This title should give you pause. Should it not be something like “How to Make Your Dreams Come True”? or “See Your Dreams Fulfilled”? But then, how often do you see such titles? And does such thinking really ‘work’?
Some might disagree, those who are always reading self-help books yet never seem to help themselves. Meanwhile, it is the above that occurs most often, the aspiring individual who just gives up.
As a child I wanted to be many things; I wanted to be a minister, novelist, as well as a CEO of my own book company, an actor, musician, baseball pitcher, I wanted to draw and paint, and more than anything, I wanted to be a writer. I had so many dreams I couldn’t keep track of them.
Before I realized those dreams required at least two human lifetimes for fulfillment, I lost interest in standing behind pulpits, and was forbidden to play organized sports because I “didn’t deserve” to. I never applied myself to the piano or trombone and, while I’m good at drawing, it’s the kind of good that requires no practice, because I don‘t practice. Basically if I did practice daily with the same results, it wouldn’t be very good at all.
This isn’t to say that I can’t act, or that I would never consider being a CEO of a book company; it’s only that I could pass them up and it would make very little difference to me. However, what I could not do without is writing.
It’s my true calling and I’ve been doing it ever since I was four or five.
But over the following years, I observed that almost no one my age knew their life purpose, even at the time when dreams are supposed to form. Many never learn that purpose within an entire lifespan.
It was a possibility I was never able to grasp and I still can’t understand it. After all, how could anyone live with themselves if they didn’t know what they were supposed to do in life? How would they ever expect to be happy?
I also came to realize that, since I was not on the same side of the coin, most were unable, or unwilling, to understand me. I was viewed as being very imaginative, not in the positive way, but in the way people are generally written off with a chuckle.
I often watched as the few who did have dreams of their own gave them up for what they called “facing reality.” The most prominent example of someone in my mind throwing away their dream was, as it so often happens, someone I went to high school with. His name was Russell. We attended a small Christian school, and when I say small, I mean that I graduated with three other people, and that there were twenty-seven students, Kindergarten to Senior. Ya, I know.
You’re probably thinking that it’s the smallest of any small you ever heard. Anyway, Russell graduated two years before me.
He was the best basketball player I ever watched in person. At five feet ten inches tall, he could dunk. For him, thirty points was lackluster, and a triple double was ordinary. He was an incredible outside shooter as well as inside with plenty of half-court shots and buzzer-beaters. He had on many occasion made the most incredible lay-ups while triple-teamed. He was quick with his hands and fast on his feet and was known for amazing no-look passes. He was also an unselfish player. I never remember a game where he didn’t have at least a dozen assists. Not only was he good, we played better as individuals when he was on the court.
And its not just me saying that. Our refs worked for championship-caliber public high schools all the time and all of them agreed that he was the best high school player they had ever seen. It was his dream to play for MSU, and he could have been sixth man his freshman year. But he never went.
A couple months after graduation, he got his high school sweetheart pregnant and married her shortly afterward. He chose what he saw as the guaranteed path working for his uncle. With a wife and child, it would have been difficult to attend college and play basketball. No one could blame him for being a responsible adult, but he never he never considered the possibility of doing both; he too called it “facing reality”. Even then he could have played on organized professional teams as well, making fifty grand a season for a few years, and went to NBA tryout camps. Instead, he said he wasn’t good enough.
The last I knew, he still played in leagues every weekend. He has a second child now and the family seems to be relatively happy. I only wonder if he’s fulfilled. Or does he regret? Most people don’t realize they make their own reality, that something is often impossible because they say it is.
And then I can think of an example of someone who never had a dream, someone I used to work with. I haven’t seen her in quite some time. Her name was Katie and she was an assistant manager for Wal-Mart. She was an attractive blonde, but that wasn’t the only reason everybody liked her. She was very personable and liked talking to people. She could have done anything with her life.
We discussed my dreams often enough, but she never had any. She said she never knew what she wanted to do but that she didn’t want to be a manager at Wal-Mart all of her life, working sixty to eighty hours a week. It seemed to me she would be stuck there doing it until she discovered her own passion, if she ever will.
Personally, I think I would rather be Katie than Russell in this sense. It’s easier not knowing your purpose than to know it and give it up; you can live with yourself with less guilt. Either way, without fulfilling a dream of your own, you will work to fulfill the dream of another, whether it’s the owner of a hardware store or Sam Walton himself, it doesn’t matter.
Certainly people are necessary for all manner of things in life, but if you aren’t fulfilled, you should still be searching. What are your joys? What services can you perform for others that give you peace, that fulfill you? And it doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, rich or poor. You can do anything. So why would you wish to never dream? Or worse, why would you wish to give them up?
Benjamin Franklin said, “Many people die at twenty-five and aren’t buried until they are seventy-five.” Solomon said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
Living a life of dreams cast away is a futile, wasted life. It is death. You can throw your dreams away, but why would you want to try?
Read more about the author: Execution of Swift Vengeance
It will look like this: How to Throw Your Dreams Away