“Continue to sleep with your dreams…or, wake up and chase them.” ~ Carmelo Anthony
Throughout my life, I always loved hearing my grandmother say, “I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.” Even at the age of 90, her words had an endearing charm…but not just because she was my grandmother. If anything, her words were a distinct reminder that when it comes to our hopes and dreams, “it’s never too late to be what we might have been”.
From 9 to 99 and beyond, we can still dream about exploring new adventures. We can still dream about what it would be like to take on new challenges. And hey, we can still dream about flying—yes, even with a mask, a cape, and a big “S” on our chest. From the heights to which we aspire…down to the depths of our desire, we can still (and should always) dream another dream.
Fact: The more we dream, the closer we come to manifesting the best version of ourselves.
As creative beings, there is no shortage of cool, artistic metaphors to describe our dreams. Take a look:
- “Dreams paint our canvas…just waiting to be splashed with color.”
- “Dreams write our book…full of verses that create exciting chapters.”
- “Dreams play our song…beautiful melodies that come together in perfect harmony.”
Yes, our dreams are full of the “color”, “verses”, and “melodies” that add to our ever-evolving sense of who we are. And it may sound cliché, but when we think of dreams in terms of “paintings”, “books”, or “songs”, these artistic expressions tell us what’s really happening when we dare to dream:
Our dreams shape our identity.
Our identity is like a “collage”—a powerful mixture of elements that reflect what we’ve done, where we’ve been, and whom we’ve encountered on our journey. In some sense, identity is a “snapshot” of how we view ourselves right now, at this very moment in our lives. In other words, it may not be the same sense of identity that we have, say, next month, next year, or in five years. That’s right, day by day, our identity develops—and never stops developing—throughout our lifespan. With the high hopes and bold aspirations that begin in our dreams, identity is a product of how we adapt, transform, and evolve—internally, externally, and “eternally”.
As you silently “become who you’re meant to be”, congratulations: “Dreamer” has become part of your identity! Inspired by your adventures in dreamland, you might be surprised to find yourself saying “yes” to many things that, unbeknownst to you, help to shape your identity:
- You’ll say “yes” to choices—even the kind that may feel confusing.
- You’ll say “yes” to challenge—even the kind that seem impossible.
- You’ll say “yes” to change—even the kind you fear the most.
When we say “yes” to those “confusing” choices, we realize that we can take a chance and make a decision—regardless of the outcome. When we say “yes” to those “impossible” challenges, we suddenly realize just how possible they actually are. And when we say “yes” to those “scary” changes, we suddenly feel resilient, empowered, and unstoppable.
In fact, when we cast fear to the wayside and confidently say YES to the new, exciting adventures that color our dreams, our identity doesn’t just “survive”—it thrives. Although fear can help us to avoid specific outcomes, it almost always prevents us from doing the very thing that we’re attempting to do: turning our dreams into the schemes that inspire success.
As you continue on your unique path to self-discovery, allow your identity to expand…and explode!
Here’s 3 Tips to help you expand into the best version of yourself possible:
- Say “yes” to trying new things—explore and discover something new, exciting, and different about yourself…all the time.
- Say “yes” to listening to the voice inside—the one that reminds you to celebrate the value of your uniqueness.
- Say “yes” to seeing the world through a creative lens—one in which your imagination is fuel for the dreams that inspire the best version of YOU.
In order to come one step closer to that awesome version of yourself that visits you in your sleep, dare to dream another dream…and another dream…and another dream. No doubt, each one will add some beautiful color to your identity “canvas”.
As you say YES! to that creative, fearless, and powerfully unique person you see in your dreams, may you never stop wondering who you might be when you “grow up”.
Yes, even at 90…:-)
About the Author: Joshua GARRIN is one of Your Monthly Mentors, an Award-Winning Health Psychologist, Author of “The I-Way to Well”, Personal Trainer, Health Coach, and Self-Motivationalist. He holds a Ph.D. in health psychology, an M.S. in cognitive psychology, and a B.S. in general psychology and journalism and currently resides in the Hudson Valley region of New York. Following the completion of his doctorate in 2014, Joshua was the recipient of Walden University’s Harold L. Hodgkinson Award for Outstanding Dissertation Research for his inquiry on health beliefs, outcome expectancies, and stress appraisal in college seniors. Read More…