Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Running Down a Dream

Has anyone else noticed how hard it seems to be to live your dreams? I wonder if it’s always been this hard? I think it’s harder these days to pursue your passions than it was a few hundred years ago. I have this image of the world then—more wide open, more space to move out into, more room for dreaming. I’m not saying living a dream was easy then. Just maybe a little easier. And I wonder if there’s any way to make it easier today?

Since I am actively pursuing my writing dream now, this has been on my mind a lot lately. I wonder if that notion of the past being easier has any truth to it or if it is just a romanticized excuse for not trying harder?

Our world now is filled with ten hour work days, working to pay the bills, keep a roof over your head, keep the car running, buy food. How is living your dream supposed to happen in the middle of all that? How does it fit into the modern world? Living your dream requires time and focus, and there are so many things around us that eat those up when we aren’t looking. It’s so easy to let it slip away, to swear “I’ll start tomorrow.”

In part, I blame the difficulty in living a dream these days on our fast-food culture. We want everything, we want it right now, and we want it to be effortless. I have actually heard people comment that a microwave dinner that takes five minutes to cook “takes too long.” They decide on the two minute version because it’s faster. How are we supposed to sally forth and pursue our passions when we won’t even take five minutes to microwave lasagna?

I also think our modern ideas of what it means to live your dreams are skewed. I think we are too focused on making a living, and this blinds us to what it means to really live. Maybe we need to focus more on the richness of doing what we love and try to turn away from the idea that we must have three bedrooms, two baths, yearly tropical vacations and a brand new wardrobe to go with our dreams.

I know there is some way to strike a balance, to live your dreams without moving into a cardboard box under the bridge. It is possible to live your dreams; there are people out there doing it right now. But how?

What’s the answer? Oh, you wanted an answer? I have no idea, not right now. Maybe some vague inklings, but nothing concrete enough to put into words. Not yet. But I’ll keep trying to figure it out. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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