The Power and Universality of Hopes and Dreams

Today, I want to share a piece I recently wrote as a column for my local paper. I was moved to share it here because of conversations I’ve been having as part of an online class I’m taking called “Get Your Scary Sh*t Done,” or GSSD for short. I didn’t write this thinking about writing in particular, but I believe it may ring true for anyone who has ever held a dream close, and that certainly includes many writers I know.

I hope you enjoy it and find some comfort in knowing that we are never alone in having great hopes … even if we keep them secret most of the time.



··• )o( •··

Emerging from underneath the forest floor …

Even when we hide them from ourselves, burying them under the convenient detritus of our daily lives, our hopes and dreams never die. Like sentient seeds that believe, perhaps against all odds, they will eventually see the light of day, our dearest desires and most secret wishes nestle under the weight of Real Life. They are patient. They are constant. Despite the unremitting assault of endless responsibilities and obligations, they persist.

Hopes and dreams are a study in contradictions. On the one hand, they are as fragile as a whisper. Quiet and timid, they step from the shadows only now and again, mostly in the quiet moments of reflection that come upon us just before sleep or when we are staring absentmindedly out of the window. And yet, despite their outwardly retiring nature, our hopes and dreams hold great power over us.

They make us feel deeply vulnerable. Simply acknowledging their existence can send our minds careening into a dark maze of illogical-but-still-terrifying possibilities of ridicule, failure, and disappointment. To wish for something is to put yourself at risk of never having it — perhaps the epitome of the double-edged sword.

On the other hand, hopes and dreams have the ability to sustain us through great hardship. They drive us to achieve that which we once considered impossible. And they help us find purpose and meaning that might otherwise be lost in the swift-flowing river of time. Our lifelong hopes and dreams bring us home to ourselves by reminding us who we have been and always will be.

Everyone has hopes and dreams. While we often guard our most precious aspirations from the rest of the world, it is no secret that each of us carries some hidden longing in our heart. You and I may never speak our secrets to each other, but we know they are there. It is part of what makes us human.

Forgetting that each of us has our own hopes and dreams makes it dangerously easy to lose sight of someone else’s humanity, to lose touch with the connection created by the shared experience of living life in constant (if not always conscious) communion with our truest hungers.

Do not, for instance, look at an elderly person and turn a blind eye to the still-beating passions that lurk just beneath a protective veneer of apathy and resignation. Dreams are ageless. Do not look at those who are living hand to mouth, unable to pursue anything greater than survival, and think for a moment that their hopes and dreams are any less vibrant or real than your own. Dreams do not discriminate. Do not believe that just because people live halfway around the world (or have come from halfway around the world to live here), their dreams are that dissimilar from your own. Dreams know no boundaries.

Mostly, we all want the same things. Though the exact details exist on an endless spectrum of diversity and creativity, each of us wants safety and comfort for ourselves and our families. We want the chance to discover and fulfill our purpose. We want the opportunity to express ourselves without fear of retribution. We want the freedom to make our own choices. We want peace and prosperity. We want love.

Perhaps even more than the conversations and interactions we have in the so-called Real World, it is our secret dreams that bind us together. Sometimes the unsaid speaks volumes. Sometimes a whisper carries across time and space. And sometimes I imagine that, while they are waiting to emerge into the sunlight, our hopes and dreams stretch silent roots deep into the ground where they entwine with the roots of other dreams in the dark and fertile earth. Imagine the vastness of such a network, and the possibilities.

Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content writer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian arts, and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. In addition to my bi-weekly weekday posts, you can also check out my Saturday Edition and Sunday Shareworthy archives. Off the blog, please introduce yourself on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.

This post originally appeared online on the Live to Write – Write to Live blog. Prior to that, it was published in print as part of a column series for The Ipswich Chronicle, a publication of Gatehouse Media.

Photo Credit: amy20079 Flickr via Compfight cc

31 thoughts on “The Power and Universality of Hopes and Dreams

  1. And yet there are people who live so much in the present and the past that they have no ambition, no hopes and dreams, except that their lives should continue as they are, without change, without contradictions, without disturbance and who depend on others to bring new experiences into their lives.

  2. Great insights. I like to think I’m unique, and I am in certain ways, but we all think, and experience, the same things. We all have the same hopes and dreams, and mine made me believe in the future. They made me see the present as a temporary state and gave me something to strive for. I never considered them goals, but milestones; I never wanted to stop dreaming.

    • Dreaming and being open to possibilities are so key.
      I’m glad you found something to make you believe in the future.

  3. Jamie,
    You have spoken to and for the hearts and minds of the hundreds of Transformative Life Writers who have come together around the world in the last 20 years, cradling their unborn hopes and dreams. One voice, one encourager, one gentle truth teller, like yourself is often all that’s needed to breathe new hope and courage into our dreams. I would like to see your blog post in every Continuing Education resource around the globe. May I repost it?
    With gratitude, Joanne Klassen
    Heartspace – Home of Transformative Life Writing
    Learning that Changes Lives

    • Thank you, Joanne, for such kind words. I had no idea that such a movement existed, and I am looking forward to exploring it more fully when I have a few moments.

      You are welcome to repost the piece with attribution. If you do, I’d love you to share the link here so I can follow it to read more about what you’re talking about.

      Thank you!!

    • Hello, Tina!!
      I’ve missed being here and seeing everyone. I’m hoping to get back into a more regular groove soon.

      Meanwhile – hope your writing life is going well. 🙂
      Thanks for dropping a note!

  4. Kudos on a well written article on a topic that is important to a majority of people in this country. This year I crossed the threshold of my 70th year and I think about this more than ever. Perhaps the advantage of living in the third stage is a dawning awareness . . .no possibly more than that: perhaps a genuine transformation where the “real life” becomes more of an illusion and the “dreams” become the reality. As a side note, I am wondering whether the apathy and resignation is not a veneer, but the result of rampant overmedication.

    • Congratulations on crossing that threshold. It is no small feat in this day and age.
      I am intrigued by your musings on the possibility of “real life” becoming more of an illusion and dreams becoming more of the reality. Tantalizing.
      Also interesting, if sad, about the possibility that the apathy may be externally created. Could be something to that as well.

      Thank you for being here and for sparking my thought process to think further on this.

  5. this is utterly beautiful! to dream holds incredible power, it helps us to surpass the most horrible hardships, it gives us hope and a purpose. we would be nothing without dreams. (:

    • Thank you very much. I’m glad you liked it, and I agree that dreams are powerful. Though they have no physical substance, they can change the shape of our lives.

    • I believe in that, too, Tamara!
      I have to … there are still so many dreams I have not fulfilled, and I’m not getting any younger!

  6. What a beautiful piece of writing. Dreams at any age. Oh how true I find this NOW. As a little girl I wanted to write a book. I wanted to hold in my hand a book I had written. This dream was never broken but lived out in part through the years. I did indeed write lots of stuff BUT – A book? Through the years it was like a dream in a fog. BUT……In my 70’s now and …… is happening. I not only finished one but now No.3. Dreams maybe not the finest literature but still………ongoing fulfillment of a long-ago dream. Everyone be encouraged no one knows what they can yet be. DREAM – keep all your dreams alive. It’s like a life flow. Maybe a glimpse if you wish to see of a simple life but big dreams.

  7. Very true. I have held a secret dream, sitting under the surface, waiting. But one day that dream burst out into a passion that would not be denied. The dream finally tired of waiting in the wings and now demands to be a reality. I hope everyone with a dream can experience the transformation. Thank you for sharing your piece.

    • The transformation is different for each of us, isn’t it? The timing, the moment when you step over the line into a new reality, the shape of the dream, the way you coax it out into the light … every dreamer’s story is unique, but the underlying drive to fulfill those dreams is a consistent current that runs beneath all our visions.
      Glad your dream was finally able to take flight!

  8. hi Jamie….am Raphael John Mahanju from Africa Tanzania, i would like to contact with you due to the way you attracts me in your writers inssues….i hope to learn more and more thought you…,thank you.

    On Wed, May 3, 2017 at 1:22 PM, Live to Write – Write to Live wrote:

    > Suddenly Jamie (@suddenlyjamie) posted: “Today, I want to share a piece I > recently wrote as a column for my local paper. I was moved to share it here > because of conversations I’ve been having as part of an online class I’m > taking called “Get Your Scary Sh*t Done,” or GSSD for short. I didn’t wri” >

    • Thank you for your interest. I hope to see you around the blog and that you find more stories that inspire you from the team at Live to Write – Write to Live.

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