In the last several years, I’ve had a lot of conversations about dreams. I’m not talking about the ones that occur when you’re asleep. I’m referring to your “hopes and dreams” and your “aspirations and goals”. I’ve discovered that this can be a really weighted topic for some people.
When we were children, we dreamt of being firemen, astronauts or ballerinas. I still remember wanting to be a commercial airline pilot when I was in junior high. Truthfully, I didn’t really care if I flew planes. It just seemed like a great way to see the world.
Dreams are amazing things. They give us something to live for, something to strive for and something to share with others. They push us to go beyond our limits and do things we never thought we could. But dreams have a dark side too.
Dreams can become blinders if we’re not careful. If I dream of having a particular type of person as a partner in life but someone who doesn’t fit the bill comes along, I might be inclined to dismiss them and wait for “the one”. Ooooh, The One. Who decides who this mysterious “one” is, by the way? You? God (if that’s what you believe in)? The Universe?
How about our careers and accomplishments? If I can never be satisfied with anything less than the dream of being (fill in your dream), then will I spend my life in misery if I never achieve that? Really?!?
Dreams play an important role in our lives but when they begin to overshadow our lives, it’s time to take a step back and look at what’s really going on.
Hindsight is 20-20 and let me tell you what I’ve learned – dreams don’t necessarily have to be fulfilled in order for them to have served their purpose. What I’m trying to say is very much like the Serenity Prayer so let me phrase it like this:
God grant me the serenity to accept the dreams that will go unfulfilled; the courage to continue to pursue the ones that I truly need to; and the wisdom to know the difference.
The wisdom comes only when you have followed the directive, “Know Thy Self”. I’ve been pursuing a dream that originated when I was ten years old. I wanted to write after penning a very short story back in the fourth grade. Later, when I studied film in college, that dream shifted into wanting to be a screenwriter. I ended up writing a screenplay that was inspired by that exact same story my 10-year-old self wrote.
There are many people pulling for me to be a screenwriter, to fulfill the dream I shared with them. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder, is it because they believe I have talent that shouldn’t be wasted or is it because they don’t want to see me left unfulfilled if I stop pursuing this endeavor. Either way, I have something to say to them: I haven’t given up the dream. The dream has let go of me.
I still have story ideas and I will continue to write in many forms (screenplays included) but there’s no fire in it any longer. That dream got me here and it has served its purpose. I still love writing, this blog attests to that, and I still love movies. But there’s no drive to do anything about it. I don’t feel like I’m giving anything up or failing in any way. Writing these words completes that dream. I am at peace.
That peace comes from knowing that I will not be left unfulfilled. In fact, I actually feel freer to write now that the dream has died. There’s no “have to” anymore. There’s no endgame, no finish line. When I have something to say, I put words on paper. When I have nothing to say, I remain silent.
I truly appreciate all of the people who have supported me over the years, even the ones that pissed me off in the process (perhaps especially those ones). I love you even if you don’t accept or understand my position on this matter.
After much spiritual questing, I gave up the reins on my life and I go where and do what feels indicated or appropriate. I belong to life; it doesn’t belong to me.
I acknowledge that to most it will look like I’m being lazy or apathetic. Those are traits I am inclined to possess. I probably won’t have anything to say that will truly satisfy you. To you, I’m quitting, giving up and rationalizing. Maybe I am, but this just feels right. And the only person who knows what’s right for me is me.
I look at dreams differently now than I did when I was young. I dream differently than I did then too. Dreaming makes the world go around, literally. That’s why they matter and that’s why we should never stop dreaming.