What did you dream of when you were a little kid? What about in those romantic teen years when everything was possible and nothing was too cheesy or far-fetched? What do you dream of in the middle of the night when nobody’s there to laugh or tell you your dreams are unrealistic?
We lose a lot of things as we age. Some things (like baby fat and braces) slipped mercifully out the back door and I was glad to see them go. But I find myself mourning the loss of other things—important things, things that our world is in desperate need of.
One of our biggest losses is our dreams.
When we’re little, we can concoct any scenario, imagining ourselves as pirates or doctors, swinging from the rigging of a ship or saving a life. We imagine love to be an infinite endless thing, not something that is settled for or neglected. But somewhere along the line we get distracted. We start to follow a track and forget that we wanted to get off.
Go to high school, go to college, get a degree, get a job. Make at least 30K a year and there’s no time for travel. Do, go, become, achieve, and before you know it you’re tired and living a life that’s so deeply unfamiliar that it keeps you up at night.
So where would you go if you could rewrite the story? What would you do if you could pencil in the details, choosing a different adventure—your own adventure?
On my second date with my boyfriend he told me about something I call his “dreams list.” It was something that a mentor of his asked him to create, giving him a pad and a pencil and telling him to sketch in the details. There were no restrictions, no parameters, just a simple question: What do you want to do with your life?
He started telling me the details of the list—jump out of an airplane, write a book, be a dad. His dreams were immediate and long-term, realistic and far-fetched. But something remarkable was missing from his description of his list.
He didn’t apologize for his dreams, qualifying them or asking me not to laugh. He didn’t clarify his expectations or shy away from the big-ticket items. He shared his dreams with me as normally and humbly as though he were reading me a grocery list, but with a mischievous glint of life dancing behind his eyes.
It got me thinking. Where do we end up when we stop paying attention? And where could we go if we started to? What would we do if we could pencil in the details of our lives, adding color and dimension with the faith and imagination of a child? What could be recovered if we began to dream again?
Image via Cape Cod Collegiate