No, this is not a belated post lauding Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., although his accomplishments certain deserve recognition and celebration. This post is about me, you, and everyone else.

Each of us has a dream. Most of us entertain multiple dreams at the same time.

When I was young, I dreamed of being a veterinarian. I loved animals. I still love animals. However, I learned I was squeamish and those veterinary dreams faded. If you can’t handle blood, then a career as a veterinarian is doomed.

As I got older, I dreamed of working in the publishing industry. I wanted to work for a publishing company as an editor helping to bring wonderful stories to the world. Unfortunately, that dream required physical relocation to New York or California where the publishing companies were located. Relocation wasn’t feasible, as I’d gotten married two weeks after graduating college and my new husband was the primary wage earner in our new family. Since the internet wasn’t a thing yet, remote work wasn’t a possibility. Another dream was set aside.

I found work in retail sales. I hated it. I interviewed for jobs at a local newspaper, but to no avail. Later I was hired to work in the marketing department of an architectural and engineering firm. I thought my career had finally begun. At least I was earning more than state minimum wage which in 1990 was $2.50 per hour.

Not long after that I learned that my job as a professional in marketing was not viewed as professional, but clerical. To the principals of the firm, I was a mere secretary. I continued perusing the classified ads for job listings and doing my best to keep an ear and eye out for opportunities. I managed to get a few interviews, but received no offers.

I wanted to write, but writing stories was viewed as frivolous, a cute hobby, not something serious because, without a steady paycheck, it didn’t put food on the table. I ceased writing stories for about 20 years; there was more important work to be done, work that addressed the pragmatic necessities of life. I had another dream, this one equine-related. I dreamed of showing and breeding my own stallion.

Years later I got a new job as an executive secretary. I wasn’t happy there, either, but I did what was necessary to help pay the bills. The dream of showing and breeding horses didn’t pan out: it was too expensive. With two children and a small farm, we had lots of bills to pay. I didn’t write. I also entertained a new dream, a new goal: a master’s degree. That dream at least had the virtue of being somewhat practical in that it was expected to propel me into a better job with a higher salary.

I left that job and was hired by an association management firm. Nobody really understood what I did there, but it involved a weird mix of tasks one might now expect from a virtual executive assistants: everything from taking meeting minutes to organizing conferences to producing newsletters, magazines, and manuals. During this phase, I published Rowan, the first branch (aka book) in my Tree of Life series.

I never did earn that master’s degree, another dream abandoned to the forces of pragmatism.

During those long years in association management, I resumed writing and published a few more books. That first year of publication I earned $150 in royalties—enough to be encouraging, certainly not enough to embark upon a career as a full-time author. But the dream that I could earn money with what I’d always been taught was a frivolous hobby was revived.

I lost that job in November 2015, but dreaded the idea of going back into the corporate world. I decided I had valuable skills built and refined over the past 25 years that I could “take on the road” as a freelance professional. I could build a new, sustainable career writing and editing content and designing documents for clients while writing my own stories, too. The dream ignited and I dove right into the flames.

As of today, I have published over 30 books and have ghostwritten several more.

I had a dream and that dream evolved into something I hadn’t envisioned all those decades ago. I now work in the publishing industry as my own publisher and in providing publishing assistance to clients. It’s fulfilling work.

Our dreams evolve. They change. Some of them die, and perhaps we develop new dreams to replace them. Sometimes our dreams shrink to be come feasible, and sometimes they grow and expand beyond our original goals.

But have I achieved my dream? One might think so. Have I fulfilled my dream? No. My dream has changed, and I’m still working to make it happen.

What’s your dream?