I’m doing a lot of ruminating lately. As you could probably tell, from the kind of posts that you are reading in my blog lately. Maybe I’m psyching myself. Maybe I’m having a midlife crisis of sorts.
Or maybe, after such a long time of procrastinating, I am finally beginning to ask serious questions.
I remember, around the same time last year, a reporter from a local newspaper came to interview me at work. He was supposed to write an article which would feature some of the foreigners here in Tsukuba, something on international relations in our community.
He asked me the usual questions – why did I come to Japan, when did I start work, my research, family background, etc., etc.
And then out of the blue, he asked: “Yume wa nan desu ka?” Translated, it means, “What is your dream?”
It caught me by surprise. I had mentally prepared for all the questions I could think of, except for that one question that he popped without warning.
I fumbled for an answer. The reporter patiently waited for my reply.
In my haste, I came up with the first thing that I could think of. I said, “Yuumei na kenkyuusha ni naru koto.” To be a famous researcher.
Thankfully, he didn’t pursue it any further. If he had pressed me, I would probably say, “To win the Nobel prize” or something like that. Just to bolster my first answer.
But that first answer just didn’t ring true. Truth is, it just felt hollow. I wasn’t sure that that was my dream. It wasn’t my lifelong dream.
The article never saw print, unfortunately (or fortunately?). But it didn’t matter, really. Really. I just wondered what he was supposed to do with all those pictures he took of me, haha.
But that simple incident made me ruminate for days on end. What is my dream? Casually I asked Baggy the same question. He couldn’t give me a straight answer. I’m sure he has a dream, but he wouldn’t tell me unless I coerced him or something.
I dream, I test my dreams against my beliefs, I dare to take risks, and I execute my vision to make those dreams come true. – Walt Disney
As a child, I had dreams. I dreamed that someday we’d get out of our relative’s house and move on to a house of our own. I dreamed that someday we wouldn’t be looked down upon because of our financial status. I dreamed that someday we wouldn’t have to borrow or get into debt anymore. You know, simple things. Those were my dreams, because they were so out of our reach then. And they weren’t just dreams for myself, but for our whole family.
Things have changed over the years. Up to his last breath, my Dad kept reassuring me that I have fulfilled our dreams, and his dreams for our family.
So I didn’t really dream that someday I’d become a famous scientist like Einstein or Marie Curie. My dreams were way much simpler and very much rooted in our reality.
I realized that because those childhood dreams have now been fulfilled, I have not really thought of pursuing new ones. What is the next “unreachable” thing that I should strive for?
Financial independence? Not having to work for money anymore, but still be able to enjoy and live life in comfort?
Make a groundbreaking scientific discovery? Become famous?
Become a philantropist? Devote the rest of my life to a worthy cause?
Honestly, I could not decide. You would think that by now I would be able to figure that out for myself. But I guess, our dreams are closely connected to our realities. Sure we can dream of big things, those which are so disconnected from our present realities, but we could end up frustrated in the end if they do not get fulfilled.
But as they say, we only have one life to live.
The child has finally grown up and she is ready to dream BIG now.