Watching The Voice or American Idol or You Think You Can Dance, the young singing and dancing contestants all say the same thing to the judges: “This is my dream. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t do this.” Well, here’s a reality check: not everyone gets to follow their dreams because sometimes life gets in the way and circumstances change and maybe the dream is not something you have the talent or skills or resources to pursue no matter what you believe. We’re not knocking dreams because they encourage us to take risks and nothing happens without risk, but there are no guarantees and that’s the point.
There are times when we think we’re on the right track but we hit a wall and figure out we have to be practical and responsible. Yes, we can be enthusiastic, hard working, and tenacious and have jumped through the proper hoops, but sometimes our support system has disintegrated just when we need it the most.We’ve run out of money. Our kid gets sick. Our marriage is disintegrating. We fall in love and everything changes or we’re actually living someone else’s dream—perhaps a parent’s—or any number of diversions on the road to where we thought we were going. And sometimes we fool ourselves into believing that our fifteen minutes of fame is right around the corner.
Because we live in a society that encourages dreamers and rewards winners all others need not apply. Go For It. Just Do It. Be Bold. We’re bombarded with TV shows that feature just plain folks like us who somehow climb to the top and, yes, you can too! Ok, as we said earlier we believe in dreams because they inspire us to be creative, to reach for something different and to live with hope. Yes, there are some of us whose dreams and talents and vision are so strong that nothing can dissuade them and luck or karma or a chance meeting sets them on the trajectory path to success. That’s why every day, young people set out into the world seeking fame and fortune and “chase their dreams”, and older adults change careers or retire to “follow their dreams.” Most will not get there in the manner they thought, but chances are they will achieve an understanding about themselves and wisdom about the world that will make them more patient, realistic, tolerant, better parents, spouses, friends, family members and citizens. After all, dreams are the spun gold that embroiders the human spirit with possibility even if they don’t always work out.
(Image from sleep.lovetoknow.com)