"If a man doesn't dream, what's the point" - Dad
If you have people around you right now, take a look at some of their faces. If you are alone, try to remember some of the faces you've seen recently. Ask yourself: do these people look like they are chasing their dream? Or do they look like they've given up on it and "got real"?
I do this myself from time to time. It's a pretty depressing exercise, quite frankly. The faces I see are not faces that tell me that these folks are chasing or living their dream. It looks like somewhere along the way they got beaten up so much, got so tired, or were finally convinced that their dream was indeed silly, that they dropped it and settled for what was within reach. They stuck to what felt real and stopped the chase.
Dreams can be powerful. They inspire us, mostly because they are so tied up with our own values and sense of self. They can symbolized self development, freedom, goodwill, warmth, or joy. We don't dream something that is trivial. Dreams are not pie-in-the-sky stuff, they are vital to living all-in.
My own dreams are about being the best I can be for all of my loved ones, and making a positive impact on the world around me. The details of these have shifted around over the years, but the main arc has never changed. These dreams are my soul sketching a picture of what's important to me. As I keep living another day, It keeps refining the drafts, and adding some color here and there.
Considering how powerful dreams are, it says a lot that so many of us will give up on them. It probably won't have anything to do with our level of commitment or passion, just the fact that chasing important stuff is hard and it can wear anybody down. It also doesn't help when people around you say they are dumb, or impossible, or do anything but support you and try to understand your aspirations.
My dad and I are definitely related. If you put us side by side you are essentially looking at the same physical person plus or minus 45 years (we even have tiny moles in the same spots around our lips). We both are also dreamers. He is about to turn 75, and to this day he does not stop thinking of "What ifs" and getting excited over them. What if we started a food truck? What if we opened an online store? What if we invested in land in IL? He lives off of dreams like I live off of chips and hummus.
That is one of the many ways I want to be like my dad. I want to chase my dreams into my later years, with little regard over whether I am being sensible or not. I, of course, want to achieve my dreams, but what's more important is the mindset I want to have hardwired into my brain by then. I don't ever want to feel like I should stop dreaming because I need to start "getting real." Once you stop dreaming you start limiting yourself, and from there your window of life's possibilities keeps getting smaller and smaller.
I constantly remember those somber faces so I remind myself of what not to be. I never want someone else to look at my face and think, "I think he gave up." Never. I want to be like my dad, the dreamer.
(Happy birthday, dad)