Don’t stop dreaming.

I don’t believe in placing a moratorium on dreams. Dreams should be plentiful regardless of your age, how much money is in your bank account, or whether or not you went to college. I don’t care if you are fit and spry, arthritic and slow, or fat and happy. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got little kids or grown kids, two or seven, angels or rebels. I think we should all have dreams.

As I grew up, I had plenty! I had the standard kid dreams – graduate from college, get married, live in a nice house, have kids (a boy first and a girl second). I daydreamed about travel – hear the roar of Niagara Falls, take in the lights of Las Vegas, marvel at the vastness of the Grand Canyon, see the grandeur of Mt. Rushmore. And I had girly, fun dreams – admire the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, kiss in Central Park, stroll hand-in-hand with my man on the beach, wear sparkly jewelry to swanky events.

I could create a Word document listing all my dreams and have a single-spaced, 4-page diatribe in no time.

(Can I just pause to say I’m thrilled to have grown up without smart phones and technology, so I actually had time and space to dream? There’s that.)

Another dream realized? I married right. This man, bless his soul, has entertained and facilitated pretty much any dream I brought to the table since he kissed the bride in 1999. My dreams became his, his became mine, and we’ve accomplished most all of them together.

(I’m pausing again to say that this is why you have to make good life choices, Kids.)

So do dreams run out? Are you ever without dreams? Do you need a dream facilitator like mine?

Sometimes your dreams seem impossible. Life gets hard, and all your dreams seem out of reach. You can’t go to Yosemite if you’re broke. You can’t get away to explore the Metropolitan Museum of Art if you don’t even have a sitter for date night. You won’t be hiking the Appalachian Trail if you’re in poor health.

Sometimes you feel guilty about pursuing your dreams. You won’t go back to school, because your kids deserve your focus. You squash the desire to start a business, because it would drain your bank account.

Sometimes you have fear about actually making a dream come true. You give up on that edgy, short hair style in the brazen, rich auburn color you adore, because you’re afraid of the reaction you’ll receive. You just can’t stomach the vulnerability required to sing in public, let alone audition for that local theater role…scary! Packing up your family and moving to the New England coast would mean leaving behind a life you know. Oh, the risk!

Sometimes you believe you’ve accomplished enough. You’ve seen the Statue of Liberty. You’ve heard the Westminster chime. You rode the Staten Island Ferry. You witnessed live birth, taught a child to read, watched your boy graduate from boot camp, survived breast cancer.

Before you know it…POOF…you’ve settled. No more dreams. The status quo is fine, you take no risks, you make the best of what you have (or at least stifle any urges to complain about it). You even convince yourself that dreams are silly, for whatever reason, and close the door leaving no crack through which any new possibilities might seep.

Y’all, please don’t abandon your dreams. Never stop dreaming. There is PLENTY still left to achieve.

Maybe you start saving for what you most desire. Maybe you work toward surrounding yourself with the support you’ll need to accomplish the thing you’ve coveted. Maybe you work on the parts of you that feel guilty or afraid so you ultimately feel more confident and decisive.

I vote that we keep a running list of dreams in our heads at all times. I insist that we always look for new opportunities for personal fulfillment. We must. It’s how we have hope. It’s how we live abundant, gratifying lives. It’s how we give and take from the world, make the best of it, and improve it.

I invite you today to dream. If you already do, good for you! I’m right there with you, full of ridiculous plans to do and see more and more awesome things! If you’ve stopped dreaming, please start back. Imagine even the smallest of pleasures. Visualize the simplest of joys. Consider the best parts of you that could be shared with others. Come up with a few dreams right now.

Some of the best things haven’t happened to you yet. There are people out there who haven’t loved you yet. Experiences await you. If you stop dreaming, if you stop looking forward, you’ll miss all that.

Published by Amanda Herring, Writer

Practical wisdom, joys and pains, motivation and tough love, from the perspective of a Mississippi mom, traveler, business owner, goal crusher, substance seeker, and full-time dreamer

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