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  • Nan Russell

Why Our Dreams Matter

“That’s my dream,” I overheard her say to a friend in the dressing room next to mine. “But it will never happen.” She added quietly, “I might as well forget it.” What caught my heart was the ache in her voice.

Those overheard words happened decades ago when I was considering giving up on my own dream of being a writer. A remembered line from the movie Flashdance nudged me to consider that: “When you give up your dream, you die.” Around the same time, my husband gave me a plaque reading “Dream Really Big” in bright colors. It still graces my office bookshelf. He knew, like I did, something in my soul would die if I gave up.

Years later, I’m happy to report I’m working on my seventh book. That in no way implies my writing path has, or is, rock-free. What I’ve learned is persistence matters especially when life-happens momentum causes setbacks, self-doubt infests thinking, or outside voices dampen hope. Certainly, the risk of pain, disappointment and difficulties can hamper our dreams. But what I’ve come to understand is that, for me, the biggest risk was not pursuing it.

We all have dreams. Some we keep secret afraid to pursue or share for fear they’ll disintegrate if we do. Others we test drive, putting them away if the road becomes difficult, long, or hard to follow. And then there are the dreams, once acknowledged, that haunt us until we find a way to manifest them. Some dreams hold the promise of new beginnings, the craziness of audacity, or hopes for a gentler world. Some are about you, some about those you love, and some about people you don’t even know.

Bottom line? Our dreams matter. Their pursuit gives our passion meaning, helping us navigate life, and plant seeds of possibility, imagination, and potential for ourselves and others. The pursuit of dreams enables us to share our gifts and talents, keeping us alive, in the deepest sense. Big dreams. Little dreams. Any dreams. When we pursue them, they can inspire, encourage, and transform us to be who we are capable of being, even if we don’t achieve them all.

So, celebrate your dreams and aspirations. Celebrate your progress. And celebrate those you know who have the courage and persistence to pursue their dreams or encourage yours.


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