We are taught to reach for the stars when it comes to the hopes we have for life. Throw in the millenial dilemma of instagram and we want to be good at everything, travel everywhere and buy only the best forever because those are the markings of ‘a successful life’. I still remember opening my letter from Oxford University, informing me they would not be inviting to join them as a student. It was the first blow of many to come. I was shocked, convinced I had received the wrong letter but ultimately, it melted my confidence down to a puddle. ‘I won’t accomplish anything in life now that Oxford doesn’t want me!’ I remember crying to my Mom. But here’s the thing, we don’t get everything we want in life, no matter how much we want it. As we mature, life violently teaches us this ; it throws our confidence time and time again until we gain the experience required to be tougher. On the brink of 30, I’ve felt worthless countless time, doubted myself when a dream, big or small was dashed. But here’s what I’ve really learnt as I’ve aged, dreaming too big is immature and can only lead to dissatisfaction. With time, I’ve watched my dreams narrow, they are no longer flimsy but defined, striking the right balance of ambitious and realistic. It wasn’t long ago I believed I’d be married with at least one child by 29, for a long time that was an enormous dream of mine. But the professional path I had planned couldn’t possibly correspond with a family, so I put one on hold. It could very well happen that I never have a family and I’ve made peace with that possibility. The same goes for a relationship, I’d like a boyfriend but the kind of man I want is hard to find, however I’m working around the clock and there simply isn’t the time right now to go and find him. And often my professional fears surface when I consider where all of work hails from; London and Paris, living in either would see me making far more money however my health is my top importance. I prefer the sun and slower, more affordable life over here in Spain. So, I made my choices, I don’t have everything I want but I’m happy with what I’ve prioritized. Because regardless of what you see on instagram, you absolutely cannot have it all. You have to choose. Hovering, hesitating and hoping to achieve everything will eventually make you very unhappy. We are raised to believe we deserve everything we want but no one gets that deal in life. No one. And as for dreams, sit down and seriously consider yours, but always prioritize your happiness. Dreams are there to create a better, happier life. Not a private jet or a sponsored trip around the world. Real dreams are how and where and with who you’ll spend your typical Monday, not the once off experiences all over your social channels. I truly worry social media is horribly distorting our view of what a good life is but also, it’s swelling our dreams to the point of them bursting entirely. Instagram especially demeans our own lives – more times than I’d like to admit, I’ve suddenly felt despondent because here online are all these women at fancy restaurants, shopping at Dior, jetsetting to Bali; meanwhile I’m eating corn flakes on the kitchen floor, worrying about paying my phone bill. However, what they have doesn’t demean my own accomplishments. So let me say this, don’t allow the internet to belittle your own life or goals, be sure to prevent the internet too from inflating your dreams unrealistically. Both will make you sad and life is too short to be sad, in fact life is too short for most things, including wishing time away on a million impossible dreams. So choose carefully and then, go and get it. Better to be full of hope for a few dreams than lacklusterly clutching at too many.