When is it too late for your dreams to come true? Say you have spent the past thirty years working very hard, and developing a story of your life. Suddenly you have finally triumphed, and achieved the opportunity to accomplish your highest goal. And we should withdraw such claims from our ordinary loves of money and fame; let us disregard such crude lusts as power, and things, and an endless supply of sex. While all of these possessions may fulfill a momentary whim, our deepest desires have less to do with what you’ve gotten for something, but with what it is you have actually done.
We all yearn for something that is just out of reach. Even the most successful among us have missed out on something, and often consider with bitterness what it is they have never been able to gain. There is always some residual blame to go around, wading through the lavished prizes of an otherwise well led life. But, as they say, money cannot buy happiness, and this is of course true. But money can certainly distract you from misery a lot better than a hovel, two screaming kids, a spouse you have come to despise, and some processed food, with coupons downloaded on your thousand dollar i-Phone.
Love is something we prioritize, and it can certainly make life worth living. But there is a deeper danger involved with giving so much of yourself up to another: things will never stay the same, and a true love romance will always sink into moments of suicidal doubt. Such occasions will force you to question your very existence. You will wonder if everything you have ever held sacred is worth it.
But then there are the perpetual dreamers, those incredibly hard workers who find themselves always in over their heads, their ambitions simply too high for their time and talents. These are the people who usually must sacrifice everything in order to reach their goal and, by doing so, destroy the reasons they undertook this road in the first place. Yes, ambition can destroy a family, can rupture close relationships, and can completely ruin your life. There are endless examples in both truth and fiction of this phenomenon, of some noble individual doing everything they can to save their part of the world, and imposing a fragment of happiness so deep that they lose themselves in the process, and turn all their hoped for joy into the horror and shame of a sodden tragedy.
I write this on the precipice of entering a doorway I have been seeking for a very long time. Within weeks I shall be involved in something I have been dreaming about–in fact something that might be the very reason I ever lived on this earth, this story I have to tell. It really does go back a long way, well before I could have mattered to the specifics of this project, and my own shadowy influence should be negligible at best. But this is the flame of ambition. If you can claim a place within a far larger picture, yet remain an aloof outsider, narrating a vision of life that is almost entirely outside of your own experience, yet somehow still fuse yourself into the new world you’ve created in your mind, this is quite an accomplishment. This is the stuff of dreams. It will definitely change your life.
But there is a cost, as there is with everything. And sometimes we cannot gauge the price. Are we willing to give up everything–everything you have achieved up to this moment in your life–in order to pursue an ambition whose end is not very clear and is certainly far from sight? Very few of us are willing to take this leap, and even more do not recognize the moment when it comes. Is life all about facing, and overcoming, these inevitable dangers, or is survival merely the process of settling, of realizing that what you already have isn’t so bad, and that you know you can be happy, and that all of those things you wanted back before you were grown are not as important as you once thought they were. Fame. Riches. The world.
How do we face our dreams when they finally come into the light? And is it worth your dear life to save your soul in the secular, godless world of personal ambition?