WARNING: Having a Dream May Lead to Massive Disappointment

by Amy on March 30, 2018

I keep thinking about a conversation I had years ago with a woman working in the registrar’s office of my college. I was ordering transcripts for an application to work in Japan as an English teacher.

She wanted to know what I was working on.

“I’m applying for the JET Programme with my husband,” I shared.
“Oh, teaching English in Japan, right?” she asked cheerfully.
…And then her face turned more serious. “How long have you been married?” she scrutinized me as if she knew something I didn’t.
“A little over a year… why?” I wondered what this stranger could possibly know about my marriage.
“That isn’t long to be married… A move to Japan could cause you both a lot of stress. It could be hard on your marriage,” she offered in a patronizing voice.
I should have said, “Yeah, lady, so can having babies and working forty hours a week.”
Instead I nodded politely and mumbled “We will keep that in mind, thank you,” as I left.

(Dream crushers disguised with good intentions will find you in the most unlikely of places.)

It seems that everyone who’s anyone in the book publishing industry wants to tell me its impossible to publish a memoir. Coming off of these conversations I ask myself, “what the hell is the point?” Then I look at Facebook or fold laundry instead of working on my book.

It’s not that I doubt them or question their expertise…

The thing I have to remind myself is this:

Dreams are risky. Pursuing one might very well put a strain on your marriage or cause you to spend a lot of money or work two jobs or have your hopes dashed.

When you have a dream, especially when you really start to work towards it, the dream crushers will find you.
I really do think many of them do have good intentions. They don’t want you to get hurt or disappointed or end up an old spinster with no one but a gaggle of cats (and a bad book that no one reads). But I think there are others out there who hate the idea of you reaching your dreams because it reminds them of their dreams, the ones they didn’t have the guts to go for. It reminds them of what could’ve been. And that hurts. A lot. It’s supposed to.

Perhaps an official warning would satisfy all parties. Sort of like the warning labels on cigarettes:

Or on these zippers (for people who have a penis):

Something like…

WARNING: Your dream may lead to massive disappointment leading you to die alone, broke, lonely and unaccomplished.

Unfortunately the majority of folks will heed the warning. One well-intentioned warning after all can and will cause you to recall every other negative potentiality that had all ready been stewing around in your mind. That one warning especially from an “expert” can validate all those fear-laced worst case scenarios you have already imagined.

But remember:

Jk Rowling was a single mom on welfare when she started writing Harry Potter.
Jim Carrey was living in his car.
Steven Spielberg was rejected from film school.
Walt Disney was fired from a job because “he lacked imagination.”
Thomas Edison was told he was “too stupid to learn anything.”

There are some who choose to ignore the warnings and “expert” advice despite the risk and evidence that these experts might actually be right.

These folks, mere humans like you and me, choose to listen to something inside, a voice or just a feeling. Who choose day after day, despite all the noise outside reminding them of how impossible it is, to return again and again to whatever that is inside of them. To trust it above all else. To remember that a dream is a sacred gift that must be claimed through adversity, by facing one’s deepest fears and learning to listen to the heart above all even if it means a penis or two might be harmed in the process.

And even if I don’t amount to anything and I just end up proving the experts right, I’d still rather be a dreamer with a bad book holding up the other dreamers, celebrating their dreams and reminding them of what is possible, urging them to be brave and listen closely to what is inside.

Which is why…

I pledge to try and fail again and again, ignoring all outside evidence or expert advice, in honor of whatever it is inside me that keeps dreaming.

I hope you do too.

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