“What does not satisfy when we find it, was not the thing we were desiring.” - C.S. Lewis “As long as I have a want, I have a reason for living. Satisfaction is death.” - George Bernard Shaw
In their time, they were two very Irish authors with two very wise, and similar, things to say. C.S. Lewis advised us to carefully choose the dreams we plan to pursue while George Bernard Shaw reasoned that the ultimate worth of a goal lies only in its pursuit. They both understood the risks one takes in pursuing a dream and the rewards one can uncover in pursuing the right one. I could not agree more. In English class, a friend of mine once said, while discussing and dissecting F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, “The most unsatisfying thing in life is to be satisfied.” If the hobbit were not but a figment of a dead author’s imagination, I’m sure Bilbo Baggins of Middle-earth would quickly concur. A quest’s greatest treasure is never the mounds of ancient jewels and golden artifacts hoarded by the dragon beneath the mountain. No, a quest’s greatest treasure is the path you take in search of that dragon. Though, sadly, my friend’s words ring true all too often; once a dream becomes a reality, we find ourselves left wondering, ‘Is that it?” Can a dream be realized and also lived up to? After enduring a long, winding road, can the road’s end be worth the travel? One can only hope. Riches and a Big Mac meal are much alike. The happiness they provide is very temporary. On the other hand, lessons learned, the memories of people met, and the places discovered in search of a treasure last long after the quest’s conclusion and the wealth is spent. While silver dollars hold little more worth than the objects you can buy with them, striving to achieve less material dreams such as honour is worth much more than their medals. It is not difficult to predict whether or not the realization of your dream will leave you feeling satisfied. Consider if it will make you a fuller person, not if it will make you a person with a fuller pocketbook. “To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.” Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist is founded upon this powerful opinion. Its message is simple: if you wish to transform something base, such as lead, into something precious, such as gold, you must attempt to do so. This perseverance of alchemists should be shared by everyone. Bilbo Baggins understood. He led a simple life in Bag End and then risked his life and its simplicity, joining a treasure hunt. In the end, Bilbo was no longer a simple hobbit – he became a legend and a hobbit worth telling tales about. Whatever you consider precious, whatever you consider your dream, you must not be afraid to fail in the pursuit of it. Even if you do fail, most likely the life you left behind in the wake of your quest will wait for your return. And if you do succeed, well, you just might have something precious. Many of fiction’s most memorable characters left their ordinary lives behind to pursue dreams that were extraordinary. Be the Bilbo Baggins of the real world – do not be afraid to say goodbye to the comfort of Bag End because you, Bilbo, and I all know that Bag End will always wait but our dreams eventually won’t.