Pulling The Plug On A Dream

Some people give up easily. They keep a close eye on the sky; if a cloud happens by, they’re out of here. Dream’s over. Pack it up. Put it away. These Pollyannas aren’t really dreamers. Maybe quick buck artists. Perhaps dilettantes who never stick to anything. But they’re not dreamers. Then there are heavy-duty dreamers who never give up. If drooling, man-eating aliens land on their front lawn, the never-say-die types see it as a great headline for an ad. The aliens would be burping and politely dabbing their snouts with a napkin before these diehards notice their peril. Somewhere between those two extremes may come a need to let go of a dream. If it’s a real dream and not a passing fancy, the tipping point is closer to drooling aliens than to a slight chance of rain, but we have to be aware of the possibility. Everybody’s tempted to give up from time to time, whatever the undertaking, but this isn’t about everyday stuff. We’re talking about dreams: our heart of hearts, goal of goals, the motor that energizes us and puts a spring in our step. When do we pull the plug on a dream? •We shouldn’t give up when the dream still lights our days and a door or two stands slightly ajar, if not completely open. If we’re happy to hear the alarm clock every morning because it means we can move our dream a little further down the road, we can’t give up. •We should give up if we’re destroying our family. Dreams don’t bow down before much, but a family that can be held together by giving up a dream comes first. Our most significant dream has to be about keeping our families healthy and strong. Drivel about how the eventual bonanza of money will fix everything is baloney. Money’s good, but it isn’t everything. •We shouldn’t give up because Mother says we look tired. Eat the dinner, tell her she’s a good cook and you love her, then get back to work on the dream. Repeat as necessary. •We should give up if changed circumstances give us no way to go forward. This is a tricky one. A weary mind can easily overlook new possibilities. Talk this one out with people you trust and admire. Before quitting, search for ways to fit the new circumstances and still keep the integrity of the dream. •We shouldn’t give up because it’s harder than we expected. Life’s not supposed to be easy. How can we expect to do something great without breaking a sweat? Nobody would start anything if they realized the swamps they’d have to struggle through to get to the finish line. •We should give up if every day is misery. Another tricky one. Sometimes a minor course correction, a slight reshaping of the dream, can revive our lost enthusiasm. Consult on this one, too. If we’ve been plugging along in despair, we probably can’t see even minor changes that could fix the problem. •We shouldn’t give up because somebody says it can’t work. New concepts often stump onlookers. Also, conventional thinkers resist the changes brought by new ideas. Scientific American wrote that the Wright brothers would never be able to fly their machine–after they had already done so. But when other dreamers, people who love us and usually encourage our dreams, go negative, we should at least consider their words. Finally, whenever we’re forced to abandon a dream, we must allow ourselves time to mourn. The death of a dream is a real death. We need balm for our wounds and healing for our souls. And while we mourn, we need to stay away from the happy-talk folks who act as if nothing big has happened, and we should be over it by the weekend in any case. They’ll turn us into drooling, man-eating aliens, and it won’t be pretty. © Copyright 2007 by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved.