We All Dream
I’ve been contemplating the idea of dreams lately. They are a natural process, supposedly happening every night, but aren’t completely understood. Why are they so hard to remember? Some dreams make their way into our daily life and turn into goals and passions. Why are some of these dreams more accepted than others by society? What makes one person’s dreams and aspirations acceptable while others are mocked, criticized, and ridiculed?
Inspiration can come from the strangest of places
These thoughts and questions came while I was reading a Stephan King book recently. It was the third book in the Mr. Mercedes trilogy called, “End of Watch”. At its heart, the trilogy is a detective thriller with King’s usual twists and turns to keep you on your toes. King is a master of building a climax and these books are more proof of the fact. Great reads.
There was a statement in the book about how our oldest memories, the earliest ones from childhood, are the last to go. There’s been a lot of research on memories from childhood. Some of it is geared towards why we can’t remember anything until we are around three or four, known as “infantile amnesia“. There’s also really interesting research about what we do remember about ourselves vs. what we forget, as well as the benefit of forgetting, found here.
All of this made me think about my earliest memories, which made me think about my earliest dreams. When we’re young, we are told we can be anything we want. At what age does this change to, “You can be anything you want…but it has to be reasonable.”?
If our oldest memories are the last to be forgotten, why are our childhood dreams the first to be deferred?
I was introduced to the idea of a Dream Deferred by my high school literature teacher after I poorly analyzed a Saul Williams poem for a class project. It was one of the first positive failures I can remember. I learned so much more from her gutting my analysis than I did working on the project. For Langston Hughes and African American people of his time, the dream that was deferred was the American Dream. The poem is direct, vivid and very intentional.
I think you can apply his poem to reference any and every dream. If we look at dreams as a part of ourselves, forgetting or refusing to nurture them can lead to decay. Like with any part of our body, decay and rot then spread to all parts connected to the source. They shrivel and change until you can’t recognize them anymore. They lose their original power and meaning.
Let’s take a look at that. If we don’t nurture our dreams or the concept of being comfortable dreaming, then the ideas decay and rot. This spreads to the way we view our life. It spreads to how we view life’s possibilities. If we don’t know how to dream, we wonder through life feeling like we’re missing something. Without dreams, passions suffer. Without passions, what drives us?
Dreams Lead to Goals
I’ve talked about this concept before in my post, “Let’s Talk About Disconnecting.“. I fully believe we need to dream but I don’t think we need to have dreams that fit in a perfect box. There will always be people who are first to do something before it’s normal. If you have a dream, nourish it. Our dreams lead to our goals. They drive us to think bigger than ourselves. Dreams, with nourishment, turn into goals that are driven by passion.
The bigger you dream the more others will say it can’t be done. Fuck ’em. As my buddy Ben would say, “Prove it”. Persistence is the most common difference between people with good ideas and people who succeed. There will be things that get in the way. Good! If it were easy, would it be worth it? Would it be fulfilling?
There is No “Right Way”?
There are many ways to accomplish a dream. Not all of them are great but none of them are wrong. As long as you are moving forward, the path you choose to get there doesn’t really matter. Make mistakes and learn from them. Then, do better.
Children Have the Right Idea
To the kid in the cape, claiming to be a dragon warrior, you’re doing it right. Kids don’t have any limits to their imagination until our society breaks them.
Don’t you think you should be a little more realistic?
These phrases are a cancer for a dream. If you’re hearing them from others, try to ignore them. If you’re hearing them from yourself, it’s because we have been taught to think this way. If I want to do something and I’m told I can’t do it, I need to know why. And if the answer is something along the lines of, “just because” then I really can’t accept it. I need real reasons to abandon my goals and you should, too.
Life doesn’t have to be as serious as people try to make it. We don’t have to be either to fulfill our dreams. Even if your dream could change the world, have some fun with it. Our journey will have times where we are forced to be serious. There will be times we have no option but to be sad. As much as we can, we should use our inner child to guide us. Be silly, be curious, be creative.
When dreams are deferred, we lose some of the most human parts of ourselves. Dream freely and dream big, no matter what the others say.
A version of this post was previously published on GoFindYourHappy and is republished here with permission from author.
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