When I was little, I thought that all things in life needed to follow a given structure. Like the mail that goes through the postal system, or like my big sister following her daily schedule for school. Similar to Pacman we move within a certain frame from A to B, as quickly and efficiently as trains on railroad tracks, with those few stops along the way, where we can either get off and change trains or just carry on till the end. It’s safe, I learned. It’s comfortable. It seemed like this is simply how things in life function as well as how we grow and evolve. We go to kindergarten, preschool, high school, university and start working to build a career, which asks for commitment and endurance. So, people in their 20s like me, who have been following these sort of systems all their lives, are slowly starting to lose stamina; Wait, what was this dream again I used to follow…?
The options, what to make of yourself and your life, are endless. The stories of people who have dared to go off the grid, are all over the internet. Are we still having this one dream, or is the dream now to squeeze as many achievements under our belt as possible? Is there still that one position you still dream of working in or has it become many or even none?
Lately, I got curious what people my age in Berlin are wanting out of life. Remember, when you were in preschool and you would talk about what you wanted to become when you grow up? It was never about a life situation or a feeling, but a job. We wanted to work as vets or bus drivers, elevating a job goal to be our ultimate dream. When I talk to my friends, or to people I meet on a night out, I notice one thing very clearly: People want to achieve a lot of things, and have a lot of ideas, but I rarely hear someone talk about his or her one shiny dream anymore. Are dreams out of fashion? Have we become too diverse and our interests too widespread to set all our hopes on one horse?
I met some pretty amazing people, with different approaches to life and happiness, and this is what they told me when I asked: Do you nurture a dream, or has it gone out of style?
Anahita is studying fashion at the HTW and recently opened up the music café Klangwerk together with her brother on Kaiserin-Augustra-Straße. She points out that it is important to learn that our childhood dreams don’t leave us, but simply change over time:
“As a kid I had very idealized dreams. You know, when you have this certain idea of yourself as a grown-up. As an adult you just don’t dream as much anymore, maybe mostly out of fear of failure. Fearing that you can not realize your dreams in the end. As you try to achieve them, you gain experiences along the way that sometimes move you to leave old ways and try new things. In the end our childhood dreams never leave us, they just adapt to our lives and continue to evolve. At the moment I am seeing close goals as my dreams, such as applying for studies in Antwerpen next year and spending an extended period of time by the sea in a house with my closest friends…”
Berk moved to Berlin in 2015 to study graphic design and is currently creating wonderful art as our illustrator for iHeartBerlin. He inspired this article, as he was one of the first people I met here, who still dearly strives to realize a dream:
“I have had this one dream for a long time now. I would love to move to Copenhagen and get a position at Kinfolk! It is a truly unique publication, dedicated to subtleties of life, mainly around the table with stunning photography and layout. AlI I have done and created in graphic design so far was created especially for this next step in my life, as I want to apply after my graduation. Personally I think that having a dream motivates you and makes you feel better! Not only a dream about your career but how, in the end, you want your life to play out.”
Tabea moved to Berlin three years ago to take up her studies in Digital Media Culture at Film University Babelsberg. For her, it is not only important to have dreams, but to allow yourself to dream, to maybe even extract goals for yourself from those dreams in the end:
“Dreams are very important to me. Maybe not as palpable as goals, and maybe not as achievable, but that doesn’t matter. My dreams represent ideals of my life, that I can imagine without any restrictions. Sometimes I find myself imagining what it would be like to be a best-selling author living with my family on a small island in the Gulf Stream … or being a millionaire jetsetter. It’s fun and inspiring, and also tells me a lot about myself and where I am at, in reality, right now. And often, eventually, my dreams also end up becoming my goals.”
Ferry was born and raised in Berlin. He smoothly combines his love for traveling with his medical studies and shares with us, why to him dreaming is essential:
“Dreams are the wishes of our subconsciousness. As a teenager I dreamed of doing competitive sports. The training brought injuries, that sparked the dream of understanding our anatomy and thus the idea to study medicine was born. Today, I’m at the end of this study and at the beginning of a new dream – the person I want to be in the future. In the distance I see a man with gray hair, a white doctors coat and a smile that deeply radiates peace. I do not want to miss dreams… without them I would not be the person I am today. Dreams shouldn’t be left to be dealt with when we are asleep but actively pursued when we are awake.”
What I have learned from these conversations is, that people haven’t ditched the idea of dreaming. Quite the contrary. Dreams seem to be a defining part of everyone’s life. Even if they aren’t actively followed up, it’s healthy to allow yourself to dream in order to get to know yourself better and form an expectation of life. Maybe growing up changes the way we dream. As we get older, we stop clinging to that ‘one single goal’, and open ourselves up to many in order to give ourselves the chance to expand along the way. So, contrary to my belief, people still dream around here. Big or small, short term or long term, dreams motivate us to think about what would truly make us happy. And what is a dream if but an idea of a future, in which we feel truly happy and fulfilled.