“What is your dream, your aspiration, the thing that gives you guidance?”
We all have dreams — that is why we are at Gustavus, after all. For a select few, a dream is something that we carry with us from the beginning of our lives until its fruition.
However, for many, dreams are an indulgence in a field that is ultimately unobtainable. Sometimes they are called delusions. Sometimes they are downright awful. Rarely do those dreams last our entire life.
I asked my dad this weekend what he wanted to be when he was younger. He told me something that completely surprised me: a pastor or a mechanic.
Shocked, I asked him why he never pursued that dream. He replied, “If you make a living doing what you love and you are required to do that for the rest of your life, I don’t think there would be any enjoyment in it. Besides, there are so many people out there that want to work on cars that it’d be hard to find a job. You know how that is, right?”
That response only posed more questions for me, unfortunately. However, it also came with an understanding that I knew all too well by wanting to be a writer: what will I do if this dream fails?
At least you have a dream, and have made it past the first of many steps to making your dream true. Maybe your dream was once to write a children’s book, to become an architect who designs and oversees the constructions of your art. Maybe it is to be an artist who draws comics for a living, to preach your beliefs in a church, to show the world what your faith means to you, or to become a teacher who teaches what you love without homework.
Or maybe you want to write a book. That was my dream, and I did it. However, there are always complications that seemingly make that dream impossible – money, time, or the nagging concerns of others. There, you have now accomplished the second step: realizing your own limitations and the possible impediments you’ll have to face. All you have to do now is grow and learn until you can overcome those obstacles. If you find that impossible, it’s time for you to wake up to the reality of our world – a world built by dreams.
Imagine what it would be like if J.K. Rowling never wrote Harry Potter after having her manuscript denied 12 times, if Steven Spielburg had decided to never make movies after being denied acceptance from University of Southern California, or if the Beatles had quit after being turned down by record labels.
All of these people had a dream in mind, a desire to succeed, and a reason to do what they did. By trying, even after failing, they succeeded.
So take another look at that dream you had when you were younger, before you really decide your career path. Think about what life means to you and what you want it to mean. Don’t ever let others call your dream foolish – because at least you have a dream, no matter what it is.
Most give up because they find their dreams unachievable or impossible. Don’t let that be you. Follow your dreams and do what you want to do with your life, because no one else has the right to tell you what to do with it.
Start working for your dreams if you have the audacity to even call yourself an American. Our forefathers fought for the right for you to have that dream and to have a fighting chance of making it a reality.
So go write that book, paint that canvas, study those books, and fight for your beliefs so that we can show the world what it means to have an American Dream.
You never know where it will get you, good or bad. At least you can say that you had the audacity to take for yourself what you really wanted out of life.
Even if you fail, it is still a major accomplishment.