Dreams are an interesting thing. They define who we are and they give us aspirations in life, motivating us to keep going in order to reach that supposed happiness that will come with the realisation of our coveted wish. From temporary dreams to long term hopes, they push us along and give us a reason to fight, a purpose in life to work towards.

Recently, I took up a job in order to achieve my post-graduation dream: travelling through south-east Asia on my own, in the hopes of meeting people, discovering new realities, figure out what I want to do with my life but most importantly, get to know myself a bit better and some time to rest and focus on my mind alone. After years of being in the education system, constantly worrying over deadlines, exams, making the right choices and doing things which could be beneficial for my professional path in the long term, I have come to a point where I just need to unplug for a while and actually get some time to breathe before I venture out there. I know it’s pretty cliché, but I guess it’s such for a reason: life can be very stressful and misleading at times and, sometimes, all we need is time with ourselves to make sense of it all.

With that said, I have been having some troubles with said job. This is in concomitance with another part time job I have, which I really like and where I find myself in harmony with the people working around me. However, this one is something entirely different. Although I was happy to start this new adventure, I have slowly started hating it more and more with each passing day. The duties are quite normal – just a casual waitressing job – and that is not what I have issues with. The environment is the one causing problems. Over the last few weeks, I have gradually realised that I don’t appreciate at all the people I am working with. At the cost of sounding petty, I find most of them don’t put enough effort in the job, as well as generally being uninteresting, gossip-y people that I just don’t get along with. All this time, I have been trying my best to overcome this, either by trying to be as friendly as possible or by simply taking a deep breath and ignoring when people piss me off.

I thought this would work, but unfortunately as time went by I realised the job just really depresses me and doesn’t make me happy at all. Still, I kept going, thinking of my ultimate goal of saving up for my big travels. That pushed me along and, to some extent, I thought it would be enough motivation to lead me through these few months before I am finally able to leave. Personally, I don’t like to quit things and, most importantly, I don’t like to give people the satisfaction of seeing me give up because I like to think of myself as a strong person. Yet, the situation has become so unbearable that all my uncertainties started to falter, leading me to an ultimate dilemma.

When is it time to stop whatever is making you unhappy? Should I just keep going, thinking of what I want to achieve and being as strong as I can be, because I know in the end it will pay off? Or should I quit what makes me truly, tragically unhappy? Should I choose ambition and the promise of a brighter future or ultimate serenity of heart? Where do I draw the line between failure and self-respect?

I know that if I turned this question to any of my friends or my family, the answer will be obvious. No one would suggest I keep working in a place that makes me so deeply dissatisfied and brings me down whenever I enter those doors in a positive mood. Yet, I can’t help thinking that people who love you will always put you first, whereas I know that knowing I will eventually reach my goal is motivation enough to push a little bit more and make it through. Who is right in this situation and how do we define a middle ground between the two?

As I nag on these thoughts, I am trying my best to cope with this absolute depression, deepened by the fact that I have a shift at the same place tomorrow morning. So I ask you, if anyone out there is reading, either from personal experience or simple empathy: which is the path towards achievement? Are our ambitions worth suffering for a short while? Or should we let it go and find other ways to reach our goal, or perhaps redefine it?

 

I hope you’re all having a lovely week (hopefully better than mine),

Elena

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