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I’ve never been comfortable with being the bearer of bad news, but when it comes to providing stability for my children, I will be just that whenever necessary. Telling my children’s father, and soon-to-be-husband to kind of, sort of put his dreams on hold wasn’t easy, but once his reality began to feel like the pink elephant in the room, I knew what I had to do. It felt like something that needed to be said, a wake-up call of sorts. But how do you really know when the time to let a “dream” rest on the backburner or expire has come?

When we first met, my partner had massive hoop dreams. I had stars in my eyes too, but they were quickly replaced by anxiety-inducing daydreams of due dates for all of the increasing number of bills to be paid. Before we gave birth to our first bundle of joy, I imagined myself sitting courtside at one of his games, wearing Louboutins, bumping elbows with Hollywood’s elite. My current reality is more like sitting on the couch, folding heaps of laundry, sporting un-combed hair and unmanicured bare feet—no Louboutins necessary.

I can’t control my annoyance when I hear people say “Follow your dreams, it’s never too late.” Some people take that literally and fail to take into account their specific personal circumstances, which might prevent them from dream chasing. In the real world, you can’t pay rent or put food on a plate for a hungry child with an, ‘IOU in 10 years after I fulfill my dream.’ Sometimes, it’s too late to follow your dreams, but it is never too late to make the best out of your reality.

When I asked my children’s father to put his aspiration to play ball on hold and focus on bringing in more income for our growing family, the end result was exactly what you’d expect: He felt betrayed and I felt terrible. How dare I tell a person that I care about to abandon their lifelong dream? Of course, telling someone to give up on things that they’ve always wanted but aren’t getting any closer to obtaining can come off unsupportive, but what I intended to do by telling him how I felt was the complete opposite.

Though my writing dreams may not be as gargantuan as signing a contract with the NBA, becoming a professional writer can be just as arduous. The difference between the two is flexibility. See, I can still maintain a decent living and pursue other means of income while dream hustling on the side. I can write and go to school, write and go to work, write and continue to create a stable environment for my children.

Some dreams do not provide the dreamer that luxury. Some dreams are all or nothing and that is fine. It was clear that basketball, though he had a passion for the game, was more about the lifestyle than it was the actual job. Basketball, like some other dreams, including becoming a rapper, actress, writer, fashion designer and so many others, can become more about the glitz and glamour that come with the profession than the profession alone. His dream chasing seemed more to be about the shine, money and fitting in with his group of professional athlete friends. When it begins to resemble any of the aforementioned, to me, it isn’t dream chasing as much as it’s ego trippin’.

However, telling my spouse that he needed to let go of his hoop dreams was the best thing I could have ever done for the both of us. He was no longer distracted by the massive task to secure a contract, which made it easier for him to pursue more achievable endeavors that have the potential to provide us with an equally fabulous lifestyle (there is power and money in chasing academic titles) and most importantly, help him live up to his potential and other talents. It’s never too late to chase dreams, but it’s never too early to realize what other lucrative (and realistic) gifts you have to offer the world.

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