I stumble out of the car, intertwined with my best people. We’re laughing uncontrollably about something that won’t be remotely funny to anyone who isn’t here.
It’s dusk and our shadows double over in laughter with us. I turn around, in a desperate bid to catch my breath, and my friends aren’t here anymore. Just a stranger with a dirty machete and a dirtier smile.
I wake up from the dream-turned-nightmare with a sinking feeling at the bottom of my soul, and spend the next hour trying to invoke good dreams. Trying to rewind my dream and end it at the happy part.
This would’ve been a good time for Leo to help me Inception my dream to wake up before it got scary.
And wouldn’t it be cool if we could do that with our life dreams before they turn weird?
Like that course you took to fulfil your childhood dream. Except you grew up and the dream hadn’t. Shoulda got out before it started suffocating you.
Or like that true love you dreamed into life. Shoulda woken up right after the song and dance sequence, before the drama began.
Or the this-is-my-passion kind of dream that you’re just not sure about any more.
During my early years in advertising, I toiled for months on end to create what I thought was a portfolio of my most creative work. That little book is currently doing the rounds, as I crawl out of my maternity leave.
The other day, I was asked what I was most proud of in my folio. I mentally scanned through all the words and ideas I had strung together in my career.
The ones I was most proud of though, were the words and ideas I had taught my son to string together these past 2 years.
What folio does that go under?
I taught the kid to crack his first lame joke, to do a goofy victory dance every time the ball leaves his little hands, to say please, even at 2:30am.
And I’m not even particularly maternal! Yet, it feels like I’m fulfilling something. A purpose? A calling? A he’s-so-cute-I-must-be-dreaming kinda dream?
I admire the women who give up their careers to be stay-at-home mums and vice versa, or people who start new careers after 20 years in another. They’re brave humans who accept that one dream must end so another can begun.
See, I love what I do. It’s fun, it’s with fun people and it’s mostly for fun. But I’m not sure it’s my dream any more.
There are so many things I want to do with my life; I have a feeling that in a few years, my career path will look like the steps of a hopeless drunk trying to make it from the front door to the bathroom. I’m ok with that, as long as it doesn’t end up curled on the floor clutching the toilet bowl.
“Dream big,” they say. “Never give up on your dreams,” they goad.
Would it still be called giving up if you didn’t care anymore?
Most of us get stuck in our dreams – both personal and professional – because we remember how much me wanted it. We don’t owe it to faceless motivational posters to follow through on our fading dreams. But we owe it to ourselves to follow our heart – even when it changes.
I’m starting to realise that if I want to end my dream on the happy note it deserves, I should wake up sometime soon.
Because if you have a dream, by all means, you should chase it. But if your dream starts chasing you, WAKE UP BEFORE THE GODDAMN MACHETE APPEARS.