Arun Kumar
4 min readSep 30, 2023

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In our dreams, we are a hero

Arun Kumar

Cabo da Roca. I am told this is the westernmost point in continental Europe. It may just be a gimmick to popularize this place in travel books. A distinction a traveler can take back home and say to their friends that look I visited something unique, and now, I carry another badge of honor on my chest.

Or it may indeed be the westernmost point in continental Europe. Either way, it is a stunning place to be.

Standing high on the rocky cliff looking at the blue waters of the Atlantic, strong gusts of wind rush around wanting to lift me even higher. The blue horizon and I think I can see our home on the other side of the Atlantic.

I am glad that on the spur of the moment, while taking a trip to Cascais, I decided to come here. The rocks I stand would also be the farthest point away from home during this trip.

If you think of it, every trip away from home has the farthest point that we reach, turn back, and start the journey back to home. It is like throwing a stone up in the sky and following the laws of nature, the stone makes a graceful arch, reaches its highest point, and returns back to Earth, its home.

I am that stone.

High above the blue waters of the Atlantic, for a moment, I feel glad that I made this journey and actualized it from merely being a plan into a reality.

It is not always so. Sometimes I just keep dreams for the sake of dreaming and am in no hurry to crystallize them into diamonds they could be.

Unrealized dreams have a certain warmth to them. They can be an anchor that does not let us drift. They are the safe harbor we can fly back to when at the end of the day, the sun starts to descend. On occasions, they can be something for us to look forward to when we wake up in the morning.

During the day, they become daydreams to bring solace under the summer sky; they become fluffy clouds that float by and offer moments of shade.

Why actualize dreams when they have so much to offer. And who knows, dreams turned into reality may not be something they promised to be.

In The Alchemist there is a crystal merchant who is a middle-aged man living in Tangier and gives Santiago, the protagonist, a badly needed job. The crystal merchant’s dream is to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. However, he does not want to fulfill his dream because he thinks he would have nothing left to live for if he did go to Mecca and realized his dream.

This story encapsulates another niche of emotions dreams can fill. While dreaming, it feels like there is always something we can start tomorrow. The possibility is always there. If we actualize the dream today, tomorrow we may have to face our fears of emptiness. What next? Where do you go from here?

Perhaps, the same happens with our tendency for making endless plans and not taking the steps to lay the first few stones of what may turn out to be the next Taj Mahal. Well, not really that majestic, but still.

Somewhere, there is also a fear in taking the first step out from the dreamworld that after all, we may not be up to the task and might fail.

I want to write but feel afraid that I may not have ideas worth penning. In the end, what I will end up with would be two pages worth of mindless drivel.

Taking the first step, going from plans to taking the first step is also breaking the laws of motion — inertia. It is so much easier to keep doing what I am doing — dream — than to make a change.

In dreams and endless plans, I am a hero. In them, I do not fail. The promise of something is so much sweeter than the reality may turn out to be. Why tempt pricking the balloon?

While thinking of realizing dreams, it is easy to fall prey to the finistophobia — emotion of fear generated by anticipation of endings often followed by a sense of emptiness.

But …

…then I look back, a lesson from my own personal history tells me that taking actions often is the seed for new challenges and opens up more possibilities. Endings end up becoming new beginnings.

I need not be afraid of the prospect of emptiness. The universe offers an infinite number of challenges to pick from.

Oftentimes, finishing an article gives ideas for two more to follow.

While I stand on the edge of the cliffs at Cabo da Roca and look at the horizon far away where sky touches the turquoise water, and as the wind caresses my face, it all looks so much better than it was in my dreams.

On the journey back, I started to dream of visiting Diamond Head the next year.

One dream is realized and in its wake another dream sprouts.

Ciao.

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