7: you’ll have to defend your dreams.


We’re all dreamers, to an extent. It is perhaps the tendency to dream – to look beyond what is and to build a vision of what could be – that most separates humankind from the other animals. As we move into our twenties, departing our childhoods and undergoing the orientation to long-awaited ‘real world,’ we often find ourselves pushed toward pragmatism and efficiency.

In your mid-twenties, provided you’re lucky enough to find employment, you’ll probably have colleagues ranging across a few phases of life, and you’re likely to sit in the same meetings, engage in the same work culture, and dissect the same day-to-day happenings. If you come in dreaming wildly, it’s more than likely you’ll hear it: I remember when I used to say things like that. More often than not, the tone is acidic; you are being ridiculed.

But, take every person in that office, and look at their inner world, and you’ll find a long history of dreams: Air guitar solos in teenage bedrooms, daydreams of being met by a roar of applause, imagined adventures in exotic settings, love that robbed them of sleep and they didn’t mind it one bit. The snidest, most rigid co-worker you know has dreamt like this. It is the human condition.

I think it’s true that dreams, when set aside, nag at us. They pull at our heartstrings, our streams of thought, perhaps chiding us not to forget our calling. And, when we’re opting to ignore them, they sour our perspectives a bit. Dreams are for fools, we tell ourselves, relieved to have found a means of justifying our choices. Soon, if we don’t watch for it, we are the ones telling dreamers, I remember when I used to say things like that.

But, at least for the true dreamers among us, dreams are worth defending. Part of growing up, of moving through the twenties, is to learn how to channel dreams well. We are in our years of doing, and there are a lot of commitments competing for our time, but we must not shelve the things that matter most to us.

Here’s what I know: In a room of people, the dreamers will find the other dreamers. They will build one another up, they will whisper to one another messages of belief, and they will light the way for one another. Don’t mind the pebbles; follow your magic and fly.

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