“There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, Yes, I’ve got dreams, of course I’ve got dreams. Then they put the box away and bring it out once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they’re still there.” — Erma Bombeck
A few years ago, I came face to face with one of my youthful dreams. I was in London and I stood outside the National Theatre, where I’d once hoped to trod the boards, following the footsteps of people such as Olivier, Patrick Troughton, Maggie Smith, and many others. I’d wanted that so badly in my youth I could almost taste it and at that moment, I could genuinely taste the regret for a dream that had disappeared the moment I decided to move west instead of east. I hadn’t realised it then, of course, caught up in the adventure of striking out on my own, away from friends and family. In fact, I thought I was supporting that dream by seizing a chance to move to Los Angeles now instead of waiting until then when my plans to move to New York would come to fruition.
Intellectually, I knew very well that even if I’d gone east, turned left instead of right, it didn’t mean I’d have achieved that dream. I’ve lived in Los Angeles too long to think such things come so easily — unless the plot depends on it, of course. But at that moment, the box came out, I looked at the dream I held close for so long and said goodbye.
Now, I know that doesn’t sound particularly inspirational, but sometimes honoring our dreams means admitting that we’ve passed the moment when that particular one can come true. Because if we don’t, then it’s far too easy for us to miss the chance to achieve others, our eyes turned from where they need to be. Don’t be that person. Don’t trade what can be for clinging to what could have been. It’s a choice we all have to make for ourselves, but if you’re involved in this November insanity, then take the time to look at what you’re doing, what you wish you could be doing — and what you’re willing to work your butt off for, no matter what. Go after that. Chase it.
But realizing it’s always going to be something you’ll be pursuing, because once you catch it and put it in a little box, the dream becomes not what could be, but what could have been.
Go, chase things.