Since moving to college a few weeks ago, I’ve asked and been asked a series of get-to-know-you-questions at seemingly every turn. What’s your major?... Where are you from?... How on earth did you end up in Asheville, North Carolina of all places?!
But there’s one thing I’ve learned to ask that can truly reveal the inner workings of one’s soul, especially in such a new place when you're surrounded by new people, communities and experiences. As much as people are defined by the things they’ve seen and the people they’ve met, I believe people are as equally defined by who they hope to be—what they strive to accomplish, become and experience. The world is filled to the brim with dreamers, so here’s a question I have for you, fellow dreamer reading this article:
“If nothing stood in your way, and I mean absolutely nothing, what would you do?”
I think asking this question to college students sometimes takes them by surprise, because so often as a rising generation in a broken world we are told to form realistic dreams, have realistic expectations, not set ourselves up for seemingly inevitable unemployment and poverty and sadness. We are told that college is our time to focus on crafting a better future for ourselves—“better” meaning finding a job that will pay the bills under all circumstances. Passions become an afterthought on the way to societal success, and I know so many, often myself included, who feel their dreams are simply unachievable, impractical, and completely and utterly unreasonable.
But forget about all of this for a second. Forget about whatever obstacles you have standing in your way and just focus on that place in your heart that’s beating for something so strongly it will never truly be smothered. Close your eyes and picture that “unrealistic” dream.
I met a woman on a little side street in Asheville a few weeks ago who told me the more you meditate on your dreams and the more you truly wish for them, the more they will actually become real. She smiled at me and her freckles sparkled like glitter, and as she tapped me with her fairy wand I suddenly believed with all my heart and soul that I would travel, that I would meet people and tell their stories and write from my heart and take photos of absolutely everything. I believed I’d love and I’d make friends throughout the world and I’d have moments where my soul felt entirely and completely happy.
I can’t dust you with glitter or tap you with a fairy wand, but I can tell you one thing: talking about your dreams makes them real. Before you express them they exist only to you, but the moment they leave your lips they are so much more than figments of your imagination and rather real, seemingly tangible ideas that can and will happen. So talk about them, shout about them, ask others about their hopes and their wishes and their passions and believe with your whole heart that yours are attainable.
Dreams are a powerful thing, and dreamers are an unstoppable force in the world. It’s been said that the world belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams, and so this week I challenge you to move one step closer to whatever your heart beats for, even if it’s as simple as just visualizing it or talking to someone about it. Be brave and strong and passionate, and never give up hope on the ideas your heart beats for.