I want to live in Europe. Western Europe. Okay, London, to be exact, but let it be known I’d also not turn down Spain, Ireland, Belgium and really anywhere else in the U.K.
Writing those words feels vulnerable. In fact, I’ve been trying to avoid doing so. There’s something about writing down this aspiration that feels foolish, especially because it’s been a dream of mine for 7ish years and has yet to come true. I’m still in Chicago – a city I love, don’t get me wrong – but the lack of movement makes me occasionally walk over to my dream, prod it and see if it’s still breathing. Are you alive little dream or have you finally been laid to rest?
Dreams deferred often look dead. On the surface they’re stale, outdated, lifeless.
At some point you put the dream away, out of sight in hopes of it becoming out of mind, and it feels like there’s no way it can be revived. Shelving that deep desire may have been a willing process, a way of making peace with the future. Or maybe there was an air of resignation to the whole thing – a bitterness even. Regardless, it is no more…
“I can’t pursue that career, that creative passion or [in my case] that city any longer,” you protest. “When I decided to take the fork in the road that led me here I said goodbye to that future.”
But did you really? Or did you just say see you later?
You see, when you took that fork in the road you did part ways with the dream. But I believe that in many cases what looks like a forever goodbye is often leading us to a proximate reunion.
This path, the one you’re on, may be difficult and dark and unfamiliar and winding and seemingly endless. It may look like it’s veering to the left when you know you just saw the dream take a turn for the right. But our paths twist and turn in mysterious ways and the dreams that are burrowed down deep enough in our hearts will never fully go away. They’ve become a part of us.
It’s true that some must remain there, a fond memory or an unrequited aspiration. A seedling that may never fully grow. But you must hold onto hope and keep watering that precious little seed. You must continue to believe that the waiting will make you stronger.
For some dreams that’s what’s necessary – a deeper strength. This particular path can feel like the scenic route. But those are the dreams that, when it’s all said and done, allow you to turn and look at the path behind you and say, “Ah, now it all makes sense. I see where this was going. I see why that was necessary.”
Dreams deferred can be redeeming, beautiful even. With some time you’ll see that – beneath the surface – they’re fresh, new, alive.
They just needed space, and you needed growth. And now that you’re reunited, big things can happen. It’s the beginning of something new, but something that’s also been in motion since the very birth of the dream.
The postponement may be a struggle, speaking from personal experience. But postponement doesn’t necessarily mean the dream deferred is dead. I have to believe it is still very much alive.