The Girl Whisperer
as published by the Sunday Guardian
of August 5
The Dream Snatchers
If you want to distract a man with a dream, give him a second dream- Mike Murdoch.
Many of us are born with dreams and aspirations and a burning desire to make these things come to pass in life. Along life’s path, many things come to push our aspirations to the back of our minds. It might be a father who wants a child to study medicine when the child would rather be a dancer, or a mother who thinks you’d be better off marrying a rich but insensitive man. It could be the older brother who tells you, the song you wrote will never be a hit (as Dido’s did when she first wrote the hit song, “Thank you”). It might even be the economics, insecurity and poverty of an entire continent that forces you to relocate and leave your hopes and plans behind, when you’d rather be taking a stroll side by side with the friends of your youth, along the roads you grew up walking on.
For a few, they are able to hold on to their dreams until adulthood, walking the path they have always wanted, content and happy with the world, until they meet a dream snatcher.
Often, those who lose dreams to others do not realize there is a process underway until it is too late. We must watch out for the mate who compels the other to pick up a banking job or a 9 to 5 because it is more ‘realistic’ and is much more dependable than painting or picking up photography, and the friend who says “get real, people don’t always get what they want”.
One must remember, however, that a human being is nothing without dreams and the very essence of life is made up of aspirations and hopes. When these are taken from us, there is very little left to give satisfaction.
As a member of a fellowship in my University days, I was told by someone I highly respected (and still do) and who was in a position of authority over me at the time, that my regular attendance of programmes at the “Pit Theatre” (The name for the University’s drama department) was wrong and ungodly. Though I was a student in the law faculty, I found immense satisfaction in watching stage plays and immersing myself in the world that was offered by the drama students.
I pondered on his words trying to make sense of them but chose to ignore his advice and instead continued with what gave me satisfaction. It wasn’t pleasing to him but it was singularly the most important decision I took career-wise at that point in time. Today, even as a lawyer, the theatre is my home and I, myself have become a strong practitioner of this art.
The dream snatcher will rarely come in the guise of an enemy. Often, this person is a loved one, a friend, a trusted and close confidant, and the advice offered is not given with malice or any sinister motives.
The only problem with this advice and a flaw too fundamental to be ignored, is that the dream snatcher tries to make you live his or her dream without knowing it. We should resist the attempt to live the blue-print of the lives of others as it might be the difference between living a life of content or one where we go through life as a routine, finding no pleasure in the things we do.
There are many people who have been tied to mates, jobs and careers they have no interest in, for many, many years. Unfortunately, like the Robert Frost poem goes, “road leads on to road” and after a while, they are unable to return to the point where they first took a turn on the path that killed their aspirations. The inability to retrace steps is a sad one and strikes one of the strongest blows against the human spirit.
We all, must guard our dreams with all the strength we have because life can be beautiful when you’re doing exactly what you’ve always wanted to do. The sun shines warmly on those who follow their hearts.