The first time I heard a friend of mine saying that she had been dreaming about her wedding ever since she was a little girl, I was somewhat confused. I couldn’t fathom why one would begin to dream about such an adventure at a very young age. She knew the colors, the venue, the flavor of cake, the style of the dress and even the number of people to invite to her wedding. I found out that she was looking forward to such a memorable day because in her family, marriages have always represented love, teamwork and happiness.
Although her family was not perfect, she witnessed the marriages of 3 generations and it brought her hope. She aspired for that kind of life; the idea of finding that special someone who was not just your love but a friend, confidant and greatest fan was always intriguing to her.
A standard had been set before her eyes, a lasting impression had been ingrained in her brain and she could visualize experiencing same at the right time. She was 5 when she begun dreaming and now, at age 42, her dream had finally come true. Planning for her big day was rather easy because she had relived that moment a million times . She had other dreams but the one about marriage was the one most talked about because she understood its significance to the other aspects of her life. So yes, her dream did come to pass and I was honored to be able to share in her joy.
I reflected back on my own life as a child and it struck me that while she was having big plans about what her future and wedding would look like, I was faced with a real need to survive and to remain sane. Although I was in school, my dream, plan, and focus each day was to survive. I was preoccupied with it to the extent that I spent a good portion of my classroom time being distracted by this need. As I grew older, I realized that I struggled to form “big long-term goals” because I was so used to just surviving and thinking on the short term.
Now that I’m much older, I’ve learnt many times over that real life extends beyond just surviving or having enough food to eat. Real life is about making each moment count, using every ounce of life in us for a greater good and fulfilling “purpose”; whatever that “purpose” is. I always say that no man was made to live forever, we are all mortal beings and one day, our time on earth will be done. It would be a tragedy if all we did was just to survive. Goals don’t happen by chance, one has to plan and work towards them earnestly. The good news is that it is never too late to set or change goals.
I’m extremely grateful that I’m in a much better place nonetheless, I know that I could have accomplished a whole lot more given the right conditions. There is some truth to the adage that “we become what we see”. What we present to our children or younger people around us is what they will become. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule but a person’s mind can only stretch as far as the surrounding environment would allow it to. A child can have a dream but if they don’t receive the right support or guidance, it would be much more challenging for them to realize that dream. Have you wondered why children in “developed countries” tend to be more forward thinkers than those in “developing countries”?
It’s not that children in developing countries are any less smart or that those in developed countries have no issues, no, that’s not the case. It’s mainly due to the fact that there are more opportunities and support for children in the developed countries; at least for those who are willing to tap into those resources. So wherever you are, and in all you do, strive to pay it forward by creating the right environment for people (young and old) to dream on. Don’t let people take a long-winded road and suffer the same way you did; show them a better way to aspire and do more. The world becomes a kinder place when we all pay it forward in our own small way.