In Defense of Dreaming


Platitudes about following your dreams are in no lack of supply.

With their moniker of positivity and nearly dogmatic insistence to consider a life more favorable, perhaps even more magical, than one’s present reality, the passive ease with which we share these messages is pretty common.

Far less available are quotes about the work it takes to achieve the reality we speculate on between our coffee cups at the job we hate, meal prep, or the bills we can’t seem to catch up with. Life, unless you hail from a home of significant financial privilege, doesn’t really make accommodations for our dreams. On the contrary, it provides an ample supply of dead ends, distractions, and reasons why our hopes should wait on the back-burner.

I believe there should be an anti-thesis to life’s ever-bearing prescription of discouragement, but hearing or saying (or sharing) “follow your dreams” doesn’t lead us anywhere at all. What I propose we begin sharing instead are small imperatives of action towards our dreams. Investments made on a daily basis. Active dreaming – “Begin dealing with your resentment so you can be the woman you want to be.” “Don’t make this frivolous purchase so you can be debt-free and own the home you have in mind.” “Remember that contact you made at last week’s conference? Email them. Now.”

I’m not sure about you.

But I don’t do well when I’m not actively dreaming.

When I stop imagining the possibilities I want to achieve for myself, my current and future family, or my career, I slip into a listless shell of myself.

Do you experience this, too?

I observe the lives of others and wonder why I feel like an outlier at times – Hungry to taste everything I’ve ever dreamed of and ridiculous enough to believe it’s possible if I put in the work.

Attending the Time 100 gala.
A consistent career as a writer.
Financial independence by 25.
A new country traveled each year.
A home to someday share with a husband and children.

Some of these dreams (many of which I won’t share, lest they turn into my responsibility) feel silly in their extravagance and others are simple rights I believe every person should be entitled to as a clause within the words “pursuit of happiness.”

I’m aware on the criticisms imposed on my generation – Criticisms that dismiss this ambition and energy by remarking that Millennials don’t have a grasp on the limitations imposed by the current market or corporate culture. However, I can’t entertain them because doing so would mean ceasing to grasp at opportunities for excellence or ingenuity the only way I know how; With unapologetic zeal. Instead, I hope to understand the current state of the industry (and broader context of the world) I belong to in order to most effectively expand or break it’s bounds.

We’re in an interesting space in time where our generation is criticized by fore-comers while we simultaneously transition into positions of leadership at established companies, create new ones, build movements, and inform campaigns.

I look forward to seeing what we build together.

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Author: RJ Bohyn

My name is RJ, I'm a writer and consultant based in the South. If you're reading this, you've arrived at the corner of the internet I've cultivated to share life, reflections on faith, style, and just about everything in between with those generous enough to read.

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