That’s what my dad said. But I realized my dreams’ importance after quite some time. Now I know that to realize aspirations, patience, and sacrifice are key. I wish you, too, could realize your goals for real.
I used to hang out with the wrong kind of teenagers. You know, they were the ones you would see at the back of a building, bullying someone.
That part of my journey started during middle school. I was tired of being on the receiving end of bullying, so I decided to join the bullies. I did not account for the fact that I had to become one of them if I did not want to get kicked out of the group. That was it for me back then. I had no big, incredible ideals, didn’t have a positive perspective, and didn’t make positive goals.
Making life dreams come true
In my earlier life, I began drinking at the age of 15. I initially tried to refuse because no one drank alcoholic beverages in the family, and I did not want to get caught by my mom. However, they said that they wouldn’t talk to me again if I said no. They wanted me to make life dreams come true.
I hated the taste of alcohol every time, but I kept drinking when they told me to keep drinking. It took me a while to recognize that what we had doesn’t represent a successful relationship between friends. My life was haywire, and I felt that nothing good was going to come true with my dreams.
So when did I realize I had to make my dreams come true?
The turning point in my life happened on my 18th birthday. My friends called me to say that they had a surprise for me. Of course, I was excited, so I went to the mall as instructed. When I arrived, they told me to pick three items that I wanted, and they would get them as my presents. I chose a bag, a belt, and a pair of pants.
But when we were on our way to the cashier, they veered to the left and went straight to the exit — with the unpaid items. My friends got apprehended at once. I thought I was already saved, but then one of them pointed at me. Another pair of guards appeared behind me and directed me to their office. I thought, “What a life! Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that to happen!”
Even if I did not plan that shoplifting, I was still an accessory to the crime, and I was so guilty about it. Besides, I felt the need to get out of the group before they could ruin my life and my dreams. My family would undoubtedly know about my wrongdoings anyway.
When the police came and informed us that the mall administration wanted to press charges and be prosecuted as adults, I pled guilty. This was a part of my life when nothing was going my way, not even my dreams were visible. Mine were like other’s life dreams which were most definitely not going to come true.
I was already spacing out as I assumed the Judge was about the adjourn the hearing when I heard my mom gasp and cry loudly behind Me. Then, my lawyer grasped my hand to congratulate me, increasing my confusion.
“What’s happening?” I asked.
The lawyer smiled at me. “The Judge practically wants to give you a second shot in life, perhaps to make your life dreams come true. Instead of giving you jail time, you only need to do community service and promise to attend counseling sessions.”
The first thing I did was work with the counselor that the law enforcement provided. I had no idea what it was initially, but the mental health professional allowed me to see that I got sucked into that dark side of life due to my insecurities. He helped me work through as many of them as possible and let the judge know in the end that I was already good to go. I was ready to fulfill my life dreams, to make them all come true.
Since my parents were still upset about the pain and humiliation I caused them, they refused to pay for my college tuition. I understood them, so I asked the counselor if I could do any work at his office. From being a part-time janitor, I became his part-time assistant for two years.
When I had the chance to go to college, I decided to study psychology. It felt so right to do that; it was a dream that I never knew I had.
12 Years Later
I found myself standing in front of the same Judge who gave me a life-changing verdict 12 years ago. This time, though, I was already a 30-year-old man with a Ph.D. in psychology and a certification in counseling. More importantly, I came as a friend, not as a defendant.
I saw how the Judge’s eyes widened when he recognized me. Then, his surprised look turned into something that resembled pride and admiration, like my success had a shared meaning between us.
“Sorry it took so long before I could fulfill my promise, sir,” I said, grinning.
“No, you are just right on time,” the Judge replied. “What are you doing with your life now?”
“Well, I just passed my licensure exams. I’m a licensed psychologist and certified counselor now. To thank you for all you did for me, I’d love to offer my services to juvenile defendants.”
The Judge shook my hand firmly. “Say no more, child. You’re hired!” he announced.
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