How do I deal with these people? I'm accused of being a "dreamer"

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    I need some advice here.

    Either these people are right or I need a way of dealing with them.

    I am 59 years old and very underemployed. I have an MA and I also volunteer my skills to websites at nonprofit groups that I am passionate about. I have been told I am a good writer and I have also been told that I am very intelligent. I also have both a BA and an MA as well as past experience in nonprofit groups as an admin assistant and contributor to the newsletter. I say this because it is part of what keeps me trying.

    Now, recently, a super depressed, pessimistic friend told me that his therapist (who I think does nothing to help him) told him not to listen to me because I am a “dreamer” and my big dreams will not go anywhere. He told him to accept his age and that he can only have a menial career at best. This man is in a program that takes care of his basic needs but does not really give a damn about his desire to have a life worth living. My friend also revealed to me that a mutual friend thinks exactly the same thing about me.

    I don’t see the point in giving up on your dreams because you think things like “there are just not any good jobs out there” or “you have to be young and have all kinds of luck to get the good jobs/careers. This is needless surrendering. And I would ad that it’s a package. I am trying to make more income so I can have a slightly more comfortable life and start dating again. I am trying to create the same kind of positive life that many people talk about going for on this website.

    But I am being maligned by people who think I should just give up and resign myself to menial, boring work and/or low pay and possibly even a poverty lifestyle in a crappy neighborhood. All this because “you’re too old” or “the economy doesn’t create jobs that align to your sense of purpose” and whenever I hear something that they have told my friend about the virtue of resignation, I want to scream and pull hair out of my head. I was just trying to give my friend a little hope and now I am a “dreamer” not to be listened to.

    Help me. Either I am a fool who persists long past what is reasonable in service of a finer life or I am running up against some kind of social negativity that I never encountered in my birth family that made me the dreamer I am. I have no way of dealing with this. I don’t know how to respond.


    Dear bill:
    You wrote “these people” in “either these people are right or I need a way of dealing with them.” But it is only that one “friend” of yours that has been telling you that his therapist and a mutual friend said this or that. It is only one person, that “friend.” You didn’t hear what in fact, if anything at all, his therapist said about you or what the mutual friend said, if anything at all.

    Maybe it is only the “friend” trying to tell you something he doesn’t want to take responsibility for saying it himself, therefore he assigned the message to others. Maybe he is annoyed with your optimism or threatened by it because he feels safer in his pessimism…?

    If your dream is to get a better job, a job you are good at that helps others and yourself, then it is a very good dream and being a dreamer is a good, good thing.

    Makes me think… what if reality is only your friend said what he said and the dream is that two other people said it as well? What if reality is this “friend” is not much of a friend… I don’t know. What is reality, what is a dream?




    When we have good dreams, it is not foolish to hold them dear. It reminds me of Marty Mcfly saying “what if they tell me I’m no good? What if they tell me I have no future?” The answer is easy, get up on the stage and play your heart out anyway. What do they know? Ya know?

    Consider them teachers, like bullies that are there to help you see just how strong you are. When we look around and see only shadow, there’s a good chance we just need to look down to see we’re a lighthouse. They’re a reminder to be realistic, or to not put your head up your ass. If your eyes are staying open, you’re doing good work, keep going. See a need, fill a need. Let the critics’ words float like dust behind you.

    If you have the strength, give them a hug. Otherwise, shake it off. “Not mine”, said the Buddha.

    With warmth,


    Hi bill,

    When a friend gives up on their dreams and even himself, it can be downright painful to see a cheerily optimistic pal “going for it”. It would be different if you succeeded in terms of fame/money (what the world views as “success”). Then it would be downright jealousy and he wouldn’t talk about you at all, even to his shrink! It’s kind of like, “I’m in the mud, and goddammit, you’re in the mud, even if you don’t believe it! And not only that, I’m going to make you stay there! Who do you think you are, Lotus Flower??”

    You know, I don’t hang around people who think so little of me. I would stay away from this friend for a while. And DON’T tell him your plans/dreams if you run into him. Keep your conversations to the present/mundane. Keep your goals away from the trolls, as they say. And if you do succeed in something and see him, don’t be surprised if he gets weirdly angry.

    Sorry you’re going through this!


    Rock Banana

    Their comments only tell you about the way they process reality.

    …How has that worked out for them?


    In a few years would you rather look back and know you went for your dreams (whether they worked out the way you were hoping or not), or that you believed people that never told you you had a chance, and ended up not trying at all?

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 10 months ago by Rock Banana.
    Dan Bukowski

    Hello Bill, I sometimes feel the same way. I am going to be 40 this month and have a BS in Sociology and an MBA and I feel stuck. I also was told that I had good thoughts and a great communicator. Why not start a blog? I recently have done this. It gives me something to work towards while continuing my work for my employer. I have only made peanuts at this point but I feel I am laying the foundation to build something great that many will gain benefit from. Keep your head up.


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