“Stop waiting for Friday, for summer, for someone to fall in love with you, for life. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you are in now.” –Unknown
It seems like children have a tendency to dream big. I’ve spent quite a bit of time working in childcare, and I can say that, many times, when you ask children what they want to be when they grow up, they come up with some pretty extravagant answers: ballerinas, baseball players, singers, astronauts, princesses, maybe even the president. The youngest ones have almost no concept of what the rest of society might consider to be “realistic.” They simply dream, and they believe in their dreams.
As we grow up, our dreams change. We start to think more about what we really want to do and be, and we start to think about actionable steps we can take to make our dreams come true. Unfortunately, during the process of growing up, some people develop a mindset that certain dreams are not realistic, which can severely limit what they might think they’re capable of doing or accomplishing. At this point, people might stop believing in their dreams, they might try not to dream big, or they might shy away from their dreams by deciding to postpone them.
Postponing dreams is rarely a good idea. Here’s why: Realistically speaking, life on Earth is not that long. We get, what, maybe eighty years? That’s not a ton of time, especially considering that for some of it, we might lack certain skillsets or resources for actualizing our dreams (such as when we are very young and very old). Time is a precious commodity, and it should not be wasted. Some of us have a tendency to want to wait to begin acting on our dreams until conditions are “just right.” Maybe we’re waiting to have enough money, enough time, the perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect circumstances. We shouldn’t do this, though. Conditions will rarely—if ever—be absolutely perfect for us to begin acting on our goals and dreams. When we spend so much time waiting, our dreams become elusive, and we prevent ourselves from living to our greatest potential. The time to act is now.
Just over 50 years ago, more or less on a whim, my grandpa decided to come to the United States to go to school. He had grown up in a small village in India, and no one before him had made the journey to the U.S. When he got here, he had eight dollars in his pocket—no more. He had no idea how he would pay for anything, where he would live, or what he would do, but he was committed to making it work in order to provide a better life for his children. And he did. I owe my entire existence to my grandfather’s willingness to dream big (and to act on those dreams immediately despite conditions being imperfect).
His example has shown me that I can dream big, too. For example, in this past year alone, I’ve become pretty committed to the idea of not settling. When my job was no longer serving me, I decided to take time off to make room for other things that would make me come alive. When I realized I might not want to be a teacher for the rest of my life, I decided to change my major, despite being almost three years into my program. When friendships and relationships became toxic, I humbly bowed out of them in order to clear space for nourishing ones. Furthermore, I’ve taken actionable steps toward my dreams in the realm of writing by committing to keeping a blog and working on a collection of poetry. I’ve never waited for circumstances to be “just right;” I’ve always just gone for things, and so far, it has been working out.
I sincerely hope that you will take your dreams seriously and that you will have the courage to act on them. It doesn’t matter what anybody has told you in an effort to bring you down to Earth or help you live realistically—as Walt Disney would say, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” You carry all the wisdom, magic, and creative energy of the Universe within the cells of your body, and you can make anything you want out of it. You are capable, smart, and innovative; and with some determination, hard work, and faith that things will work out in your favor, you will leave yourself with no choice but to succeed. It is understandable to be concerned about resources such as time and money, but do not let those concerns consume you. The Universe will provide you with everything you need. You simply must decide your dreams are going to come true, and they will. But you need to act now. I know that, sometimes, beginning something new can be the most daunting part of it all. But you can do it. You just need to take the first step, and it will flow from there. Your time is precious, so why should you spend any more of it waiting for circumstances to be just right? If you keep waiting for perfect circumstances, they will never come. Just do it.
I would not be here were it not for my grandfather’s courage to act on his dreams. Really, any descendant of immigrants owes their existence to their ancestors’ dreams. It might seem a little scary at first to dream big, but we should not allow anything to hold us back. We should follow in the footsteps of children, who are not afraid to shoot for the stars. All we need to do to achieve our goals is have the courage to take the first step, trusting that we have what we need to succeed. It’s time to stop postponing our dreams—the time to act is now.