Keep The Dream Alive

At 19, I walked away from the cushy desk job I'd worked so hard to get. In following my passion at any cost, I had recently become the manager of a new skate and scooter shop.

A few months in, the mother of one of my regulars visited the store to make a payment on her son's laybuy when she started talking about him: "You know, Jimmy thinks the world of you. He thinks you have the best job imaginable. He said when he's older, he would do anything to have your job.”

Before my smile formed, she sighed and added, “I just wish he wanted more out of life”.

I didn’t even flinch. I was used to deflecting this reoccurring sentiment already synonymous with my dreams and aspirations.

Professional soccer player, professional basketballer, hip-hop artist—these were the dreams that fueled my childhood until school had the chance to beat them out of me, and it did at every opportunity.

Around 14 years old, I was forced into a meeting with the guidance counsellor. "What do you want to do with your life?" he asked. "To ride my skateboard," I replied, as if it wasn't obvious given that I was being punished for skipping school to hang out at the skatepark all day.

And then came the reply I knew was coming, as if he'd been handed the same script every adult I'd ever met would read from when it was time to break the spirit just enough to make kids fall in line.

"Well, unfortunately, that's just not a realistic goal; that's just not how the world works." He carried on like a wise prophet "Only a microscopic portion of the population gets to do what they love. The chances of you being one of them are just... super low.”

It's ironic and contrary to my overall point that he would go on to suggest I could make a safer living running my own skate shop…

He was right and wrong. While my passion eventually changed from skateboarding to scootering, I did, in fact, have a brief stint as a professional scooter rider but would eventually find my calling as an entrepreneur and open my own scooter shop. And while I'll let him have that one, I can't help but think about the countless teenagers who wouldn't fight this sentiment as hard and for as long as I did.

Despite hearing this phrase like a broken record my whole life, I still pursued all the things they said I couldn't and shouldn't.

While pursuing the life of a professional scooter rider, I took a job as an assistant to a brand owner. Here I would eventually learn the ins and outs of the industry and later create a successful business of my own.

It was also in this pursuit that I traveled the world with my wife and friends, riding the streets of Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Venice, and New Zealand. I made international friends who would later, unexpectedly, become pivotal figures in the formation and success of my business.

After a life of being told “you cannot do what you love”, it became my only compass for a life worth living—to do what I love.

Had I not continually pushed down that path with unrealistic hopes and expectations, I'd have never taken the journeys I did or gained the knowledge I now have.

For those who truly follow their dreams, the universe seems to have a synchronistic system dedicated to the continuation of the dream, but never the realisation of it.

I think that is because the goal is not to make it, to be successful, to reach the height, or any attributable feat.

The goal is simply to do the thing continually, or until it leads to the next thing.

In doing so, we're able to meet our life's evolving purpose in the multitude of ways it emerges and collect the necessary lessons along the way.

I bring all of this up to say that when parents, teachers, and guidance counsellors speak with young people about their life plans and dreams, instead of saying 'that's unrealistic' or 'that's just not how the world works,' they should be saying, ‘Let's figure out a way to make this possible.’

I think it is their duty, and our duty, to keep the dream alive for as long as possible, ideally, forever.

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