What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up?
Like a raisin in the Sun?
Or fester like a sore-
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-
Like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?
Only a handful of poems have resonated within me and “Harlem” by Langston Hughes is definitely one of them. I remember writing it down on a piece of paper and decorating it. It was one of the pictures selected to feature on my classroom wall and I was really proud of that moment. However, being so young, I had not fully grasped the meaning of the poem until I was much older. Not many children at that age have dreams that keep them awake at night and so the possibility of a dream deferred was lost on me.
However, now I understand that my dreams are important in the fulfilment of my goals and to some extent form my identity and so when I allow fear to stop me from dreaming, I am doing myself a huge disservice. So the question I wish to pose now is; when was the last time you truly dreamed? I mean really dreamed, beyond what you do when you close your eyes at night or when your mind wanders off during the day. When was the last time you thought about doing something beyond your reach and the prospect of it makes you feel giddy and nervous all at the same time? When was the last time you laid aside your inhibitions and asked yourself what do you want from life?
Many fault the dreamers for their inability to act, and whilst I agree that action is necessary in the fulfillment of your goals, we mustn’t forget that many goals started off as dreams. The time-line of several business ventures, various projects, brand names, career aims, objectives and even revolutions began as dreams. The great Nelson Mandela had a dream that one day his grandchildren would not be judged by the color of their skin, but that apartheid would be eradicated and there would a united nation of races in South Africa. The harmonious multicolored nature of South Africa today is a product of those desires; a great legacy for generations to come. But what if Nelson Mandela hadn’t dreamed at all? We have to understand that the dream or vision must always come before the results. Thus, I don’t fault the dreamers; my only fault is with those who condemn the dreamers for dreaming. “You’re such a dreamer” has become a derogatory phrase and has unfortunately created a generation of young people who don’t dream
The youth are the future but if they lack the vision to bring their goals to fruition then our future is uncertain. I’m afraid that our society has stifled dreams, especially ones that go against the corporate paradigm. Having a 9-5 job is often esteemed, whilst chasing a creative career for instance, is sometimes belittled. This is not to say that corporate jobs shouldn’t be chased but only depicts societal attitudes. I’m weary of old clichés, simply because many of them have no real value but this one rings true; “…the best things in life are free.” Dreaming costs nothing; having a vision costs nothing so if you are going to dream, don’t dream small. Dream big!
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