Some say that it's wrong to have big dreams. We should be satisfied with where we are, and a dream is like the grass on the other side of the fence. They add with a knowing look-- "It won't be what you think when you get there."
I think of how it is when cows break free of their fences and head to other pastures. Maybe it's not better over there, but oh the adventure of it. They remember they are cows in a herd and they feel their power as they thunder down hills, the dust flying, their eyes wild with excitement. As much as cows can ever know such a thing, they realize the world has surprises yet to be revealed. There are adventures and, yes, also risks that the pasture didn't let them experience.
Most cows are brought back to their own pasture eventually, but a few never come home. They run wild in the hills and you see their hoofprints once in awhile along a dirt road, but they disappear into the forest to live free like the elk and deer. Yes, that life is less settled, no guaranteed food, risks from cougar and bear; but if they didn't like it better, they'd be back leaning over the fence.
Some cows never desire to leave the field. They know it's secure, and security is what they most desire. They look with dismay and moo loudly about the ones who broke the rules.
And for the ones caught and brought home, do they reminisce to each other? Remember how it was over there? Did you try that grass down along the creek. Wasn't it better than anything you ever tasted?
Was the grass really better? the ones who stayed home might ask.
Perhaps it was. Perhaps it was not. The ones who stayed home will never know.
A few years back, a good friend sent a bookmark which I keep by my computer. It is a quote by Anais Nin. "Dreams are necessary to life." A year or so later, she sent me a print, which illustrates this blog and hangs above my desk, because when she saw it at an art show, she said it looked like me. She knew I had a dream, and the picture shows a woman living the life I have dreamed I would. My friend's gift was an encouragement to not forget my dream and to move toward it. It would take risks for me to do so, but my friend is right.
Are we ever too old to dream? I think as we age, we may have to adjust the dreams for what is physically possible; but there can, and I believe, should be dreams at any age. To follow a dream sometimes does have risk attached. Some would say forgetting your dreams will make you happier, but for me, I will hold onto mine and take my chance to make them real if the chance comes.
Some of my dreams have come true, others have been broken along the way, some I have had to reconsider if I really want enough to pay the price, but I always try to find new ones, maybe of a different sort, because when my dreams are finished-- both kinds-- so am I.
(The print is by the artist, Glen Powell.)