They pile up, you know, the dreams do. Hopes and dreams go on top of hopes and dreams, which go on top of other hopes and dreams. Somehow we squeeze them all into our minds, pushing them further and further back, promising ourselves that we’ll get to them all someday. But first, there are more practical things to get done.
We take care of the dreams that we’re told are really important, don’t we? When there’s a problem, we fix it. When the paint peels, we repaint it. When the grounds become overgrown, we mow them. We’re always taking care of the “good” dreams, the ones we think we should have, the goals we’re told are important. We shine them up like a jeweler polishes his diamonds. We put them under glass and turn on brilliant little lights so everyone can see them sparkle and secretly covet them.
|This dream has died.|
Then there are the dreams we don’t tell anyone about. Those are the hopes and dreams of how we really want to live our lives. Those are the dreams we had as a child that sat cheerfully on our shoulders as we went about our business. Then as we got older and shouldered more responsibilities, we hid the dreams inside us. At first we hid them to protect them and keep them safe. Then we hid them because we were afraid people would laugh at us or that we’d disappoint others with our true desires. Later, we just forgot about them.
Lastly, there are the dreams that have died. Some of them were good at one point, but we simply outgrew them. From year to year--indeed, from day to day--we are not the same person, not quite. Each day finds us slightly different, and those slight differences add up after a while. Some of the dreams weren’t outgrown but were smothered instead. Those are the saddest dreams because they were beautiful dreams and we let them die while we were busy polishing up the acceptable dreams. Those are the most tragic because once a dream is lost, it can’t ever be found again.
What we focus our attention on thrives and grows. What we remove our attention from withers and dies. This holds true for everything--hopes and dreams, jobs, relationships, gardens, animals, everything. Find those dreams inside of you that are still alive, even if there’s just a feeble heartbeat left, and decide which of those are truly important, which have received attention they don’t deserve, and which have died and need to be properly buried. The dead ones have to be removed to make room to grow again.
Then focus your attention--your thoughts, your hopes, your prayers, your fantasies, your secret delights--on the dreams you have left that truly matter, and watch them grow into beautiful structures. Do it while you still can, and if you’re alive, you still can.