I was having a late-night conversation with my flatmate the other night, and he told me how he wants to be ‘rich’. Not to generalise, but that’s what most guys say when you ask them what they want to be when they grow up: rich. To make lots and lots of money seems like a vain and unfulfilling life goal but there was more to it. He wanted to make seven trillion pounds so that he could have his own country which would have hospitals, a 24/7 district with shopping malls and clubs that never close, on top of that he wanted to give all his friends a house (which all include a swimming pool) each. What I thought was a selfish, bizarre and quite silly life goal turned out to be something quite inspirational. When he asked me what I wanted to be, I said: a successful writer (which seems completely mundane and unambitious next to his crazy dream) he then asked me: why not the best writer in the world? I told him, because that’s unrealistic, and he said I’d achieve way more if I aimed for that than to be any everyday writer as, if he aimed to make seven trillion and own his own country, he would achieve loads just from getting halfway there.
Then having a dream to own a country didn’t seem so unrealistic and childish anymore. It made perfect sense.
When we are growing up, we get asked all the time: ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ And children have no trouble in telling their teachers, they want to be a doctor, nurse, vet, lawyer, businessman/woman, policeman/woman, firefighter etc. yet I know twenty year olds who have no idea what they want to do. I don’t believe it’s because they’re unambitious, it’s just because they’ve been taught that there are things they cannot do, they’ve learnt to be rational about things.
As a kid, I’ve wanted to be almost all the typical occupations under the sun. I wanted to be a doctor but then I discovered my fear of blood and dislike for gory stuff. I wanted to be a vet but again, I cannot stand open wounds. I wanted to be a professional ballerina, but I outgrew ballet. I wanted to be an actor but I can’t act to save my life. I wanted to be a painter, yet I am too impatient. That’s when I discovered that I wanted to be a writer: as cliche as it sounds, I love that I could ‘paint’ an image in someone’s mind with just a few words in seconds (instead of spending ages in front of an easel). I wanted to be so many things yet I didn’t pursue them because something got in the way to make it inconvenient. But I’ve realised nothing is convenient – when you want to do something enough, you do it. Time is never an excuse. You make time just like you make excuses. And the only way to stop making excuses is to have a complete, bursting passion for what you want to do. And I feel, I am so lucky to have found it.
Yet I am still stuck with a problem of not having enough ambition. Not in the sense that I want to lie around the house all day and never do anything. I do what I have to do. Just that, I still cannot bring myself to follow my wildest dreams because to me, they still seem unreasonable.
What I would deem a practical dream: to be a successful writer with a flat in London and a dalmatian.
What I deem as an impractical dream: to be a number-one best selling author, own an apartment walking-distance from Regent’s Park and have seven dogs (including a dalmatian and teacup poodle).
Still. What I deem is an impractical dream still seems practical next to my flatmate’s dream. I wish to rekindle that childlike mindset within myself that anything and everything is practical. I suppose it is more difficult for me, as I have always been quite a practical kid (which sounds like an oxymoron, because why should a kid be practical?) and my most impossible dreams have been to be a mermaid or a princess with her own castle.
But really, I’d love to be able to make a living off of the prose and poetry I write – but more so, to be read in universities and even more so, to be taught in schools where most students groan at the thought of having to read me except for that one kid who is glad they didn’t die before they’ve read me, that words do understand, that what they have to say matters, that they too can inspire because they too can dream, and that they too want to be (and could be) the best writer in the world.
I believe rekindling this childhood silliness and dreaming the ‘impossible’ is something we can all work on. Tell me in the comments what you would consider a practical dream and what is your ‘impossible’ dream you want to achieve if you could achieve anything and everything (you might find that it is harder than it seems).