When is it acceptable to kill things? People? Animals? Plants? Ideas? Dreams?
My first response to today’s topic is “NEVER!!” Who would advocate killing anything – people, animals, plants or ideas and dream? But then I start thinking.
Firstly, killing people and animals – off the table, never acceptable. I don’t count having your family pet put down at the vet because of old age as “killing” them though. See, already I’m drawing lines and setting boundaries on my definitely never stance.
But ideas and dreams, are they any different? Sometimes you have to kill an idea because it’s not a well-thought out one, or a practical one, or even a workable, doable, GOOD idea. I mean, I could have an idea that my boss should give our books out free to all those in need. It’s a noble idea but is it a good one? Is it worth nurturing and keeping alive? Or is it one of those ideas that just can’t go anywhere? I’ve sat in many meetings where we throw out ideas that range from the fabulous to the fantastical and many of them get killed. Nobody cries murder most foul.
So that leaves dreams. Is it ever acceptable to kill a dream – your own or someone else’s? And this is a bit trickier. I don’t think it’s ever acceptable to kill someone else’s dream entirely and I don’t think anyone can really do that. Yes, you could apply to Drama School and get knocked back but they haven’t killed your dream if you decide never to act again – you’ve killed your own dream. There will always be road blocks and obstacles in life – nothing really comes easily – but if you keep your dream alive throughout, you should be able to achieve it.
But, I hear you say, what if you’re a terrible actor and your dream of making it big in Hollywood is really not realistic? What then? Should someone euthanize your dream, put it to sleep, in order to save your sanity? What if you’re going to keeping this dream alive and meanwhile not actually living at all, just waiting for the day you hit Hollywood. What then?
As a friend, are you helping or harming them by not killing the dream? What if their dream starts to harm someone else – for example, their family? What if they’re so determined to hit Hollywood or write the next Harry Potter that they neglect their family and people are suffering – is it okay then to take them aside and metaphorically slap some sense into them?
All to often, we are judged for our dreams. For not being practical. Wanting to be a writer is hardly something that’s going to make me millions. I know that. But it’s my dream. I put it aside for many years and I’m dusting it off again – I didn’t kill it off before, perhaps it was in an induced coma. It’s not hurting anyone else … yet. I’m working full time and bringing in money while I indulge myself. I’m not neglecting anyone and I’m slowly nourishing my creative soul and my dream. I would hope that my dream won’t end up hurting anyone, including me. But I also hope that I’d have the strength to recognise my priorities and what I value and put that ahead of any potential harm.
I read a column online the other day where the letter writer asked about how she could organise her life so she could look after her family but also finish her dissertation. The advice columnist pretty much said that her priorities probably needed to change and there was nothing wrong with not finishing her dissertation since her family needed her. I thought that was a definite murder of this poor woman’s dreams, instead of real advice. What do you think?