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When Do These Dreams End?

Written By: Lauren Howard

When do the dreams that I forgot to graduate high school end? 

Like, really. 

It’s usually some variation of being back in high school and thinking, “Didn’t I do this already?” There is always a class or two that I just didn’t go to for an entire semester that I'm scrambling to pass. 

I’m always fully embarrassed that I am entirely in my thirties and need to show up to an English lit course I started 20 years ago. 

There is scrambling and sheepishly walking into classrooms to waiting teachers who should be way more uncomfortable with a full grown-up joining their high school class. 

But yesterday's was different. It was about as prolific as a dream that features low-rise jeans could be. 

I was trying to put together an outfit to wear with a school friend who I haven’t seen or thought of easily in a decade. I was rifling through piles of clothes and finally found the shirt I wanted to wear. Once I got changed into cargo pants (seriously what?), the shirt that I was going to wear over my layered early 2000s tanks was gone. 

Like, gone, gone. 

We rifled through the piles in a panic until we were late for school. Yes, there were other shirts, but I wanted THAT shirt. It said something funny! 

Hilarious, I'm sure. 

After combing through the piles on repeat, we couldn't find it. I grabbed another one and then realized that we had missed the bell. 

At that point, dreamland-me normally would have panicked, somehow materialized at the school, and then gotten lost in hallways I didn’t remember because I had failed to show up. 

Instead, dreamland-me just said, “Well, I guess we’re playing hooky.”

We just shrugged and hung out. 

Why does that matter?

Last year was insanely hard in ways I didn’t expect, and it ended with the kind of heartbreak that only comes when you do the right thing that you said you would do and the other side doesn’t follow through. The recovery from it has been longer than I had hoped, and I’m still a little bruised from it. 

Since the beginning of the year, we’ve started rebuilding from those things, and while the stress is still there, it’s different. Rebuilding is scary. Starting from scratch is terrifying, especially when you have kids to feed.

There were moments of questioning and, well, fear. 

But we’re in control of this. We are growing our programs, not theirs. I’m scaling my vision, and I'm not waiting for anyone else to sign off on it. 

We’re not chasing anymore. We’re pursuing. 

These moments are all mine. I don’t spend a second thinking about transparency or someone else's follow through. 

I can figure out how to make more money. I can't easily get my mental health back when people who don't deserve it mine it for scrap. 

So dreamland-me took a pause and said, “Cool. This isn’t working. Let’s try again tomorrow.”

This path might be working. Thanks, cargo pants. 


Founder & CEO at elletwo


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