If you can dream it, you can achieve it…

It sounds really nice, doesn’t it? Makes you just want to jump up and seize the day. It’s inspiring, optimistic, and hopeful.

It’s also not true.

Look, I hate to be the one who spoils this for you, but not all dreams come true. They just don’t. Sometimes an impossible dream it just that – an impossible dream. Sometimes dreams slowly dissolve. Sometimes they flame out in spectacular fashion. And then there are those that walk up to you, call your mother bad names, spit in your face, kick you in the crotch, and cover you in dirt before finally walking away.

Yes, I am sort of down on dreams at the moment.

I am not as cold-hearted as I may seem. I believe in dreams. Right now, I am pursuing a dream by taking college Screen-Shot-2015-07-07-at-7.31.20-AM-840x420courses to obtain a masters degree. I fully believe this dream is achievable. I have great respect for those who never quit on their dreams, the entrepreneurs, the innovators, the pioneers, those guys who beat the course on American Ninja Warrior. Seeing someone realize their dream is a beautiful thing to behold.

What we have to brace ourselves for, however, are those dreams which do not come true. Time and time again, I have found myself incredibly ill-equipped to handle these, mainly because it is so ingrained in us to never, ever give up on a dream. As much as I hate to say it, there are times when you just gotta let it go. It’s not going to feel good. You’re going to feel like a failure. You may wonder if you’ll ever have a dream again. But walking away sure beats banging your head up against the same concrete wall over and over and over again. Some obstacles are just not going to be moved, not matter how hard we try.

I am not saying all this to disparage dreaming. What I hope, rather, is to attain some balance. As much as a dream realized can lift us to new heights, a dream deferred can crush us totally. We have to be prepared for the fact that we will not always get exactly what we want, no matter how much we may want it or how much work we may put toward it. Some hills simply do not want to be taken. We have to learn to discern between the fights which can be won and the ones which cannot. I wish there was a formula to identify which is which, but there isn’t. Some of my dreams have nearly killed me. I approach them with caution now.

As you can tell, this post really has nothing to do with music, but a couple of Van Halen songs have been running through my head today as I thought about all this. One is the determined and positive “Dreams,” off of the 5150 album. The other is the dark and cynical “The Dream is Over,” off the 1991 album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Sometimes the dream is worth chasing, and sometimes it’s time to “dream another dream.” I wish you all the luck in the world in distinguishing between the two.

You’re going to need it.

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