Dream beyond a Dream

Dream and give yourself permission to envision a You that you choose to be‘ – Joy Page. Today, we have our ‘Premium Blogger‘ Shivya with a wonderful post at your Adda. Shivya, the post is all yours. 🙂

In the last few months, I have received several emails and Facebook messages from long-lost friends and complete strangers, telling me their life’s dream and seeking advise on how to chase it. I am no life coach or motivation speaker to tell them that nothing is impossible. The only reason their dreams have landed in my inbox is because one year ago  I quit my cushy corporate job in Singapore to do the one thing I love – travel. I am now a travel blogger, I write for travel publications, I run a small travel enterprise in India, and I freelance for travel companies in the online space.

As kids, we are encouraged to dream, both at home and in school, about what we may want to be when we grow up – astronauts, writers, detectives, or just about anything that tickles our fancy. A few years later, the same people tell us to suck it up, face reality, and aspire to be engineers and doctors, and in the more recent version of growing up, investment bankers. We lock up our childhood dreams, which have now evolved into something more concrete, in a quiet corner of our heads and swallow the key. We throw away our creative hats and bow our heads, now to crack the board exams, now to pass the entrance exams, now to make it through college, now to land in a good MBA school, now to fight for the best ‘package’, now to settle down aka get married and have kids. 10 years later, no one cares how much we scored in our boards (do you even remember?) and it doesn’t matter if we remember the definition of a good leader. We have however, started looking for that key we swallowed.

Last week, a gentleman from Pune wrote to me about how he has wanted to travel across India and the world, and study each country from a historical perspective. It’s been his dream ever since he took his first trip with his father and read his first history book. He has put that dream on hold, first because it didn’t impress his parents, then because he couldn’t really build a career out of it, and now in his early forties, he thinks it might be too late, what with a wife and two kids who rely on him financially.

Somewhere deep down, he probably knows how he could have fought his battles differently. So, I tried to show him that he still has important choices to make. A bulk of his expenses goes towards his children’s education, i.e. towards the same system that crushed his dreams. Would he consider home-schooling them? His day job is IT, but that still leaves him with evenings and weekends where he could slowly start pursuing his dream. Could he try to get associated with a historical researcher and travel weekends? The possibilities are still endless, I told him, but also a factor of what he is willing to sacrifice. I never heard back from him and to be honest, I don’t know everything about his life and situation to think that he can still chase his dream.

His story and the stories of many others usually start and end the same way, with the thought that you have to be really lucky to spend your life doing the one thing you love. I think luck is a small factor, definitely smaller than the things you’ll sacrifice on the way. Definitely smaller than the perseverance you need to win your battles. And battles, there will be plenty. From my own experience, I’ll tell you this: If you want it badly enough, you’ll find a way to convince your parents, you’ll find the guts to tread paths that only a handful have trod before and you’ll find ways to make at least enough money to survive. If after all this you don’t make it, you won’t spend half your life wondering what if you had tried.

His story makes me wonder about my many friends, who Facebook tells me are already getting married and having kids. Are they putting their dreams on hold too? Dreams that don’t revolve around 9 to 6 jobs, dreams that they have been told all their lives are silly and impractical, dreams that are different from what the Indian society categorizes as worth aspiring for. I hope not.

Shivya blogs at The Shooting Star, tweets @shivya, and can be reached at shivyanath@gmail.com.

19 Replies to “Dream beyond a Dream”

  1. I am in B.tech final year at NIT Durgapur. It’s the high time for the campus placement. As a matter of fact, I have to sit for the PI tomorrow. But I personally don’t want to go for a Boring job where all day 9 to 6 you have to sit in front of the computer screen and that’s it. I mean all that mugging and crapping in 11th & 12th class, preparing for IIT and AIEEE and now this so called ‘Dream Job’ is something which I never wanted to do in the first place. So why should I continue doing something which I hate it with my guts. But with this thought there comes the FEAR.

    But this article has really inspired me. I think, I still have the time to pursue my dream and you know what, I am going to go for it.

    Thanks a ton. It was a great read.

  2. Hello Shivya,

    Without being apologetic about it..the article seems to convey that dreams can only be exotic and unconventional..astronaut/ writer / detective / traveller. What about the dreams of millions of middle class students about seeing their parents live in their own homes, which can be done only by earning well..by being a doctor, engineer or civil service officer ( I am 2 (doctor and a civil service officer) of them, and can vouch for the motivation behind these dreams..)..What does a country need more? a doctor or a writer..an engineer or biologist..these questions are awkard and raise tough issues!
    I do not intend to be a mood-spoiler but this aspect had to be acknowledged!
    No dream is less worthy however boring it may be!

  3. Living one’s dreams is not everybody’s cup of tea. And living one’s dreams is definitely not about happiness. At best, one can be satisfied with their choice as they are doing something that they like, want and are good at.

    I know something about living one’s dreams because I am one of the people doing it. While things may be rosy as long as we have a decent bank balance, we have to face the reality once it dries up. With a little money in the bank, and one’s passionate venture not making enough money, try facing life situations. I have been there and I have done it. It is no joke.

    It’s certainly not so sweet when 75% of our time is spent on freelance assignments that pay us lesser. The only consolation is – Remaining 25% is still higher than 0% that we may get to work on our passions, while working.

    I am not discouraging people from following their passions. But know the consequences of what you are going to face. The Reality. Plan for how you are going to handle increasingly difficult situations, as they come. Because they will come. Do you have the heart/will and can you expect your family to support you?

    The author of this post is doing it, I am doing it, and there is no reason why someone else can’t do it. Just remember that when the going gets tough, the tough doesn’t automatically get going. You’ll have to push it hard. As if your life depends on it. And that’s going to be no fun.

    Security has its advantages over adventure/thrill. Parents know it. Everyone knows it.

  4. lovely post shivya- I always believe in Paulo Coelho’s eternal words- if you truly want something then the universe conspires in helping you achieve it 🙂

  5. Well said, Shivya! It’s about taking that first step… it’s about coming out of your comfort zones, it’s about overcoming the fear of the unknown… when all this is done, everything falls in place and nothing comes between you and your dream!

  6. You are kind of right, when you say, (my interpretation…)

    Weigh in your options, before you take a plunge into the unknown..Being in India, thinking away from the mainstream takes a lot of guts, especially for the middle class…who have to day in an day out struggle for their health conscious brown bread and even more expensive butter…with rising costs..dreaming a dream also seems expensive…and we are knocked back to reality by the harsh sword of the budget and inflation…and the apathetic condition of the country’s economy…

    Having said all this, the most hardest part between the battle between the heart v/s mind for following ones passion or give in to the 9-5…comes ones strong urge to fulfill ones desire and have the patience to fight the battle till the end..only then one can think of taking the plunge….

    I like the quote from Superman..where it says…’With great power comes great responsibility’…so if one happens to choose to live life on ones own terms..then he has to have the courage to own up to it..whatever comes his way….if one has answers to all these questions..then one surely is free to follow ones passion….

    Author – The Cup of Life – A journey towards Self contemplation

  7. I think you have to be truly lucky to be living your dream. I always feel that we take responsibility for our actions and attribute our success to our own determination to making things happen but believe me, there is a Hand Above who guide our actions and leads us to do the things we do. So it He wants you to live your dream, He will show you the way.

  8. Well written 🙂 Inspiring, people can start thinking what they should do in order to resolve their fobia of jumping out of the well, and try out the ocean to swim in 🙂 Thanks 🙂

  9. Yes,you are right.Such an inspirational article.
    But yes of-course we should see dreams with open eyes.I think like this.I love bmw <3
    You can say that its my dream but i am just mad for BMW.Whenever I see it I forget every time that I am riding the bike.So seeing it,i get inspiration to get my love.

  10. hey Shivya,
    very well said.Your’s and my views are somewhere same.I wrote a similar post too…HIDDEN DREAMS.Feel good if you will give a look to it.



  11. Great words shivya… Dreaming to be big is always very easy but achieving it very hard one. I totally agrees your point. dream with perfect planning and implementation can take us to big success. thanks for this encouraging post.

  12. Such a beautiful blog. It filled my heart! All you need is a little courage to pursue the life of your dreams. Thank you Shivya for this blog

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