This weekend one of the more recent Disney princess movies was on (the only one I like), Tangled. One of the themes throughout the movie is about dreams, not the kind you have while you’re sleeping, but the kind you have about your life: the things you hope you can achieve, are trying to achieve, you imagine what it might be like, or motivate you to take action. Towards the end of the movie (small spoiler alert!) when the two main characters are seeing the floating lights, a couple of lines caught my attention:
“Rapunzel: I’ve been looking out of a window for eighteen years, dreaming about what I might feel like when those lights rise in the sky. What if it’s not everything I dreamed it would be?
Flynn Rider: It will be.
Rapunzel: And what if it is? What do I do then?
Flynn Rider: Well, that’s the good part I guess. You get to go find a new dream.”
Sometimes you have a dream and as you go on the journey of trying to realize it, you discover it’s not the right dream for you (I dreamed about being a medical professional as a child, and it’s definitely not a dream I have today). Sometimes when you finally achieve a dream like getting into a profession, being a parent or owning a home, you get to live your dream for a while, you don’t have to go find a new one right away. And sometimes like Rapunzel, it’s bittersweet to move on or think about finding a new dream, because the dream you’ve just fulfilled has been part of you for so long and now you’ve achieved it and there’s no more next steps to follow.
In the movie Flynn suggests that getting to dream a new dream is a good thing, and often it is. But for some of us we never get to achieve or get over the dreams we have, because we’ve lost someone who was integral to those dreams, for example a loved one who was in the military and died while serving our country or were an innocent who was murdered. Those dreams die with them and there’s nothing good about that. They’ll forever live in an honored place in our lives and hearts, and while we will never get them back or see all of our or their dreams fulfilled, as painful as it might be, maybe the best thing we can do when it feels right, is dream a new dream that’s inspired by them.
Maybe you’re in that place today on Memorial Day, that you’re mourning a family member you’ve lost. Or maybe you’re just feeling overwhelmed by this pandemic and you’ve seen your dreams go up in smoke over the past few months, or maybe it’s inspired you to dream a new dream. You can’t change the past, but you can be thankful for all of the people who have had an influence on your life that has helped you become the person you are today. You can choose to dream a new dream because life shouldn’t be just something you check off day by day as something you’ve done. It shouldn’t be something you normally do on a survival-level only like many of us are doing with this pandemic. Life should be fulfilling and inspiring and full of color and laughter and dreams. We may not be dreaming big dreams yet, but I have hope that we’ll get there again one day soon.