Who Are You to [Insert Dream Here]?

This is my fifth post for the Your Turn Challenge.

Status of my goals:

  • Marathon: On track. I finished week 2 of the Couch to 5K program today.
  • Two Square Yards of Earth: Behind Schedule. No change since yesterday.
  • 100 Posts: Behind Schedule. This is my seventh post this year, of eight planned by the end of this week.

It’s irresponsible to dream.

That’s what most of us tell ourselves, what the world tells us by the time we’re twelve years old or so. We hide it behind constructive language, most of the time, but the message is the same:

You need to be realistic.
That’s great, but what’s your fallback plan?
How are you going to support a family with that?

Quit dreaming and get to work.
Nobody makes any money doing that.

And here’s the brutal truth: most of the time, we’re right. Most dreams go precisely nowhere, and most of those that go somewhere don’t go nearly as far as the dreamer hopes. And finally, we decide the dream isn’t worth it anymore. We give up our silly dreams and get to work.

But then, there are the dreams that exceed even the dreamer’s wildest expectations. The dreams that make us want to dream again.

And when we find out how many of those dreamers told themselves the same things we told ourselves, heard the same “constructive” messages from those close to them, we start to wonder whether our dreams are so impractical after all. And we start dreaming again. And we hear the same messages again.

And we either give up again, or we don’t. If we don’t, the odds are still against us.

Here’s the deal: you are probably not the best at the thing you dream about. With seven billion people in the world, you’re probably not the tenth best. Or the hundredth.

But it’s a good bet you’ll be better at the thing you dream about than you will at some job you took because you needed a paycheck, where you hate the work and the boss treats you like crap because he hates himself (because he didn’t go after his dream, either). It’s a good bet you’ll accomplish more, serve more people better, doing work you love than doing something just because it was constructive.

And if you work really hard, and it turns out you’re really good, and people find out, and you can give them what they want before they go somewhere else, and you get just a little bit lucky…you just might become one of those dreamers who inspires us all to start dreaming again.

Who are you to dream your dream? You’re the only one who can.

That seems like reason enough, to me.

I've been a soldier, a dreamer, a working stiff, a leader. A husband, father, example (good and otherwise), and now a survivor. I write about courage, because courage is what enables us to accomplish the impossible. If you draw breath, I love you. If you love in whatever way seems best to you and want others to love in whatever way seems best to them, I am your ally. If you believe someone is less than you because they do not love the way you do, I oppose you. If you see someone as a threat to be abused or destroyed merely because they do not look like you, or love like you, or worship like you, I am your enemy. I am a joyful and courageous man. And I stand with you who love.