The misguided notions of dreams

Srinidhi Sriraman

As kids, all of us were in awe of anything and almost everything. Our curiosity knew no bounds. That is exactly why “See the world through the eyes of your inner child.” is quoted way too often. We grow up with wonder; our eyes brimming with dreams. But then life happens and all of us become part of a rat race. Trading our dreams for what is considered by the society as success. “Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star” that is what most us were made to adopt as our mantra. I cannot begin to tell how wrong this is on multiple levels. (I am not even taking into account the astronomical inaccuracy) What if I don’t want a star or a moon? Nah that’s not going to work we have to choose from these two. That is the story of every family, household or should I rather say every human being. So what do we do to a child’s dreams? Systematically tinkering and molding it, destroying the uniqueness that the kid brought to it. And we call this insufferable act as guiding them to achieve their dreams and goals in life. See, that is where we are misguided. Dreams are always equated to goals or aspirations in life. Dreams allow us to experience utopian ideas and notions that we may not be able to do and imagine ourselves as people we possibly cannot be. It gives us moments of amazement. It necessarily doesn’t have to be your ambition. But nope, the realization might never dawn upon us. Oops! this does sound like I am brewing an all too common sad story right? This isn’t a sob story that I am about to narrate, NO! So how about I start over? And this time I shall begin with my tale.
I was a smart kid during my school days, to be honest, practically a teacher’s pet. Life went by, followed my dreams to become an Architect and started off my career on a successful note. Loving family, amazing friends and great lifestyle. For most people the place that I was in my life would have seemed like a “dream come true” yet, I always had this nasty nagging feeling that didn’t quite let me be content. With each passing day I was more and more convinced that something was totally off. So I decided to walk out of my job and oh yes without another job. I couldn’t endure it a second longer. My closest and most trusted people tried to stop me to no avail. They thought I was being a devil’s advocate and am creating my own problems as I had none. Amid all the drama, I did as I pleased and voila! The results were totally amazing (trust me I really don’t want to sell this short). I felt like a weight has been lifted off my chest. My happiness quotient is on unbelievably high level (No kidding). So what is it that prompted me to run a fool’s errand? (Not my words! It’s popular thought among my people).
I stayed true to Peter Pan’s words: “To live will be an awfully big adventure”. I wanted to live and be unapologetic while doing that. I realized the fine line between dreams and ambitions and once in my life I decided to be true to my dream rather than ambition. Well the most popular question that we ask a child is “What do you dream to become?” We get a huge array of professions. Whilst doing that for centuries we did a teensy error. To put it in a nut shell, all of us are aware that we have a left and right brain. My personal theory is that our ambitions are works of our left brain and our starry-eyed fantasies are right brain going wild. I believe that everything that my right brain throws at me is my dream. So the concept of calling my ambitions as my dream doesn’t sit well with me. As a child every day I had a new dream. One day I was a doctor, another I was an actor, another I was a musician (to be honest I still dream of doing some of those). As I grew older and wiser (I definitely believe so), I realized the correct question that we have to ask ourselves is not what do you dream to become but who you dream to become. My answer to that question was simple- I wanted to be happy. Yes my ambition was to become an architect yet I wasn’t happy. So now let us get real, happiness is a state of mind, yes and our minds are in that state when it is satisfied and maybe say have tranquility. Architecture for me is a way to learn, grow and innovate and I didn’t really get to do all that in my job. I was missing the drive and passion because my heart belonged to a different ideology. So I decided to set out in pursuit of happiness, something that struck my heart strings. And yes finally I did find a way to be a happy architect (oh yes, I only just quit my job; I wasn’t talking about a career change). All that is left is continue walking down the path to achieve it. I feel I am making a difference, touching people’s life with my work, staying grounded to my principles. And that gives me a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart which is probably what happiness and satisfaction feels like. Each of us writes our stories by the choices we make. Dreams do come true if we truly want them to and work towards it (disclaimer: In terms of hard work they are exactly same as ambitions). So this is my happy beginning and I sure as hell hope it would become my happily ever after.

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