I wanted to be a mad scientist. I don't know why it had to be a 'mad' scientist. Maybe they just seemed to be having more fun.
Or I wanted to be a stand-up comedian. That's a legacy of Bill Murray. I loved 'Ghostbusters'.
And, if I had the time between all that comedy and mad science, I wanted to be a writer.
Then you start to grow up. Influencers tell you that you need 'goals' not dreams. Everything gets turned into a process. Soon, if you have too many 'goals' there are too many processes you need to complete. So, you have to start sacrificing dreams.
It's called making choices and being a grown up, apparently.
Grown ups have to do grown up things. These get added to the pile. You have to "start families" and "make homes". Breeding and buying makes you an adult.
Often, where I live, I see the refuse of 'home making'. At any given time you can walk the streets and find an entire household of discarded furniture and home items. There are a lot of renters where I live, you see. Renters have a tendency to downsize everytime they move; which can be often. It's not like households are breaking down, it's just the gypsy life of the inner city.
Hence the poor man's Ikea on the sidewalks.
On a warm night a few weeks ago, I was walking around my neighbourhood. Nothing suspect, I just like to walk sometimes. It keeps you in touch with humanity.
I came across a pile of stuff someone had thrown away in haste. I usually do a quick check to see how long it has been there and if there is anything worth taking. Don't judge, these days people throw away perfectly fine items all the time. I have a footstool in my living room that I acquired that way.
So, I quickly scanned the pile for anything worthwhile. It was mostly used Ikea furniture. Nothing worth lugging around.
And then, I spotted an old whiteboard.
It had obviously been thrown away in a rush. The previous owner hadn't even cleaned it. On it was a list of their goals.
'By 2007, I will have directed a major motion picture for Dreamworks'.
But that was not the most ambitious.
'By 2009, I will have won at least one Oscar'.
I couldn't help but wonder. What happened to this person?
Did writing their dreams onto a whiteboard, framing them as specific goals like grown ups do, help them find success?
Or did it just serve as a constant reminder of the goals that were going unachieved?
Sure, they were ambitious goals, but there is nothing wrong with aiming high.
On one level, it made me sad. Why did they throw this whiteboard away? Did they throw their dreams away too?
Maybe they had to throw out the whiteboard to relocate to LA for their Dreamworks feature film debut. Maybe they were in such demand, they didn't have time to clean the whiteboard as they rushed for the airport.
I hope so.
But even if that didn't happen, I hope they learned something simple.
Goals are helpful, but being too scientific with your dreams is a mistake.
Work towards them. Put in the effort. Think harder. Absolutely, these are all essential.
But never forget that dreams are meant to inspire. Not to be analysed. Not to be broken down into tiny pieces that make you feel like you're not a failure because they are on a list with ticks next to them.
Dreams are meant to be big. They are meant to scare you and excite you at the same time. They are the things that drive your passion, and passion, my friends, is all that matters.
Don't ever let them go.
Even if you only scrape your fingertips on your dreams, you will feel an achievement that can't be measured or compared. And you will inspire others to chase theirs.
Don't ask yourself what you want to have and by when.
What do you want to be?
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