It is very cliché to say follow your dreams and hope they come true. Dreams are wonderful, but, for most, hope will not get us there. Hard work and passion will.
When I grew up in the 70's/80’s, nobody ever told me to follow my dreams. My grandmother, God rest her soul, and such a steadfast light in my life, always told me to work hard and get a nice “respectable” job, like a secretary. She was not intentionally trying to squash my ambition, it is just that the women of her generation thought it better to live a quiet, modest life while raising a family. Aspiration to greater things was never a part of her life or in her advice to me. She was a product of the Depression Era and was more concerned with survival and carving out a decent living than in something as frivolous as a pipe dream. So, even though I never had a dream growing up, my grandmother did instill in me a strong work ethic, and this helped me to succeed in life and to climb the proverbial ladder, gaining promotions on a steady basis.
But, I was never passionate about my career. I did well and the work was enjoyable at times, but it did not make me happy. I did not jump out of bed every morning anxious to leave for work.
I can honestly say that I have now found my dream. It lies in my passion for storytelling, and the discovery has made the quality of my life so much more exciting. Because really, that is the root of passion. Excitement. Finding out what you love to do and taking all of the steps necessary to make it a reality. Sure, I still stumble along the way, and some steps are taking longer (years!) than others, but I will never give up, and I am grateful for that drive.
My dream has not yet come true, but it is getting closer.
And, I am pretty sure I owe it all to my grandmother.