It’s OK to dream. Don’t let reality deter you.
At four and half years old, Baby T1.0 is at a super fun age that is really neat to interact with him every day. His imagination is out of this world. The other day he built a dinosaur out of Duplo blocks and played with it for hours. He also has been building unique things like police airplane, ants, and ninja pirate ships (what the heck is that?) out of LEGO blocks. Using these unique things that he built, he would make up stories and tell Mrs. T and I about them. He even started puppet shows with teddy bears and making stories along the way and asked me, Mrs. T, and Bay T2.0 to sit down to watch the shows. As a parent, it has been really enjoyable to see him develop into a young boy. He is no longer the little baby I knew only a few years ago. He is starting to become more independent and have his own thoughts, desires, and dreams.
His imagination is wild. Just like any other young kid, Baby T1.0 makes up stories and has his adventures. He is a dreamer and he loves to explore what can be done.
I used to be just like Baby T1.0. I used to dream big. I used to be a dreamer.
When I used to play basketball competitively in high school, I had the dream that I would make it into the NBA one day. I played basketball every day and tried to improve my basketball skills. I practiced dribbling, I practiced shooting, and I practiced various techniques. I played basketball because I enjoyed it, and because I had a dream of making it to the NBA one day.
Similarly, during elementary school in Taiwan, I used to draw comics (or mangas as they are called in Asia). I would draw and create my own characters, the good guys, the bad guys, and develop storylines. I had a dream that I would be a manga artist just like Akira Toriyama from Dragon Ball or Takehiko Inoue from Slam Dunk. I drew because I enjoyed it, I drew because I had a dream to become a manga artist.
I also used to write stories with the dream of one day publishing mystery novels and becoming a novelist. Many years ago, I started with some general ideas and wrote a few short chapters of the different mystery stories I had imagined in my head. I wrote because I enjoyed writing, I wrote because I had a dream to be a mystery novel author.
I am not exactly sure what happened, but most likely reality set in. I realized that I wasn’t the tallest basketball player, I wasn’t the quickest, and I wasn’t the most accurate shooter. I also got a back injury that kept me out of playing basketball for an extended time. I realized it was REALLY difficult to make it into the NBA. Only the best players make it. I realized that I didn’t have the best drawing skills and I may have lacked originality. Being a manga artist required amazing talent and artistry skills. I also realized that English is my second language and I struggled with grammar and vocabulary from time to time. While I may have had good ideas, occasionally it was hard for me to put them into sentences, paragraphs, or even chapters.
So I stopped dreaming about becoming an NBA player, a manga artist, and a mystery novel author.
I had let reality set in and let it dictate what I can and cannot do.
I stopped dreaming and stopped chasing my dreams.
In ways, maybe started having more interests in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) contributed me stop dreaming about the different possibilities. Perhaps getting into engineering for university education didn’t help either. In many ways, I had let facts and science decide what I could and could not do, rather than using my imagination and believe in myself.
A few years after graduating from university, I bought a DSLR and picked up photography. I started expressing my creativity through my photos. I started taking landscape photos when I went on the different outdoor adventures. I started walking around Vancouver with my DSLR in tow. When I got myself a flash I started experiencing with taking portraits and events. Somehow, I found myself enjoying working with people and taking pictures of people. An odd discovery for an introvert person like me.
Although I had found a way to express myself creatively, I didn’t dream about becoming the next famous portrait photographer, like Dan Winters, Martin Schoeller, Joe McNally, Erik Almas, and Richard Avedon. I am not sure know why I didn’t dream about becoming the next famous portrait photographer. Perhaps because I only viewed photography as an interest, perhaps I didn’t take photography as serious as I should have, perhaps I was told by others that I didn’t have the talent or the creativity and therefore convinced myself it was true. Whatever the reason was, I didn’t dream big.
About 4 years ago, after about 6 months of debating, I decided to start this blog of mine. I started the blog because I felt I had a story to tell, I felt I could share my knowledge with other people, I wanted to write about our quest to financial independence and a joyful life. I wanted this blog to be a journal of our journey. But I never dreamed about the blog having great traffic, loyal readers, and lots of encouraging words from readers. I also didn’t dream about this blog becoming the next big internet sensation. Again, for whatever the reason was, I didn’t dream big.
Looking at Baby T1.0 and the creativity and dreams he is creating for himself, I can’t help but smile. I have realized that as a parent, my job is to encourage and support him, not to discourage him and shoot down his dreams by telling him the reality. Let his imagination run wild and let his adventures continue. It is my hope that he will continue living this way for many years to come.
Then I realized that, it is OK to dream myself. Yes, I need to be realistic but it is totally OK to have dreams and have imagination. So what if my dreams may not ever come true? If they keep me inspired and motivate me to accomplish something, what’s the harm?
I dream of one day that our passive income is over $5,000 per month to cover our monthly expenses with a significant amount of buffer. When that happens, I dream of not needing to work because we need a pay cheque every 2 weeks.
I dream of seeing the Great Pyramid of Giza, walking up the steps in Machu Picchu, and experiencing the grandness of Taj Mahal. I dream of skiing in the champagne powder in the mountains of Hokkaido, relaxing in an outdoor onsen in Nagano, and seeing the snow monkeys enjoying the outdoor onsen. I dream of walking through Ground Zero and Freedom Tower and giving a moment of respect for people that died on that day. I dream of seeing the Last Supper with my own eyes. I dream of touching the Wailing Wall. I dream of walking through the lost city of Petra. I dream of taking a nice relaxing soak in the Blue Lagoon. I dream of seeing the Northern Lights. I dream of seeing the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi’an. I dream of looking at Michelangelo’s painting in the Sistine Chapel again and stand there for hours and truly enjoy it rather than rushing through. I dream of seeing lions, tigers, and elephants in the wild on an African safari. I dream of stepping foot on all 7 continents.
I dream of living in a small town in Japan. I dream of living in Taipei. I dream of living in Chiang Mai. I dream of living in Vienna. I dream of living in Denmark. I dream of living in Tuscany. I dream of living in Buenos Aires.
I dream of having our cookbooks featured by Oprah. I dream of finishing a triathlon. I dream of taking my kids to school and picking them up every school day. I dream of going on photo walks with my kids and teach them photography techniques. I dream of having my photos featured in a magazine. I dream of witness my children grow up to be amazing people. I dream of spending a week in Manarola with Mrs. T, eating great food, drinking great wine, just like what we did for our honeymoon.
It is OK to have dreams. It is OK to dream.
So I start today, I will dream about becoming financially independent and eventually retire early.
I will dream about traveling to the different parts of the world and living in the different beautiful cities for an extended time.
I will dream about becoming the next famous portrait photographer.
I will dream about setting foot on all 7 continents.
I will dream about living freely, contently, and in peace.
I will dream of making it big with the blog.
I will dream and let my dreams inspire me. Let my dreams motivate me.
Dream and let my dreams become realities.
What are your dreams?