I am here to speak to you today about dreams. You are all young people, and young people ought to have dreams – big ones, bold ones. Big, bold, wild, wonderful, wacky dreams. I hope you have them. Thing about dreams is, a lot of people like to rain on other people’s dreams, and you’re going to meet a lot of these people when you head out into the world in pursuit of your dreams. People will tell you that your dreams are impossible, that they’re unrealistic, that they’re unreasonable, that they’re not responsible. They’ll tell you all sorts of negative things, and maybe that’s because they never really went after their own dreams.
Well, I’m here to tell you today: these people are wrong. Don’t listen to them. Don’t let them poison your ambitions. Keep shooting for your dreams, no matter how big, no matter how bold, no matter how impossible they seem, no matter how many setbacks you suffer.
I had a dream when I was a boy, and I am proud to tell you, it is the same dream I have today as I stand before you here. I never gave up on my dream. No matter the setbacks (and there have been nothing but setbacks), no matter the naysayers (and there have been nothing but naysayers). What was my dream? I dreamed of traveling back in time and seeing the dinosaurs.
As a very young boy, I knew in my heart that this was what I wanted to do, and that I never wanted to do anything else. Now, I’ll be honest – as I got older, and more experienced in the ways of the world, and more educated and wise, that dream seemed more and more difficult to realize. There were days I thought it couldn’t be done. I was tempted to give up. I was tempted to find a “realistic” job, one that “paid,” one that “existed.”
But that would have been the easy way out, and I’m proud to say, I didn’t take it. I stayed focused on my dream. I lived in my parents’ basement, and I tried, over and over and over again, with single-minded focus for over fifty years, to go back in time and see the dinosaurs. Never did I develop an interest in any other aspect of life. Steadfastly, I adhered to my original goal. And when my parents eventually died, and I found myself broke and homeless with no job, no friends, no resources and very little skin pigmentation, I was tempted to take any sort of wage job in order to have the “security” of a low-rent apartment and some food every day. But that would have been the quitters’ way out.
Instead, I slept in ditches, under bridges, in homeless shelters – wherever. I ate garbage. I continued to work toward my dream. I asked strangers for spare change to fund my goal of going back in time to see the dinosaurs. And some of them gave it to me, which is a lesson to you – do what you love, and the money will come to you. But even on days when I got no money, I refused to give up. There’s more to life than money and physical comfort. What good is a full stomach if your soul is dead?
Ladies and gentlemen, I stand before you today, broke, ill, alone, and a complete and total failure at the age of 83. I can truly say that I am the most miserable of men. But it’s an honest misery, a noble misery – the misery of a dream long sought, not yet realized, but never given up on.
I’ll go on looking for dinosaurs until the day I die. Because I really, really want it, more than I want anything else in life. It’s my path, it’s my bliss, it’s my mission.
So when people tell you that your dreams are impossible, when they say man isn’t meant to travel back in time, don’t listen to them. You know, people used to say if God meant man to fly, he’d have given him wings. Now, I don’t know when they stopped saying that, because I refuse to learn or think about anything but dinosaurs, but I’m pretty sure somebody shut them up about it at some point. And if man can fly, what can’t he do? Go after your dreams, kids, and never give up on them…even if they absolutely destroy your entire life.