20191027 001064 6 minutes
Dreams, “out on a limb,” push the envelope

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have dreams, or that you shouldn’t believe in them. Never let anyone steal your dreams.

Thoreau said it well: “Maybe he marches to a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

Dreams can be for the future or memories of the past.

Yesterday morning we were luxuriating in wonderful Fall colors, with a clear blue sky and the sun shining. The day was one that memories are made of. It was the peak of the Fall season, and we were making the most of it.

In the afternoon, it snowed. Wet, slushy, yucky, snow. Did you know snow is a four-letter word? And in October, before the leaves have left the trees, wet, sticking snow can make the limbs heavy and dangerous in a strong wind.

But the morning had given us memories to carry through the horrid afternoon. Mother Nature had made her point. When you have something beautiful, something transitory, make the most of it. Keep it in your heart and let the memory carry you through the dark days that will surely follow. The beauty of Fall is Nature’s way of preparing us for the end of the season, the ‘last hurrah’ that will give us hope to help us remember how beautiful the world will be again, when the storms of winter finally surrender their grip on the world.

Dreams are the incentive which keeps our enthusiasm strong when life isn’t going well. To follow one we must be prepared to stick to it. Usually it means we are hoping to accomplish something which, on the face of it, doesn’t look possible, or at least, not easy. We’ll be bucking the system.

If we are going to push the envelope sometimes it will fall off the table, with all our most valued and treasured dreams. If and when that happens we must realize that we did not break. We have to be prepared to “see the things you’ve given your life to, broken, and stoop and fix ‘em up with worn out tools.” The alternative is to sit in a corner and cry. Crying dilutes your beer, and personally I don’t like diluted beer.

We shouldn’t be scared to have dreams. They are the salt and pepper of life, its seasoning. If they don’t work out we have to reassess whether to hold on to them, modify them or go back to square one and come up with different ideas altogether.

In my life I have taken on projects which others have been convinced were completely crazy. Time and again I have been told: “Be sensible. You can’t do that. You don’t have the resources. Wait until you can afford it, and find a compromise for now.” If I had listened to these nay-sayers, I would still be living in a rented apartment in a less-than-gorgeous London suburb, because I would never have dared to come to America without a job, knowing no one – but with a good resume, lots of hope, and a dream. I would never have started the building I built years ago – women aren’t supposed to do things like that – and I would certainly not have put the addition on to my last house.

It takes lots of work, buckets of faith, and unlimited stick-to-it-iveness to realise a dream. If you are prepared for that, then go for it. Decide what you want in the long run and find out how to achieve it. Dreams are a means to an end, not an end in themselves. They must not become our gods. Be realistic about whether society’s taboos and strictures are appropriate for you. If your dream contravenes any of them, be prepared for some of the upholders of the social mores to disapprove and give you a hard time.

I have had this problem, with friends, and sometimes family, disapproving. Their problems are understandable. I am bringing into question the fundamentals on which they have based their life’s values, but their priorities don’t always work for me.

Being out on a limb can be lonely, and even dangerous. Anyone who goes out on a limb must be prepared for someone else to think the tree needs pruning and to saw off that branch. In the long run it’s worth the hardships and hassle. If you follow your dream and help it survive, you will be able to say “I did it my way,” not according to what you were supposed to do, what everyone thought was the “right way,” what was sensible. If it works, you will be happy. If not, at least you tried. The biggest disappointment in life is not to dare. The saddest thought is “I should have ….” That, at least, you will be spared.

Go for it. Follow your dream! Never let anyone steal it from you.