When talking about dreams, one popular quote I often hear in Indonesia is to hang your dreams as high as stars in the sky. “Gantungkanlah cita-citamu setinggi bintang di langit.” Followed by a question, “What is your dream?” Most often this topic is addressed to students, especially during freshmen years.
Then as we graduate and landed a job and working on career, this kind of question fades and replaced with the other questions everyone hate. “When will you marry?” or “When will you have a baby?” or “When will you have the second baby?” and so on and so on. It is as if the question of striving to achieve your dream no longer apply since you have a job anyway. Sadly, many people work on a job which is not aligned with their dream nor have more time to strive for it too. To make things worse, some people even couldn’t get a job and instead trying to get whatever job they could get. One with pragmatic view would say, “Welcome to the real world.” So does it mean topic about dreams is just, as the term is, dreams? Does it mean once we graduated we are no longer allowed to dream and strive for it?
As for me, I believe that everyone, no matter how young or old s/he is, has the right to dream, and to go for it. There is no one’s dream to be judged as unrealistic, stupid, or silly. Who are they to judge you how you should live your life. Or to “know yourself” when what they mean is telling you to fit in with the stereotypes. No one but you could really know who you really are. Even I still often times get surprised of who I am. There’s still a lot of things I don’t know about myself.
Everyone of us is given a purpose in this life. And our dreams, our passions, and the things matter most to us, might lead us to find the answer of the question the universe has given to us.
The problem is, to find our stars in the sky requires us to carry a telescope. Then after we find it, we need to do something to catch it or reach it. It is a burden. Some may prefer to shrug their telescope under the carpet and see nothing in the sky, not even looking at it.
To strive to achieve our dreams equals taking a risk, most likely a big one. We may have to risk losing or quitting a stable job or take a big leap of change. Even if we are not happy with our current job or situation, we are afraid to change because it makes us anxious and uncomfortable. A change of lifestyle, a venture to the unknown, a risk of loss, either material things, relationship, status and so on. This uncomfortable and anxious feelings are what make people unwilling to change. People stay as they are because of familiarity and predictability, which give a sense of security and comfort even when they are unhappy with it. Yet some people might not want to admit it and instead project it to somebody else by telling them to be “realistic”.
Life is short. I cannot emphasize any bigger the significance of this sentence. Would I rather die along with my dreams untouched and uncovered? In my childhood kids made up stories of “hantu penasaran”, a restless ghost because of curiousity left unanswered. Although I am a human and not a ghost, I have had enough restless nights because of regretting things I didn’t do. If I have a dream or want, go for it, and fail, at least I have an answer. It could be that it’s not for me, or I didn’t practice enough and need to give more effort, or it’s just a bad luck, or I found out I’m actually not really passionate to pursue it. Any answer is an answer and it is better than a question left answered.
There is a guy/girl you like. You feel the vibe that s/he might be interested as well although you are not sure. You want to ask him/her but too afraid. Does s/he like you or does s/he not like you. Can you feel the dread? Until the time’s up when s/he is gone and no longer in contact. Can you feel that mixed feelings of curiousity and regret?
Or there goes an offer to become a manager in a new branch of your company far in Yogyakarta. You know you are bored with your life now and need something new to refresh your soul. You have great interest in batik and you know that you would be able to learn a lot about batik there. But what would it be like living there? Would the taste of the food fits you? Would you be able to make new friends? How about your long time friends here? Furthermore if you’re married how about family and kids? Until the offer is due and you are not going anywhere. Left with a regret and unanswered curiousity. Can you feel it?
So, can you still see the sky and point a star that’s yours? And do you dare to catch it or reach it?