I think it’s healthy, maybe, to acknowledge that there is a point at which you can give a dream up. Otherwise, it may prevent you from enjoying something you once enjoyed, because you have now attached to it some unattainable dream – some impossible metric of success or capital or achievement or competition – that you don’t know how to (or know that you are unable to) make real.
So, I’ve been working on seeing dreams as things that can be let go of. When I am unable to see that, I tell myself that I’m supposed to pursue every single dream that I have because there must be some reason I have them, right? But this leaves me in a constant feeling of failure – that for anything I do manage to achieve, or for every dream I do manage to get closer to, there are hundreds of other dreams I have that have not made any progress at all on. And to live this way is to hold the weight of a lifetime of unrealized dreams with you wherever you go – with any movement in any one direction being seen not as progress at all, but instead as a failure to move in every other direction you could possibly imagine going.
Instead, maybe, some dreams are just meant to visit for a while, then to be let wander off, unrealized and unachieved.
I suppose what I'm really saying is just that I want to enjoy things again, and maybe to do that I have to give up the hope that my enjoyment of this thing will one day lead me to some goal, to some achievement, to some way to prove that my time and interest in this thing I enjoyed is meaningful or has some purpose. Perhaps I can just enjoy it and need nothing more out of it than simply to enjoy it.
As a kid, I would mistake an animal in the park running away from me as one leading me toward some quest, or treasure, or mission. I believed, truly believed, that one day, one of them would stop and stand on their hind legs and look at me and speak, would lead me into some magical world they had come from to lead me into, and that they would take me to a new world, and, by extension, a new life. And I would chase them, waiting for this to happen, until they ran up a tree, or down a hole, or simply ran away faster than I could run, to somewhere that I couldn’t follow. And after this would happen, I would still just be me, the same me that I’d always be stuck with. And every time, it would just confirm to me that there was no escape, that there would never be an escape from myself.
And now, being older is just to have spent more time becoming comfortable with being unable to escape yourself. Yet still, whenever I see an animal running about out in the world, I like to watch where it runs off to, believing that if I watch it hard enough, one of those times, I know it, I just know that it will stop and stand on its hind legs and look at me and say, “You’ve found me! You’ve found me! And oh, how I’ve been looking for you! Now come! What are you waiting for, come!” and I just know that this, finally, is when my life will really begin.
From "quietly provocative" international best selling author and TV writer Jonny Sun, a weekly illustration and reflection on a personal object close to his heart.