Dream Hard

One of the most important thing to me is to be able to dream. Some of my most memorable recurring dreams involves flying. Flying in a dream is the most freeing, amazing feeling. There have been some especially difficult days that have left me wishing for my flying dream before bed. I close my eyes and imagine myself standing on a cliff with the wind blowing, keeping me standing, leaning slightly forward. As I am standing there, I let my body relax and imagine being in the sky, able to go anywhere. And then I jump.

The exhilarating freedom is beyond compare.

When I wake up, I keep my eyes closed, willing myself to go back to the skies.

But in life, we need to be allowed to dream. Not just in sleep. I dream about making a difference in the world, about making a good, comfortable, happy life. I am working toward it. Each day, I try to stay on this path of trying to better myself. It is the reason I have been in school, well, forever. Every time I could stop, I don’t want to. I really hope that after I get my graduate degree, I can feel done with school.

Part of the reason it has taken so long to finish school, is the fact that I changed my dreams several times. Dreams don’t have to stay the same. But I think if you want to change them, you have to REALLY be sure that you want to change. I am one of those people that can generally do well at a lot of things, and I am very interested in learning about lots of different things. It is really hard to find something you are passionate about when you have interest in everything. I have found that in my life there has always been one thing I kept going back to: language, writing, reading, words. With my medical concerns, I have had to make some changes in my life. While I am not pursuing teaching anymore, I have found something that I haven’t lost interest. I look forward to learning. I want to read my textbooks, to research about it. I know I have found my place. I never would have found it, if I didn’t allow myself to dream, to dream HARD.

Additional note: I never would have been able to dream hard without others in my life respecting my dreams, and helping me find my way. Thank you.

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Overcoming Ethnocentrism and Prejudice

Why is it that we always think our way of living is better than another’s? Why do we feel like every other country in the world would be better if they were like us? This idea that we have a ‘better’ way of living is at best ignorant, and at worst egotistical and selfish.Who are we to say that someone else is or isn’t happy? Often ethnocentrism turns to prejudice, which becomes anger and hatred.

We need to remember that people can live happily in different ways. We are all different. We have different backgrounds, different cultures, different beliefs. There will always be something that doesn’t agree with you in every single belief you own. It doesn’t make them wrong, just different. Someone living in another country will have a different way of life, with different political, moral and religious beliefs. We are not better than them, and they are not better than us. We are just different.

My own medical issues have shown me how important it is to understand that everyone has a story. Anyone you see on the streets, at the mall, in the grocery store can be going through something you don’t quite understand. Maybe they have an invisible illness, or maybe a family member or friend just died, or maybe it is their birthday. We can’t know their personal story, so we should avoid judging. That is not for us to do.

If you believe in New Year’s Resolutions, or just want to improve yourself, why not start by being understanding, thinking the best of others, and doing something nice for a stranger as often as you can. Even an encouraging smile can change someone’s day for the better.