As children, one of the most common essay topics was to write about what we wanted to do in our lives, our dreams, aims and visions of our lives in the future. Ranging from being an astronauts to travelling around the world or being a chef or baker par excellence, the possibilities were endless.
“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.” Lao Tzu
As we grew older, practicalities marred by realism as well as distractions and disappointments tempered by changing dreams set in. Along the way some changed their dreams, few lost them and some of us held onto them. As we nurtured the dreams and made them big, at times we lose the touch of reality and get dejected by the disappointments and setbacks. Life always has its’ own curve-balls that it often yields. It’s how we tackle them that makes one’s dream grow strong and live on.
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” J.K. Rowling
Very often, the dreams of childhood are like the sandcastles, that we build as children. As we strengthen the fortress with walls and moats, having most fun by building and creating with sand; deep inside one knows that eventually everything has the possibility of being washed down by the sea. Though one knows that all can be gone with a wave, we still build the sandcastles on the beach, for that is the fun of playing with the sand.
“Dream becoming reality runs like water between the fingers.” Willem Elsschot
Likewise when dreams are there deep inside, one should try to make them come true; nurturing them slowly, not losing hope, letting them build their roots strong, knowing that all dreams do come to an end or branch out in a different turn. Doing so will help us face life, so that as and when life takes it’s due course, one stays happy within both in the heart, mind and soul. Dreams are meant to be build and strengthened, but unless one enjoys the process of building and living the dream, there’s no point in chasing them.
“When you have a dream that you can’t let go of, trust your instincts and pursue it. But remember: Real dreams take work, They take patience, and sometimes they require you to dig down very deep. Be sure you’re willing to do that.” Harvey Mackay
Just as the child on the beach building life size castles becomes an engineer in real life. However on growing up and living the dream as an engineer or builder by career doesn’t merely involve juggling paperwork, new assignments, delegating the work or signing new contracts and raising new projects as well empires of financial investment, profits and capital gains; but also to enjoy the art of building them. Instead one is often submerged by the amount of stress, financial hurdles or losses as well practical constraints; such that one forgets to enjoy the gift of home, family, relationships, joy, life and talent given to each one of us. On building dreams, staying grounded in reality helps one to not only to achieve them better but aids to live life to the fullest in the process.
On a warm summer day at a beautiful beach a little boy on his knees scoops and packs the sand with plastic shovels into a bucket. He upends the bucket on the surface and lifts it. And, to the delight of the little architect, a castle tower is created. He works all afternoon spooning out the moat, packing the walls, building sentries with bottle tops and bridges with Popsicle sticks. With his hours of hard work on the beach a sandcastle will be built. In a Big city with busy streets and rumbling traffic, a man works in an office. He shuffles papers into stacks, delegates assignments, cradles the phone on his shoulder and punches the keyboard with his fingers. He juggles with numbers, contracts get signed and much to the delight of the man, a profit is made. All his life he will work. Formulating the plans and forecasting the future. His annuities will be sentries and Capital gains will be bridges. An empire will be built.
The two builders of the two castles have very much in common. They both shape granules into grandeurs. They both make something beautiful out of nothing. They both are very diligent and determined to build their world. And for both, the tide will rise and the end will come. Yet that is where the similarities cease. For the little boy sees the end of his castle while the man ignores it. As the dusk approaches and the waves near, the child jumps to his feet and begins to clap as the waves wash away his masterpiece. There is no sorrow. No fear. No regret. He is not surprised, he knew this would happen. He smiles, picks up his tools and takes his father’s hand, and goes home.
The man in his sophisticated office is not very wise like the child. As the wave of years collapses on his empire, he is terrified. He hovers over the sandy monument to protect it. He tries to block the waves with the walls he made. He snarls at the incoming tide. “It’s my castle,” he defies. The ocean need not respond. Both know to whom the sand belongs.
“Go ahead and build your dreams, but build with a child’s heart. When the sun sets and the tides take – applaud. Salute the process of life and go home with a smile.”