"Dreams, if they're any good, are always a little bit crazy. " -- Ray Charles
"I want to..." I start to say, panically pausing as I feel my heart start to burp out of control. "I don't know."
"Wait, wait, wait," he starts. I can tell he's going to push me to go on, to say the words I hardly ever admit out loud to anyone.
I'm not the best communicator. There you go. I've said it.
I can write my feelings, my emotions, my hopes and my dreams down on paper or a blank post on Wordpress better than I can speak them in front of you.
I crowd sentences with lots of I don't cares or I don't knows or yeah, nothing much happening with me because I find it really hard, sometimes, to spill out the details.
To sit four feet away from someone, as we're slinging back our second cup of tea that afternoon or chewing down a medium-sized pizza to say the things that I really want to. That sometimes I need someone to hold my hand and hug me through.
"Go on," he says, in a way that doesn't give me the choice not to.
"My ultimate dream is...," I try again. But before I can tell him, finally, what that is, he cuts me off.
"Enough with the ultimate dream language," he says. "Ultimate dreams are for lazy people. Ultimate dreams are bullshit."
I lean back in my seat and let out a nervous laugh that echoes through the entire business library that's firmly planted in the middle of Manhattan.
"I'm 82 years old," he starts again. "There's no time for ultimate dreams. You're either doing it or you're not."
I want to ask him things like what if you're not ready to or what if you're not sure or what if you don't have enough money to live, to just let everything go so you can consume yourself in that thing you've always wanted to do, to be, to have.
But I don't say anything.
Because I know he's right. Because I know if I even said the words, "Yeah, but..." he would lean in real close and extend his arm toward the door and tell me to get out.
He's my business tutor. And the first time we met, he kicked me out of his office five times.
Some of the most gigantic things I've done, for myself or my career, were truly unplanned. Or they were planned, but very minimally and mostly so immature that I didn't at first or for a while know what the heck I was doing.
Sometimes, I still don't.
But I think that's okay. I don't think you have to know. I think you just have to do.
Dreaming, I've learned, is really fun. It gets your body all jittery and your mind working like it's running full speed on a treadmill for the first time in months. But the problem with dreaming is that when it's done, when you've exhausted your mind for the day, you have nothing to show. You fold your mental notes together and stick them back in the manila folder labeled "Eventual Plans to Take Over My World." And you forget about them. Or your to-do list makes you forget about them. Or your boyfriend or your mother or some girl on the internet tells you that you're better off forgetting about them.
"Either do or dream -- but don't wait too long to make that decision," he says. "By 82, it's a hell of a lot harder to get your ass out of bed in the morning. That's when you'll be better off dreaming, my dear."
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