Saturday, January 1, 2022

What Would Make Your Dreams Come True in 2022?

As we bid farewell to 2021 we tend to reflect and judge our hits and misses over the past year—sometimes harshly. Did we do everything we set out to do? What did we fail to do? Were they goals or dreams? First, there are your goals, but at a more prized level, there are your dreams. Both can come true, and both are important.

Let’s face it. On January 1st, most people set goals for the coming year. You’re either going to address relationships with people, develop material gains, take the long-awaited vacation, or maybe earn that credential or certification for a promotion.

Yes, today is the deadline for the goals we set 12 months ago. Some goals we announced to others; others we kept private. We didn’t know what was ahead 365 days ago. Used to be just hard work and determination would lead to achieving goals. That’s standard with goals, but what about with dreams?

What did you dream about doing last year that you thought would really make you happy? Was it finding a special person, a job title you’d only dreamed of, a particular economic milestone…”If only I had ____” then my dreams would come true.

When life takes a downward turn, sometimes our dreams evaporate as quickly as they came. We start swimming in reality and renegotiating what we’ve dreamed about to simply be survive and make it to the next day. Nothing puts a damper on a dream than someone pouring cold water on the idea and reminding us that the chance of our dreams coming true are slim to none.

Children have all kinds of dreams from the time they’re able to talk. One day they might announce they want to fly a spaceship. Others say they might like to travel all over the world, helping people feel better. Still others say they want to own the tallest building in the city. A few say they want to play a professional sport. What do adults tell the children? At least 75% of parents and adults encourage children to dream. Others tell them not to focus on "such nonsense."

Encouragers affirm the concept that their child can be or do anything they want. They might even make them a cape when they announce they want to be a superhero. If the child is lucky, their dreams come true because no one has managed to throw cold water on what may seem to others to be unrealistic goals or expectations.

When do we as adults stop dreaming? Probably as soon as we find there was a dream we couldn’t accomplish. One failure must surely predict another, right? Those who achieve greatness never give up on their dreams. They sacrifice time, money, friendships, whatever it takes to do what they want that others deem “impossible” or “pie-in-the-sky” unattainable.

Why is it that adults feel the need to “bring reality” to children, to suggest they choose another path? To drop out of their dream and re-enter normal life and get used to dreams not being attainable? Maybe it's to cushion them from the grim reality they faced long ago back when they were dreaming "big" and their dream wasn't realized. No matter the reason, it’s the children who don’t let adults dampen their dreams who actually achieve them. How do they do it?

Maybe it’s just a matter of tuning out anyone who tries to dissuade them, and maybe if they’re lucky, along the way, they find mentors who help them achieve their dreams.

The year 2022 offers many opportunities for things to get better than last year. Yes, it’s true we begin on a few notes of uncertainty. There are some standing challenges in the way in all of our lives, but they don’t define us. They don’t have to last the entire year. Those challenges don’t have to rob us of our joy.

When we dream, I’m sure some scientific study or other will show that our body releases endorphins to make us happy. Perhaps holding that dream close to us in our hearts can perpetuate that happy feeling. In the 1960s we were told that one day we might all propel through the sky in rocket belts, or we might have a car like George Jetson did, or a little machine that prepared hot food at the push of a button.

The ironic thing is people possibly assume The Jetsons was the pacesetting dream concept that inspired today's electric cars. In actual fact, you can thank Ford and their 1954 "dream car concept" called the FX-Atmos as the inspiration for the Jetsons' car. You can read more about it here. However, I think we can thank Hanna-Barbera and their writers for the ability to push a button and have the car turn into George's briefcase.

Remember, even Dick Tracy had a cool watch he talked into, and be sure to smile into your iPhone watch a little more as you catch up with a loved one on FaceTime.. Maybe when you win the lotto, you’ll be closer to a ride on the Blue Origin, you might get into your electric car and travel home and warm up your frozen dinner in the microwave. Each of these things started with a dream.

Never give up on your dreams. So often, we are closer than we think and the solution is just one good night's sleep away from reality.

Poet Langston Hughes wrote:

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.

Perhaps while you’re at it, take a moment to encourage a youngster that they, too, can follow their dreams to fruition if they don’t give up. You may be that one person who believes in them and the result will be tomorrow’s newest best idea. That’s just part of what you can in 2022. The rest is up to you. Happy New Year!