My Dream Space is Bigger than Yours
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My Dream Space is Bigger than Yours

A new thought or two, may make finals a bit bareable.

My Dream Space is Bigger than Yours
Daring Penguin

When I was just 15, I had the opportunity to travel to a place no 15-year-old should ever go. I got to go to Las Vegas, Nevada, for the National Student Council Conference. 5 days in the city of lights to become a better student council member,a better free thinker, and a better person. The best part was, I got to go with my best friend and a guy I had known since I was 10! So many crazy memories, like almost drowning in my sleep because I was sleeping in the bath tub and my foot hit the knob just right at 3 am. Or my friend Russell and I locking ourselves out of our room at 1 am and having to call our less than thrilled advisor who was not only not on our floor, but also not even in the same building. All of these lovely recollections all spawn great happiness for me, but that's what they are, just recollections, memories. However, that week, I did walk away with more than memories, I walked away with an idea that, now more than ever, everyone may need to grip on to 0 tight.

For some reason, the order of this day will stick in my head forever, because my life has seldom been changed so much in one day. The night before, we had walked all three miles of the Las Vegas strip which was especially interesting because you had to walk through casinos to get to our hotel. It was a Friday night, and the largest electronic dance music (which is one of my favorite genres) festival in the world was in town, so we were tired the next day for sure. I started my morning by attending a workshop on happiness and how contagious it could be. We talked about church giggles, the idea of laughing at inopportune moments, and how everyone wants to be happy, but sometimes there are barriers preventing that. Next, I had some lunch and watched the best public speaker I have ever seen speak about how we can be catalysts in other people's lives. Then I had to go to a workshop I didn’t pick, about this concept of dream space. I didn’t want to be there, but little did I know, I needed to be there. 15-year-old Ryan didn’t need to be there, but 17-year-old Ryan did. And 18-year-old Ryan. And I put money that 19,20,21,22, etc. Ryan needed to be there too.

This small, contagiously lively, extremely pregnant, very poised woman walked out and asked us to close our eyes. No introduction or “Hey, how are you?” Nope. Just. “Close your eyes”. She proceeded to have us imagine what five-year-old us wanted to do as a profession. Personally, because of my love for Top Gun and everything Discovery Channel at that age (I was a dope five-year-old, I know) I wanted to be a fighter pilot, and I wanted to see the Titanic with my own eyes. I had long brushed off those notions because I am A: very colorblind, and B: Slightly afraid of the ocean depths. So those cute ideas I had when I was little were NOT happening. But I smiled as I thought the answer to her question and from there, she turned my answer into the greatest concept I have ever learned. She spoke on about exactly what I told you, how as we get older, we find reasons to negate the dreams of our youth. How bias and negativity cloud the purity of our imagination. For the next hour, she talked about how we let the world shrink our dream space, our imagination and how we stop believing the absolutely impossible can be achieved. When I first heard this, I took it literally, but that's not the point she was trying to make.

As she discussed how our imagination is strangled by the real world. That's not really what happens, I have discovered. Our imaginations are just fine; our dream spaces as big as ever! It's the hope we use to fuel our imagination that we lose as we grow up. As term papers, jobs, bad relationships, shitty politics and world events flood our lives, we lose hope in the limits of what is possible. All of a sudden, we can no longer be fighter pilots or see the Titanic, because someone said no or it seems dangerous. Now, more than ever we could all use a little hope because it goes a long way. I know that after a long day of work, as I sit at the front gate, watching the park finally empty after being short-handed and it being 100 degrees that day, a little hope saves my day. Watching siblings duel with their light swords, pretending they are warriors. Or kids, parents, grandparents, hugging the critters goodnight because they don’t want to believe that a person is in that suit. Oh no, for them, Garrett the Parrot really did fly up here from the Amazon and they will believe it if it kills them. So as we approach a time of the year filled with finals, reunions with family members that could wait another year, and feelings. Lots. Of feelings. Be brave, hope a little bit! Believe in Santa Claus. Imagine that perfect New Year’s kiss. Please, picture making Dean’s List God damn it! No matter how unrealistic and out there it may be, believe it. Leave the real world for just a second and believe it. You have nothing to lose.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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