One of the most popular posts I’ve written on the blog was Following Your Dream. Many of us hunger to fulfill a dream, a burning desire, but face many obstacles, not the least of which is staring down those who would dissuade us.
So, it’s important, we all know, to hang on to a dream, tightly. But sometimes that dream needs to shift, change, breath or simply evolve, and it’s essential to recognize when that is the case. Dreams grow up and age just as we do.
An easy example of this would be for writers who held on to their dreams of being traditionally published for years, to no avail, and then finally decided to expand their horizons by self-publishing. For so many, this was and is the answer. Dream fulfilled.
But so often, our tendency is to clutch too tightly at the exactitude of our vision that we may look past a version of the dream that is more fitting or doable than the original.
I just watched a film version of Willa Cather’s story Song of the Lark, in which this tendency was so clearly drawn. The heroine, Thea, wants to pursue her drive to become a famous pianist. She struggles with her studies because she's good but not great, until finally her instructor hears her sing and identifies her true gift – her voice. She's initially distraught by this discovery, but once she is able to accept her own talent and realize that her pursuit of music is still within her reach, she becomes fulfilled.
I once had a friend who was a wonderful cartoonist, completely without training. But, no matter how hard I tried to convince him of his talent, he brushed it off as amateurish. I even sent a couple of his cartoons to Gary Trudeau of Doonesbury, who actually took the time to send me back a note saying that my friend did have talent, but if he didn’t believe it then he would never reach for success in that field.
My recent foray into making a vision into a reality is constantly evolving. I had decided that I really wanted to create something physical rather just writing. I’ve always been attracted to sculpture, dolls and various forms of needlecraft – knitting and sewing in particular. So, I started an Etsy store, with a focus on making items that promoted the dreams of others – primarily dolls. I quickly realized that making most types of dolls was too time-consuming for me, so that I didn’t enjoy it. So, I’ve worked at developing simpler types of dolls. I’ve also tried a few other items, and will continue to experiment. I had also hoped that I would sell lots of stuff and thereby support myself, at least in part, through this endeavor. That has not happened yet. As always, making something is easier than selling it.
However, this is a great example of a dream changing for the better. First, I discovered how much I enjoy the making of simple, pretty things. Second, the goal I began with has shifted from making money and dolls, to making things that give me joy and hopefully selling some of them. I’m holding onto the beauty of my fantasy, just by allowing it to evolve and survive.
And that last phrase is the true key to what I’m saying – evolve and survive. Dreams can so easily be snuffed. Don’t let yours turn out that way – give it time, energy and the ability to morph into something you can achieve and treasure.