condition. It may even be more difficult for them to visualize their future, for fear of being disappointed — especially if they fail numerous times.
What many people don’t realize is that failure is a natural part of trying, and often essential to success. Our culture tends to value people’s biggest achievements, while little credit is given to the wobbly baby steps it took to get there. Social media amplifies this phenomenon by showing only the “highlight reel” of people’s lives and keeping the unpleasant parts hidden.
My husband, Jared, who has hemophilia and a seizure disorder, often tells me that scrolling through social media can be depressing, especially when his peers post about achieving life goals. Jared once mentioned to me that he grew up without much of a vision for his life. Deep down, he felt like his chronic illnesses would always stand between him and his goals. Instead, he found meaning in supporting other people and helping them succeed. But subconsciously, something might have been missing.
Learning to dream
When Jared and I got married and had a child, we finally began to dream for ourselves and our daughter. We wanted to give her a decent life without having to expect anything from others. For once in his life, Jared had a clear vision of the future — our future. We found ourselves plotting out concrete steps we could take to turn our dreams into reality.
After years of doubt and uncertainty, we gained the courage to pursue independent living. I took a shot at working full time while managing a business. Meanwhile, Jared ventured into a separate business involving something he loves: food.
Our new living arrangement motivates us to work even harder on our finances. Jared is also working on his mental health, with the aim of becoming completely seizure-free. So far, the gaps between his seizures have been growing wider, which is a good sign.
One step at a time
Jared’s mind is preoccupied now that he is actively working toward his dreams, one step at a time.
It’s great to dream big. But more importantly, dreams need to be aligned with one’s specific situation for them to be achievable.
In our case, we’ve decided to break our bigger goals down into smaller, more attainable ones. This month, Jared’s goal is to purchase a big fridge where he can store ingredients for both his business venture and our home. It’s one step closer to his bigger goal of starting a large food enterprise.
Jared is proud when he is able to earn for himself or contribute financially to our family. It gives him a unique sense of fulfillment as a dad, husband, and person. As a chronically ill person so used to looking down on himself, the “self-esteem points” he gains from it are limitless!
Dreams don’t look the same for everyone
Lately, Jared and I have realized that dreams aren’t one-size-fits-all. What’s right for one person may not be right for someone else. In deciding which goals to pursue and how to go about attaining them, we’ve had to ask ourselves what truly felt right for us, and for our family. Only we could answer that question.
One day, Jared and I hope to buy a house of our own. Many people dream of mansions with several rooms, swimming pools, entertainment centers, and numerous amenities. But our dream home is different.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting a big home. After all, there’s no wrong or right way to dream. It simply isn’t for us, because our life as a family with chronic illness is different.
For us, a small space suffices, as long as it’s peaceful and filled with happiness and love. Besides, a small home is much more hemophilia-friendly, as Jared can easily reach for the things he needs, even if he has an ongoing bleed. For many chronically ill people, self-sufficiency is just as important as outside support — perhaps even more. I will prioritize giving this to my husband, because he deserves to live as normally as possible.
Note: Hemophilia News Today 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 another 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 Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.