As someone still trying to cope in the adult world, I have realized like many of my fellow patriots in resume wielding arms that our dreams do not get seen to overnight. They require work and sacrifice, and many times consideration of selling ones soul to the economic gods just to get a decent paying job. Never mind bills, weddings, attempts at purchasing those big life things that we actually need, like cars, or figuring out which is the best to go with. We are given the keys to our hearts, told to manage them and use our “good sense” to handle decisions that we never dreamed existed – or pretended to have been trained for. Amongst all this angst our dreams sit, slowly dying in their sick beds as the demons of the real world infect them, draining them of life slowly day by day. In the worries and cares of daily living we forget that these dreams have a heartbeat, a pulse, and that at one point we gave them our attention. We were their best caregiver, and under our supervision they thrived.

I realized for some time now I am been planning a funeral for my dreams. I deemed it practical, as an adult, that the “childish dreams” I had of being a writer, a historian, or anything other than a mindless drone wouldn’t pay the bills – and so I went to push them off the cliff. I picked the music (it sounded similar to what they play in my office all day), the flowers (the crushed weeds in the yard that so desperately needed mowing), and the eulogy (the to do list of mine that when unfurled could reach from one end of my laundry pile to the other.) I planned this funeral subconsciously, my brain relaying messages back and forth across the ward where my little dreams sat, watching with haunted eyes as the plans were made. I condoned it thinking, “If I were going to have done anything about these dreams it would have been done by now. It’s time to move on.”

I attended a birthday party this afternoon, and a woman there heard of my time at my alma mater and asked what I studied. I expressed that I had received degrees in History and Communication, and she mentioned that she could hear the passion in my voice for the subjects. It had been some time since I had heard those words in reference to me: Passion. Dream. Drive. Longing. “How long had it been since I thought those things, or had them reflected in my daily life?”

My point is this: Just because you have not yet reached your dreams, do NOT murder them. Do not give up on them. Do not stop pursuing them. Do not let your dreams die because they have not grown swiftly, risen up from their beds, and set out into the world an established thing. As young people I feel that we are taught to think that the minute we do not have the object of our desire gained – by hard work or by gift, that it then must not be in the cards for us. Perseverance is a thing of beauty my friends, a thing until now I have not gazed upon in quite a while in regards to my dreams. Being grown does not mean putting to death those hopes that we cherish, it rather begins the process of building them. It will take time, effort, heartache, and a lot of work doing the thing you may not like most in order to get to the thing you do. You have not failed, young person. No your not president, nor have you bought the mansion on the hill. You’re the pizza guy with the sauce covered shirt that recites poetry at night to get practice in pronunciation for public speaking. The waitress who studies law on her 15 minute breaks that almost never happen. The mother who works three jobs while blogging at night in hopes that maybe one day she can quit one of them. Your dreams have value. You will get there, and when you do, drop me a line, because I can’t wait to celebrate it with you.

A fellow blogger once gave a talk that I attended. Author of The Baddest Mother Ever, she gave practical advice for those about to graduate from college and begin their dreams in the the wild “real world” we had heard so much about. To this day I have never forgotten her advice, and now I would like to pass it on to you. To gain your dreams, there is only one thing you must do: Do the next right thing. Simple enough, right? Opportunity is the gift that keeps on giving. When it is presented, one must jump at the chance even if it is dirty and looks a lot like work. Even if that opportunity seems to be going in the polar opposite direction of where you want to end up, take it. Take it and run with it. Always keep your eye on the ultimate prize, but understand that the path there will not be straight. Fear not, and push ahead. Hard, with a sledge hammer if you have to.

In conclusion, I’m no expert. If you think I am then you may want to get your head examined. But I do know this:

  • Don’t murder your dreams, nurture them. They are waiting for you, and would like you to hurry up please.
  • I see you, right now, sweaty on your lunch break praying something will divert your attention from the dismal normal that is your “right now.” Hang in there kid, I swear it’s going to get better – for both of us. Keep pushing.
  • Do the next right thing. Opportunity is a finicky thing, but always worth the extra effort… and sweat.

And finally, don’t plan a funeral; plan a birthday for your dreams. Presents of the future goals that will come to pass, a cake celebrating the point you are at right now at this moment (because it is worth celebrating), and streamers because well heck, every good party deserves them. Throw one and then plan many more. Your dreams are going to have long and excellent lives worth celebrating.