Every Great Dream Begins with a Dreamer

“Don’t let today’s disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dreams.” ~Unknown

As a little kid I liked to dream—big, whether it was believing my red-Huffy bicycle would one day turn into a Transformer or convincing myself that as an adult I’d be spending much of my time in Hollywood hosting “The Price is Right.” As I said, I liked to dream big. I still do sometimes.

If we think back to our childhood, we all can remember a time when our dreams didn’t seem that far away from us.

I remember spending countless hours in my basement pretending I was a rock star on my make believe stage. There I’d be holding my microphone (nothing more than the cardboard tube from the paper towel roll) belting out song after song from a collection of 45’s.

Truthfully I never really did sing as much as I bounced around like other rockers I saw on television. Yet I still believed there was always a chance that one day I’d be singing on stage with the best of them.

Well, puberty fixed that for me. And while my wife believes my voice isn’t half bad, I couldn’t really carry a tune if it had handles on it. Though I still like to pretend when I sing along with the car radio—windows closed of course.

Whether you’re a kid or an adult I guess there’s never really a shortage of big dreams in this world. Why should there be?

I mean what’s the harm for a young ball player to dream that one day he’ll hit the most homeruns of any major league baseball player or the high school actress who fantasizes about having her name on a Broadway marquee?

And what about the frustrated adult who dreams of a career that inspires their heart and soul rather than simply pays their bills? 

Woodrow T. Wilson once said “We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter’s evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true.”

Sadly, we all begin to see the world for what it is as we go from dependent child to independent adult. The dreams we once had get crushed by life’s realities and unplanned circumstances.

I recently overheard a conversation from a group of middle agers who felt they were too old to have hopes and dreams anymore. That dreams were for kids who still believed in fairy tales and Santa Claus.

It dawned on me that this small group of adults was echoing sentiments probably felt by many, and certainly attributing to the pessimistic attitude we’ve adopted today.

Believe me, I understand how life can be daunting at times—unfair and cruel even. Life could be compared to the Olympics—diversified in its participants and never lacking in its challenges.

Going for the gold is not always easy when the competition of everyday life can cause even the most motivated competitors to give up on their dreams.

Everyone plays, some give up before ever starting, and others will spend a lifetime trying to succeed. 

But the opportunity exists for all of us to claim victory.

Sometimes I’m amazed that I’ll be 37 years old this year. There are times I sit back and think of all the things I thought I’d have accomplished by now, which does nothing but put me in a funk for the rest of the day.

But then my wife, whom I’ve been honored to be married to for the last ten years, reminds me of all the blessings I have been given. Dreams that have actually come to fruition and yet are so often overlooked.

For me I’ve had the good fortune to work on two Off-Broadway productions, I’ve won awards for my songwriting, screenwriting, and graphic design work, for almost 10 years I had my own newspaper column and found unconditional love with a woman I never thought I deserved.

They all were dreams fulfilled and they should never be forgotten.

I’ve had some successes in my life, but I thought at this age I’d be further along in my career, both financially and professionally, have a few published novels under my belt, and maybe even a Grammy Award winning song or Oscar Nominated screenplay.

Yes they’re still dreams I guess and there’s no reason I shouldn’t keep on hoping and dreaming that someday they just might come true, just as the others did.

That’s the thing about dreams—they never expire unless you let them.

Life can be a continual challenge filled with unforeseen events we struggle to navigate through—no one is arguing that point. But the road can be made a little easier if you continue to foster the idea that dreams still beat in your heart.

Many times they’re buried under a sea of responsibilities and duties we frequently clutter our lives with, but they’re still there nonetheless.

Maybe it’s time to simplify your life, to take a look in the mirror and remember what it was like to hope and dream for the future. Ask yourself, “is there anything I can do right now?” Maybe it’s joining a local theater group, an amateur sports league, taking a cooking class or even enrolling on a dating site.

Our dreams might seem big at times, but the utter pleasure we receive by fulfilling them might be closer than we think.

No one can predict our fate, regardless of the fictitious picture we create in our heads. So why not think positively and continue to hope and dream with the childlike naivety we all abandoned so many years ago?

See if there are ways to make your dreams a reality, even on a much smaller scale. Believe me the personal accomplishment is worth more than the accolades.

As Harriet Tubman said “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars—to change the world.”

Photo by allison_johnston

About Craig Ruvere

Craig Ruvere is an award-winning writer, marketer, and designer living in Northern Colorado. For ten years he was an editorial columnist for The Leader newspaper in New Jersey, and currently maintains the popular blog, The View from Here—celebrating over 500 posts in the last four years. He’s also a prolific songwriter and poet who vows one day to try his hand at oil painting.

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  • TJ

    Your article resonates with where I am at, at this point in life. A dream that took hold years ago has got to a feverish pitch; but circumstances at present seem complex to be able to embark upon that journey I have yearned for. There are days where it all seems like nonsense and I tell myself it is silly to hope, be ‘realistic’. But there are other days when the day passes in the glory of that one day.
    I guess dreams give us hope and hope keeps us going. And in the end its a choice to give up or keep going. Because I think for all of us there has been atleast one instance in our life where a dream has come true. The key maybe is to remember that it has happened before and there is nothing stopping from happening again. As long as we nurture that sense of splendour and wonder that is a dream.
    Thank you for your words.

  • After the Grammy awards last night, this post couldn’t have been timed better =) My dad use to be a songwriter in his hay day and has a couple wonderful songs (that were produced and recorded by well known artists) to still boast about. As a child I wanted more than anything to be singer and sing those songs my father wrote that never made it and were stored away in a shoe box. I have done some singing, taken lessons and performed a few times but my fear of being embarrassed on stage has kept me from it all. There are of course other dreams I have not gotten to as well and those are even more “realistic” but here I am a mom and Navy wife that complains of little to no time. And although on some level it is true, there is NO reason I still cannot dream and do my best to follow those childish aspirations.

    Just like you also stated… I have so many dreams that have already come true. I tend to overlook them on a daily basis and when the going gets tough but man have I been blessed beyond my wildest dreams already!

    Thank you for your post and of the much needed reminder of what we can really be if we continue to set our minds to it. We are never to old for dreams =)

  • Thislittlelark

    Keep on dreaming… 🙂 “this little lark” started with a big dream and each day it is unfolding before my eyes! Feeling blessed to maintain this mindset… thank you for sharing your thoughts! Blessings!

  • Rick

    Its not necessarily a dream, as much as it is a long-term goal.

  • Kalypso Kent

    You’re 37. It all still seems very possible at your age. When you grow up in a reality that makes you feel fortunate if you find any job at all, it makes you cynical from the get go. I was among those who gave up before even trying.  And yet – right when I hit 38, I found love and working exactly at what I prepared myself for. Of course, dreams mean also disillusionment, that is, you find out that what you once dreamed is not what was cracked up to be, but still life can – and does – surprise you, when you last expect it.

  • Craig Ruvere

    I continue to dream that one day I will have one of my books published, even though the reality is that may never come to fruition. Still, there’s no harm in continuing the dream – no matter how silly it might seem at times. Sometimes the dream is all that keeps you going.

  • Craig Ruvere

    While I know 37 is not old, in the wake of Whitney Houston’s death, you just never know when life will be taken from you. My point being, don’t live your life like there’s always a tomorrow.

  • Craig Ruvere

    Either way, it’s never easy to accomplish either. But we keep on trying 🙂

  • Craig Ruvere

    Thank you all for responding to my post. It is a “blessing” to be able to write for such a wonderful group of readers.

  • Craig Ruvere

    Life can truly crush our dreams if we let it. I myself am a songwriter and can understand what it’s like to have a box filled with music that no one will hear. But they added value to my life and you never know what the future will hold. Sometimes we just need a reminder and a little push to remember the dreams we’ve dismissed. I think you might have just reminded me of one 🙂 Thanks 🙂

  • I have been thinking recently about my defining my dreams more these days and removing the obstacles between myself and my goals. I love how dreams take shape and transform as you go through life. Thanks for sharing a clear and inspiring vision of what it means to dream big. 

  • Corinna Martinez

    Craig, no reason why you cannot be published before that book gets bound. Through social media outlets you can be published and well known. In fact, it can allow the likelihood of your dream to come true because you will be a known entity with a large platform.
    Keep dreaming but more importantly, keep writing and posting until you have enough followers and content to create your book proposal for the right publishing outlet.

    Best wishes – Corinna

  • Craig Ruvere

    Thank you Corinna…the dream is STILL alive and well. Now I just need to find the time to do it  🙂  All the best…

  • Craig Ruvere

    Hey, even small dreams can have a big impact, right?
    “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” Fred Rogers

  • Rich

    Very very good. Thank you

  • Tinarose29

    ‘Believe me, I understand how life can be daunting at times—unfair and cruel even. Life could be compared to the Olympics—diversified in its participants and never lacking in its challenges.’, This sentence describes my life very well, but I have not stopped dreaming, sometimes I feel I am living my dream and even if its just make believe it makes me happy because I know that one day it will come true. I believe that one should NEVER stop dreaming!!! :))

  • Craig Ruvere

    Let’s face it…dreaming is free and harmless if you don’t allow it to blur your reality. What people so often fail to realize is dreaming keeps you motivated and moving forward. If we always looked at life as a sea of disappointments, then life is void of any real value. Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Craig Ruvere

    Let’s face it…dreaming is free and harmless if you don’t allow it to blur your reality. What people so often fail to realize is dreaming keeps you motivated and moving forward. If we always looked at life as a sea of disappointments, then life is void of any real value. Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Craig Ruvere

    Thanks for taking the time to comment…much appreciated 🙂