We’ve all heard it said: "Welcome to the real world." A phrase so powerful that it can literally crush someone’s dreams. A warning, perhaps, of the trials to be held in this new era in our life. A new era in a new world. The “real” world. Some God-forsaken place where dreams, joy, and happiness have all died. The place that welcomes us after high school or college that is apparently not as forgiving as the last 12+ years of our life have already been. It’s that season now where people are graduating, with diplomas or degrees, which means a whole new group of people are being prepared to have their wildest dreams crushed by the harsh reality of the world. Because there’s no room for goals, aspirations, or desires here.
Frankly, it’s sad. People - adults - walking around and slamming the door in bright and excited youthful faces. And all because the exact same thing happened to them when they thought that they could set off into a novel and inspiring realm to fulfill themselves. Instead, they were handed a box to live in and to never DARE leave. They were convinced, maybe purely in just that phrase, that a life spent pursuing dreams was idiotic and fictional. That the world they had been living in - dreaming in - did not line up with reality. That they might as well give up now so as to avoid future disappointment and embarrassment. But maybe I’m the only one bothered by it. Maybe I’m the only one who believes that dreams could actually come true. That you could set a goal and defeat any obstacles in your way as you pursued success.
You’ve heard it a hundred times: anything is possible if you just try! But let me change it up a bit. Anything is possible if you buck up, recognize the sacrifice required, and stop at nothing until you’ve reached the top.
Maybe my refusal to accept the status quo - house, steady job, wife, and 1.5 kids - and live outside of it will require sacrifice and effort. But if it means that I can reach a point of fulfillment, of real joy and happiness created by ME, then I would refuse my box a million times. I will NOT let someone dictate my life, and I sure as heck will NOT let someone tell me what I can and cannot aspire to do and be.
Maybe it’s time for us to live a real life. Maybe we need to stand up for ourselves AND for each other, and for the promising future that we can offer. Maybe we don’t need to throw away our childhood wishes, because it is all attainable. You’ve heard it a hundred times: anything is possible if you just try! But let me change it up a bit. Anything is possible if you buck up, recognize the sacrifice required, and stop at nothing until you’ve reached the top. (This is definitely the spot for some sort of mountain metaphor, but I digress.)
All I wish for is that young people could go out into the world, supported by their neighbours, to find (or make) true happiness in their short life on earth. So when someone (inevitably) says those five words to you, don’t take it personally. Don’t accept it. Don’t take offence or let it get to you. Rather, sympathize with the person saying it to you. Because that person’s dreams have already been thrown down, spit on and kicked to the gutter. They’ve accepted their box. And they will most likely never have the courage to aspire for anything different. Dream on, my friends.
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