“Life without dreaming is a life without meaning.” -Ritu Ghatourey
Dreams begin in the mind and heart of a person. They include one’s passions and desires and intense interests. They give one a glimmer of hope. As from above quote, they tend to give one meaning in life. Something worthwhile to pursue, and hopefully one day achieve.
So, in a nutshell, how can having a dream help a person?
• Provides hope
• A reason to get out of bed each and every day
• Gives meaning to one’s life
But, what happens when a person gives up on those dreams? Or deems them unreachable because an unthinkable event occurred?
“Dreams never truly die; they just change their appearances.”
This was something I penned not so long ago as I tried to convince myself that my dreams were NOT dead. When I was twenty-one years old, as I was in the middle of pursuing one of my dreams, I was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome (a degenerative eye disease that also included moderate to profound hearing loss). I felt that my life had ended; that there were no hope in heck that I would be able to continue pursuing my dreams. So, I gave up on all of them.
For the next several years, emptiness and misery became my closest friends.
So, what changed me?
Honestly, it wasn’t just one thing. It was a growing awareness of others with worse circumstances than me, but instead of wallowing in their own despairs, they marched through their challenges and met them head-on. They didn’t completely give up on their own dreams and hopes; instead they improvised and eventually realized their dreams.
Who are some of these people?
Michaela Bushey Devins-a young girl with dreams of being a singer then suffered a life changing injury that left her a quadriplegic and part of vocal chords paralyzed. She went on to graduate with a degree in music education, and is now working with others as a literacy specialist while encouraging them to never give up when life gets tough.
Joni Eareckson Tada-suffered a similar injury as Michaela and became a quadriplegic. She went on to record several music albums, penned books, and became an advocate for the those in the disability community.
Haley Moss-a contemporary American artist and author with High-Functioning Autism.
Brad Scott-even though he has Cerebral Palsy this didn’t stop him from becoming a Paralympian (middle distance runner).
Evelyn Glennie-a hearing impaired individual who became a successful classical music musician (virtuoso percussionist).
Carme Garcia-is visually impaired who went to be a para-alpine skier, blind sailor and journalist.
Brad Snyder-A Navy veteran who was wounded in the eyes due to an attack while on tour in Afghanistan and lost his sight turned Paralympian.
Rebekah Gregory-a runner who lost her leg in the 2014 Boston Marathon bombing only to return to the same race a year later and finished with a prosthetic leg.
Jack Marchetti-a software engineer, screenwriter, and film maker who has Cone-Rod Dystrophy (similar to RP).
Knowing all this gave me hope. If they could accomplish what they did even with their disabilities and diseases, then I no longer have any excuse!
This also means you no longer have any excuse to go for your dreams regardless of your disability whether they’re mental, physical or emotional. If these people above can do it, so can you!
One of the dreams I’m working on reclaiming is getting back into running and eventually racing. I’ve recently started by getting outside and walking two miles each and every day. Soon, I will pull on a pair of running shoes, and attempt a short jog and see where that leads me.
Those first steps you take are so crucial but also quite scary. What if I fail? If you do, then pick yourself back up and try again. If the way you’re doing things aren’t working out, then find another way. Remember, you no longer have any excuse to not at least try.
Also remember this: You’re not alone so find others and build your support group. I’ve been told that it can be one of the most important parts of achieving success.
So, here are my challenges to you:
1. Recognize the dreams and hopes you lost/gave up, and the reason you did.
2. Admit to yourself that you need these dreams.
3. Pick one of your dreams, and find a way to achieve it.
4. Share it with at least one person what you intend to do.
5. Put it in to action!
*There is a community where you can also look for this support group: The Lost Dreamers