Do you have a dream?

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Yesterday I met a young woman from France. She’s returning to her country soon, having spent the last year in the U.S. working as an au pair. I asked her what her plans are for when she gets back home. She shrugged and said she’ll get a part-time job at a restaurant while she tries to find a better full-time job.

“What’s your dream job?” I asked her.

She gave me a confused look. “I don’t know.”

She went on to explain to me that when she was little she’d dreamed of being a dancer. Her parents let her take dance lessons while she was young, but when she got older they told her it was time to stop.

I asked her what her dream is now. She said it’s different in France than in America. They don’t have big goals and life dreams.


We discussed this at length. I wanted to make sure we weren’t misunderstanding each other due to the language barrier. She explained again and again that in France people do not have life dreams. That this is an American thing.

Is this true or just one person’s experience? The idea leaves me befuddled. The U.S. can’t be the only country where people have big dreams for their lives.

I’ve always had dreams and goals for my life. I can’t imagine not having them. They’re part of what makes me who I am.

So I’m asking you out there, wherever you are: Do you have dreams and life goals? Where do you live and what has been your experience growing up with your dreams (or lack thereof)? Were you ever discouraged from following your dream? Are you working toward your dream?


10 thoughts on “Do you have a dream?

    Ellen said:
    April 9, 2010 at 10:20 am


    I can’t speak for the rest of my nation, and I would never presume to, but my Canadian perspective is that I can’t imagine not having dreams and aspirations and striving to make my life better.

    I come from a big family, had a happy childhood. I can’t say I was particularly nurtured to go out and pursue big dreams, but neither was I discouraged from trying.

      Amy K. Nichols said:
      April 9, 2010 at 4:14 pm

      I agree with you, Ellen. From my American perspective, I can’t imagine it either. I’m glad you’re pursuing your dreams. 🙂

    Seika said:
    April 9, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Amy… perhaps that is only that young girl’s thoughts. I can’t imagine it is only something Americans think about. Here in Canada their are plenty of people chasing their dreams. I don’t think it’s limited to only N.America. There seems to be plenty of people from all the world trying to find their dreams. Artists, musicians, singers, dancers, everyday people hoping that someday they will obtain that pie in the sky so to speak. Perhaps this would be a good topic to send out via FB and other media sources as a survey of sorts to see what kind of response you receive.

      Amy K. Nichols said:
      April 9, 2010 at 4:16 pm

      Hi Seika. I think you’re right. And maybe I will do a poll of some kind. I’m really fascinated by this. The more I think about it, though, I think — like you do — that this is one girl’s experience. Thanks for reading and commenting! 😀

    Ed said:
    April 9, 2010 at 11:03 am

    I’m an American and I’ve never made big plans for my life. I don’t remember any time as a child thinking that I could be a ____ when I grow up.

    Up until I was a freshman in high school, I had no knowledge of computers and computer software. But as soon as I was introduced to a personal computer, I was hooked. At that time, I had a short term goal of participating in whatever training was required to learn to program computers. What kind of software would I write and for whom would I write them? I gave it no thought.

    I’ve always looked at what is in front of me and applied myself. At any given time, I have half a dozen or more things that I am working on from a day job, to freelance work, to volunteer work and hobbies. If one of those things presents itself as a new direction for my life, then I take it. As you know, one day I could be living in Phoenix and two months later be living in Seattle. 🙂

      Amy K. Nichols said:
      April 9, 2010 at 4:19 pm

      I think this is one of the things I appreciate about you, Ed. You always seem at ease with whatever you’re working on, and with those around you. It’s a very cool way to live. 🙂 You’ve got an interesting perspective there, not having ambitions per se, but just taking opportunities. You see something interesting and you give it a go. I like that. I might have to give up striving and try your method. 😀

    Lisa Nowak said:
    April 10, 2010 at 8:49 am

    I totally have dreams and life goals. I have since I was a little kid. I can’t imagine not having them. What an interesting idea. Sounds like the beginnings of a premise for a book…

      Amy K. Nichols said:
      April 11, 2010 at 9:39 pm

      Lisa, I was thinking that, too, about this being a premise of a book or story. 🙂 Great minds, eh?

    Nora Lumiere said:
    April 12, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Oh dear this is so sad. Not to have dreams is unimaginable to me.
    Of course French people dream of ideal jobs. But, in France, dreams are very much attached to education. If you don’t have the means for a grand education at one of the Ecoles de Hautes Etudes, then you aim for a dimplome or a certificat in an area that interests you and you aim for that job. So, it is a more practical, channeled form of ambition.
    Maybe the French don’t think about dream jobs because their quality of life is already so high? I don’t know. But I do know that French people have dreams. Maybe just not about jobs.
    Very nice blog, by the way!

      Amy K. Nichols said:
      April 22, 2010 at 8:51 am

      Hi Nora! Thank you for your comment and your perspective on this matter. See, I didn’t know any of that about education standards in France. I’m relieved to know French people have dreams. Thank you for reading and sharing your insights! 🙂

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