Dream crushers

16 Jan

Yesterday I had breakfast with some of my favorite ladies. We try to get together as often as we can to solve world problems and talk about books and life and feminism. Yesterday we got on the topic of people having unrealistic expectations.

Everyone needs one or two dream crushers in your life. Just as the title implies, a dream crusher is a person who crushes your dreams. One of the people in your life who can look you in the eye and tell you that you are not going to be the next Justin Timberlake, your singing does not deserve the lead in the musical or a record deal, you aren’t going to land your dream job when you’re 22 or that you’re wearing too much cheetah tonight.

We need these people to stay grounded. This is the reason we don’t blow our life savings on something stupid or waste time dating someone that’s not right. Dream crushers are the ultimate reality check.

They aren’t doing it to be mean or bring you down, they’re doing it to be real. You also usually accept their advice (if you’re smart) because you can see this. There’s a difference between a dream crusher and a jerk. There are probably certain people in your life who are not close enough to crush. People who will think you really are mean. Just let someone else crush those dreams.

My friend Alex is a college adviser, he talks to students all day about graduating on time, taking the right classes and overall, being successful in college. He says students tell him all the time that they want to be an E! correspondent or work for ESPN after they graduate. Yes, every once in a while a student will go on to do this. Most start at pretty low-level jobs and work their way up or find something else they want to do more (or something that pays more). He kindly crushes dreams all the time. I think his business card even says “Dream Crusher” under his name.

People my age, 22 to be exact, were raised by worshiping parents. We have been told how cute/smart/talented we are since we were born. Our entire life has been documented by our parents’ adoring camera. We got trophies for participating in sports, even if we didn’t win. We expect to get the jobs we apply for while forgetting to consider the qualified competition. To get the job/part/whatever you not only have to be good, you have to be better than everyone else who wants it.

My parents are pretty good dream crushers because they are down to earth. They know me best and they know I can’t sing and I need to pay my rent, hence why they told me broadway wasn’t in my future. I appreciate that and know it’s true. They know there are other things I’m good at (I can’t think of any of them right now, but I’m sure there’s one or two) that I can and should pursue. They’ve encouraged me down my journalism path because that really is a better fit for me than dancing back up for Beyonce.

Erin is probably my number one dream crusher. She is also the Tina to my Amy and the Gayle to my Oprah. She is the most honest friend I have. She’ll tell me when I’m being a baby or when I whine too much. She’s not afraid to veto an outfit or tell me what she thinks of the guys I date. Somehow she does it in the most caring and supportive way. It’s not harsh or judgmental. She’s not jealous or manipulative- just honest.

I love that about her. She’s not going to let me leave the house looking like a fool. She’s going to be real with me when I can’t be real with myself. It’s not an easy thing to do. How honest are you with your friends? Do you tell them when their ideas are bad? Probably not because it’s really hard to do.

Dream crushers, like Erin and my parents, keep my feet on the ground. They help me weed out the bad ideas and the ugly prints in my closet. I also treasure their advice because I know I need it.

If you have too many dream crushers in your life, your realistic dreams may also get crushed too and that’s bad news. Try to limit your crushers to 1-4 persons.

Sorry for the unusually deep post.


One Response to “Dream crushers”

  1. erinjoneil January 18, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    In a strange way, this is possibly the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me.

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