Accepting the End of a Dream

From imaginative universes to transformed realities
By Luis Augusto Nobre, Pride at Work Canada/Fierté au travail Canada
Dreams have the power to take us to different realities and times, showing infinite possibilities. We are all dreamers, and we are aware that those dreams change constantly. New dreams keep us moving forward and help us develop better versions of ourselves. At the same time, we sometimes have to set dreams aside when the world changes and our new expectations no longer fit within them. It is an organic process, but managing what to expect and when to make the next move is the key to keep dreaming.
As a teenager, I dreamed of a different path than the one I am now on. The detour was one of the best decisions I could have imagined for myself; I started working with social inclusion in the early years of my career, and I immediately fell in love because I felt I could be the difference. This intersectional world, combining communications and inclusion, has given me so many learning and growth opportunities that I barely think of the “what if” questions regarding my wouldbe path.
New questions and objectives pop into my mind as I become more eager to confront some of the current mindsets and barriers I have encountered in my journey. I used to manage social investments in projects and programs developed by organizations working with children’s rights. In one particular example, I was visiting one of the organizations that worked with victims of child abuse and sexual exploitation in urban and rural areas. During a meeting to present some data and details about the programming and engagement with the children’s families, I mentioned that the initiative shouldn’t exist. This was a passing comment in the middle of my compliments to all professionals for dealing with this sensitive and vital subject. The whole team was surprised and started to inquire about my harsh comment. When I explained that any type of violence against children shouldn’t have to exist in the first place, they understood my intention.
Because of this particular moment, I realized that the word “dream” could be replaced by “mission” or “vision” in some organizations. The primary inspiration for an initiative comes from people’s dreams, as they adjust their desires and expectations to fit within their current reality. The non-existence of certain initiatives could be their primary goal, especially for those working with challenging topics.
You might be thinking similarly to the team in my example – that this idea is utopic and maybe even naïve. However, we know that dreams can evolve into something bigger and better over time. Through this evolution, our original ideas disappear to give space for new possibilities, and organizations must adjust their missions and visions and follow new strategies to keep the momentum going. The organization’s history inspires a better future as we look back on how far we’ve come.
Maybe the well-known verse “I dreamed a dream in time gone by/ When hope was high and life worth living” from the song “I Dreamed a Dream” in the musical Les Misérables, could continue this idea of dreams constantly changing due to the impact of living in a world full of injustices. We should never be ashamed of our goals if they are for a good cause. The only way life can end our dreams is by making them real, tangible and touchable.
When our existing dreams have been realized, we will have the space to work with new perspectives and objectives, as the world around us will have changed for the better. We won’t face homophobia, transphobia, racism, climate change, injustice, violence or systemic barriers – everything will be different. Just stop for a moment and visualize this utopic place, where the inclusive and sustainable visions of today are the reality and human beings can live with justice, equity and peace.
Our modified visions will continue the spirit of our original ideas and take us down new paths. The evolution of our dreams will cause some to end, but it will also create new ones – aconstant transformation. Being aware of that process should help us improve and adjust strategic planning in cyclical periods. As the very last-check item in our objectives, we should turn off the lights and close the door on our former dreams, leaving behind the memories of a great journey to make them come true.
Luis Augusto Nobre is a marketing and communications coordinator at Pride at Work Canada/Fierté au travail Canada. For more information on the organization and its work, visit