(Dear Reader: I realize I haven’t posted in quite some time. I recently underwent wisdom teeth removal (fun stuff) and college midterms; thus, my long absence. Please forgive me, and enjoy the new content I upload in the coming days and weeks!)
Luke 1:37 (KJV)
For with God nothing shall be impossible.
Throughout my life, I’ve been met with two, somewhat opposing ideologies concerning hopes and dreams: the actually pessimistic “realists”, and the über-optimistic “realists”. Of course, everyone thinks they are a realist, when in fact reality is a grey area. If we’re being honest, reality is kind of like a spectrum; it is a manner of perception that changes and fluxes between individuals, rather than a strict worldview. That being the case, how do we know what to expect from “reality”? What is “realistic”? Well, it’s hard to tell, but most of it depends on your outlook.
As a child, I had big dreams. Scratch that, I had huge dreams. I once told a great-aunt that I wanted to be “Britney Spears, but also a TV meteorologist”. Over the years, my goals have become a bit more “realistic”, but I have found that living a life based on the “realistic” is not nearly as fulfilling as shooting for your dreams, because, SPOILER ALERT! … Your dreams are realistic.
Now, of course, being Britney Spears and a meteorologist at the same time is unrealistic. That’s a given. But, think about your other hopes and dreams: your dream of traveling to Europe, your dream of living in a big city, your dream of publishing the poems only your boyfriend and mom ever read… Those were some of my dreams that have actually come true. In other words, those “unrealistic” dreams of mine ended up being very realistic, after all. Here are some examples from my own life:
Last summer I lived in New York City with my boyfriend and his mother. We all split rent, and I spent nearly two months gallivanting around NYC, living like a local. This was, of course, something that most people told me would be impossible. The fact is, though, I only ever thought it was impossible because people told me it was. In the end, I saved up some money and I went. Period. It was that simple. (Saving up money is not “simple”, per say, but for the sake of my point, it was a one-step solution to something I thought entirely impossible).
Last summer, and again last winter, I lived another one of my dreams twice over: I travelled to England, France, Spain, Italy, and The Vatican in late July, and Iceland in December. I traveled to Europe not only once, but twice in a single year. I had always imagined that traveling to Europe would either be 1.) impossible, or 2.) something I could only do when I was older, and much richer (which may never happen). After traveling to these places, I asked myself: “Why did I ever think this would be impossible?” Once again, my answer was this: because people told me it was. People told me for years that traveling to Europe would be “too expensive”, or “too dangerous”, and so on. The fact of the matter is that my travels were reasonably priced (Iceland was as cheap as a trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for my boyfriend and I), and my lengthy trip across five countries was paid for with the money I had saved up for college. Thanks to budgeting, and to getting a LOT of scholarships based on my good grades, I was able to achieve two of my big dreams also fairly easily.
Now, something has to be said about privilege here: I understand that I am a very privileged individual. The ability to save up money rather than living paycheck to paycheck is a privilege. The ability to go to college, and virtually for free, is a privilege. The fact that I am from a white, middle-class family is a form of societal privilege. I understand this. But, my point is this: maybe your dreams, within reason, are not as unattainable as people make you think.
Despite your socio-economic status, you can make your dreams a reality. Sometimes it’s a stretch, but sometimes it’s quite possible. We all come from different walks of life, but we can all start small. I gave two huge examples of my dreams becoming reality, but I’ve also had countless “small” dreams come true with hard work, belief, and dedication. For example, I was able to lose eighty pounds at the age of thirteen and change my life. I dreamed of being fit, of being health and strong, and with hard work I achieved that dream. That dream became a reality, despite the hoards of middle-school bullies reminding me how “fat” and “lazy” I was. Another “small” example is me getting the part of Rapunzel in a high-school production of the musical Into The Woods. Acting had always been my passion, and I got the role despite telling myself how bad of a vocalist and actress I was. I worked hard, I put my negative thoughts aside, and I got the part. I did it. It became reality.
Whether your dreams are big and more difficult to attain, or small and more attainable, they can become reality. Through hard work, dedication, and refusal to be brought down by other peoples’ perceptions of “reality”, you can make your dreams come true to some extent. I know that life is not always in our control; hard work and the sheer force of will cannot get us anywhere in life, but why not try? Why not see how far it can get you?
Overall, I do not believe it is unrealistic to shoot for your dreams, no matter who you are or where you stand on the spectrum of reality. As the old saying goes:
“Don’t be afraid to shoot for the moon,
You might just land among the stars”.