On my sixteenth birthday, I pulled out a pen and the cleanest piece of paper I could find and I penned a bulleted list titled, “Things to Accomplish by 18”. On my eighteenth birthday, during my first semester of college, I slid my iPhone 4 out of my pocket and made yet another list, “Things to Accomplish by 21”.
Let’s just say I’ve always been a fan of lists.
I consider myself a big dreamer. I dream because it’s simple, because it exists in my subconscious — ever presently allowing me to remove myself from current reality and escalate to my definition of paradise. I remember being young and sitting under my kitchen dining table with my brothers and planning out our lives. “When I grow up…,” I said as I drifted into the uncharted depths of my imagination. My dreams were vivid, they were colorful, they were the last page of a fairy tale.
We all dream, yet we are all afraid to dream. We’re afraid of what it requires of us and we hide away our secret hopes in coves of our minds. We rationalize why not’s, give reasons and excuses, and evaluate our current situation only to decide it’s not the appropriate time to pursue the very things we so greatly desire. “Perhaps when I get this amount of money,” we say, or “As soon as I graduate,” or this or that. We limit our dreams, rid them of possibility, and push them into a future tense of complacency. What we fail to recognize is that there is no better time than the present.
See, we individually are the masters of our own destinies. No one else can make our dreams substantive but ourselves. We can continue to live traditionally, follow the status quo and simply wait for life to guide us wherever it may lead — this is what most do and most of you reading this will. Or we can take the reigns of our own lives and make those dreams a reality. Dreary yet true, at the end of the day, what will meet each and every one of us is death. Neither you nor I can avoid it. Yet, some will have their dreams buried with them, and for others their dreams will be the very thing that keeps them living… even after they’ve passed. I prefer the latter.
My dreams, my fairy tales, my happily ever afters. Yet for some reason, I can only ever read the end of that fairy tale — everything that may have been in the pages before are unknown, unascertained. Like having a destination, but no map. For this reason, it is easy to get lost in our dreams. It is this very feeling of aimlessness that casts dreams as an overbearing and overwhelming weight on our shoulders. It is usually the reason we don’t pursue that road to our own paradise. This is why I make lists. Each birthday that I penned those lists along with each passing year that I wrote those resolutions, I was creating for myself a roadmap for my dreams — some could call them goals.
I once heard someone wiser than I say that goals are dreams with a deadline. I couldn’t have said that better myself. They can be measured, quantified, checked off. As a visual, get out a blank sheet of paper. On the left side is yourself, now. Let the right consist of future self, your vision, your dream. In between (as you may have guessed) should contain your plan, your guide, your goals, the method to your madness. The journey to the right side of that sheet begins today, because there will never be that “better time”. If not now, then when?
I dream because that is all I have. It’s all I have to hold on to and reassure me in my times of despair. These dreams of mine, they’re too vivid to bury. They can’t be contained when God has blessed me with all the resources to attain them. So, I’m writing this because I want to inspire someone to remove those dreams from the depths of their mind, to grab hold of their destiny and relentlessly pursue it. I want to inspire someone to not wait for tomorrow or for ‘then’.
Let your dreams overwhelm you, let them break you and build you back up, let them form those tears in your eyes, and allow those same tears to turn into joy. Let your dreams consume you, let them change you, let them change the world. Pursue them, chase them. If not now, then when?
Let your dreams consume you, let them change you, let them change the world.