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?

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30 thoughts on “It’s OK to dream. Don’t let reality deter you.”

  1. You’re never too old to have dreams. It’s interesting how you point out that some of your dreams now tie to your kid. That seems to be the mix that parents go through, and at least in listening to my parents, this continues when they have grandparents. It’s great to have dreams about something at all stages in life.

    • Yea it’s interesting that some of my dreams are inspired by my kids. I do wonder if my parents are getting inspired by the grandkids too, probably. 🙂

  2. This is such a nice post. In the rush of everyday life, we tend to forget to dream. I am quite inspired by Jack Canfield and now have an excel of 100 outrageous dreams which includes all things family, luxury, enlightenment and professional growth. On dreary days when things don’t seem to be going how I thought they would, I look at the sheet, smile and start to dream again. That sheet is my beacon of hope and helps me fly even with my feet on the ground 🙂

    • Thank you Aparna. Haven’t read anything from Jack Canfield but I will take a closer look. I like having a sheet of outrageous dreams and use that to keep you inspired and uplift your spirits.

  3. One day, my baby daughter will grow up, develop her own personality and express her own dreams and goals. And I will encourage her to follow her dreams as much as possible and to never let reality deter her. For now, I’m trying to enjoy the moment and appreciate her as a baby before this short phase passes me by. Thanks for a good read, Bob! 🙂

    • It will be very exciting for you and your wife to see your baby daughter growing up. I’m amazed by how much things my kids are learning each day. Definitely encourage her to follow her dreams as much as possible and don’t shoot down her dreams!

  4. My dreams are a lot more modest now. Reality sets in when you get older. That’s normal.
    Life is good and I’m pretty happy where I am right now.
    My dream is to live in Thailand for a few years so I can explore Asia more. That’ll be after our kid goes off to college. I’ll try to encourage his dreams too. Kids have a lot more potential than older folks like us.

  5. There is the tried and tested path … guarantees an outcome (not necessarily the optimal). There is the unknown path … which requires more work … but could potentially provide better rewards. I see dreaming as a perturbation in a mundane life … it helps us look for more optimal (not always) solution 🙂

  6. Interestingly, I have a four year old kid as well who amazes me everyday with his quirks and buoyant outlook on life. And maybe even more interesting, about 70% of the places you listed and dream of visiting are on my wish (dream) list as well. I think my dream of early retirement is the most pressing one at the moment (maybe because realistically, the chances are slim) and it is the key to many of my other dreams. Great photos!

    • That’s cool we share the same dream of visiting some of these places. It’s amazing isn’t it? What’s even more amazing would be actually going to these places and have the experience. I’m working towards that for sure.

  7. Such a great post (and photos)! And I love that you rattled off all those dreams, to get them out there, into the world. 🙂

    It’s funny, when I was in college, people would ask me what I wanted to do for a career, and my answer was a handful of different things, none really related, and all part time. And everyone looked at me like I was crazy, told me I couldn’t do that, and I had to pick a single career. Sooo, believing the masses, I got stuck in a day job, and now I’m working towards FIRE so I can pursue as many side hustles as I want to, without having to worry too much about paying the bills. 🙂

    So, my dreaming list includes: creating dividend income to cover basic expenses, quitting my office job without fear, pursuing my primary side hustle (teaching Pilates) for as many hours per week as I want to (many more than I can now), receiving a stream of income from my (fledgling and currently unknown) blog, pickup up my camera and shooting portraits and landscapes again for hire, and living abroad sooner rather than later in life.

    Thanks for the encouragement to dream! 🙂

    • Thank you Juli, I appreciate your kind words.

      It’s too bad we end up believing the masses and forget about our dreams right? I like what you are doing now though, working toward FIRE while pursuing in many side hustles. There’s nothing wrong with doing a bunch of things part time and not having a full-time career. People need to move away from the traditional way of defining what a career is. Society has changed.

      I love your dream list. Keep dreaming and keep pursuing your dreams.

  8. I dreamed that I would hit $5,000 per month in passive income as well. I achieved this last year and now I’m dreaming of $10,000 per month.

  9. Love this post, Tawcan. I’ve got a 4-year-old too and he’s exploring nonstop. I also need to remember to encourage his dreams no matter how creative they may be. 😉 And, it never hurts to keep dreaming ourselves.

    Although our dreams may have shifted within our lives, I’m a firm believer that destiny will put us on the path best suited for us. Sure we need to do our part, but if we live with integrity and balance, divine intervention at some level is inevitable.

    Love your photos, btw!!

    • That’s cool you got a 4-year-old too and he’s exploring nonstop. Sounds like Baby T1.0 too. We need to encourage kids whenever we can, this is our duty as parents. 🙂

      “If we live with integrity and balance, divine intervention at some level is inevitable.”

      So very true.

  10. Loved this and your photos! How beautiful.

    I used to want to be the president, but now I think I’d be content with being financially stable, raising a healthy and happy family, traveling some, and writing a novel. That sounds like a pretty good life to me.

    • Thank you, I appreciate it.

      That’s a pretty big dream to be the president. What kind of novel do you dream of writing? Sounds like a very interesting dream.

  11. Like you Tawcan, I had a lot of dreams as a kid. Most of them I gave up on, but a few of them stuck. It’s the ones that really stick that I think are the most important. Those are the dreams we’re willing to go the distance for to really make happen.

    I always tell my kids they can become anything they want if they work hard enough at it, and I truly believe that. Talent will get you far, but over a long enough time period it’s practice and hard work that matter more.

    • That’s great that the important dreams stuck with you and you’re doing all you can to make them happen.

      As parents, I think we need to encourage our kids to dream big and don’t say “No” to them when they started dreaming. That’s very discouraging to kids. But yes, talent can only get you so far, you need to spend time practice and be better.

  12. Those photos are beautiful, by the way! 🙂 I think the big, bad world makes it VERY difficult to dream. Especially if your dreams seem silly to other people. We love to judge other people’s choices.

    You know, I always LOVED writing. When I was in 5th grade I even made up my own magazine, which I printed out on my parents’ ~fancy~ fax machine. I wrote fanfiction in middle school and high school. But when I went off to college, I just didn’t think writing would be profitable. We all hear about the “starving writer” stereotype, and I didn’t want that! I only recently got back into writing, and realized that it can be profitable. I’m planning to make the jump to writing full-time early next year! It’s so exciting to see a lifelong dream (one that I tried to quash) finally come to fruition. 🙂

    Naysayers and your own internal voice can tell you not to pursue a dream, but I do think they have a way of coming back around!

    • Thank you Mrs. Picky Pincher.

      That’s really cool you made up your own magazine when you were in 5th grade. I dreamed about starting an NBA magazine with the Vancouver Grizzlies too but it was really just a dream.

      Funny how we are both now bloggers and writing a lot of articles. Writing full-time early next year would be wonderful for you. I’m so excited for you. 😀

      The important part is to keep dreaming and not to listen to the naysayers.

    • Interesting that you were a very practical person even when you were a kid. Gotta start dreaming. 🙂

      A senator eh? Interesting that you have political dreams. Still interested in becoming a politician?

  13. I wonder when I stopped dreaming… This article is spot on. I hear co-workers talking about dreaming/wishing they could have a summer off. But it’s already in the context of a pipe dream (not gonna happen) when said. And that’s so unrealistic.

    Somehow we need to relearn how to dream, big and small, and choose which ones to actually pursue.

    • Agree that we need to relearn how to dream to keep us motivated. It’s great to talk about it but when you shot down the dreams right away, you’re not doing any help to yourself.

  14. So so true, I see the same with my kids and think about how quickly that passed in my life. I sometimes find it hard to dream as reality clouds my vision. Very good post and a cool summary, maybe the best is to just play a bit of Lego with my kids again.

    • It’s pretty amazing how quickly time passes when you have a young kid. I think playing more Lego with your kids is a great time, I sure spend a lot of time playing Lego with both of my kids.


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