This I Believe

Jacob - Omaha, Nebraska
Entered on October 14, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I have been working for three years as a night janitor at a high school. I originally took the gig as a way to make some money while I finished college, but I achieved that goal six months ago and here I am still cleaning floors.

The other day I walked into the school and discovered that my floors, which were shiny the night before, were again covered with scuff marks, chewed gum, and a variety of other trash. This is the most difficult part of my day. It’s the part of the day where I realize that my work at the school will never truly be finished. It’s the part of the day when I contemplate my status in life. And, it’s the part of the day when I curse the fact that I can not get a better job.

Yesterday, however, I realized that there is one major benefit to this job; I get lots of time to day-dream. I believe that everyone should take time to dream a little during their day because it helps take away one’s negative attitude and gives them something to hope for. I don’t just dream about a better life for me, but also for a better world.

I like to think that all of the major figures from history were simply day-dreamers that made their visions reality. Where would the world be today without people who took the time to stop and imagine a better way of life?

I picture John Locke kicking a pebble down the road while envisioning a free society, or Martin Luther King sitting at his desk, chewing on a pen and imagining a world filled with equality. The beauty of day-dreams is that they can be big or small.

Sure, I have some standard day-dreams. I imagine becoming a hero after foiling a bank robbery, saving the life of someone with a very grateful (and very wealthy) relative, promoting my number one book on Letterman, or accepting my Nobel peace prize.

Most of my dreams are not so far-fetched. I imagine being at a party instead of scraping gum off the floor, or getting a day job so that I can spend more time with my wife.

A few months ago, I was dreaming about getting my diploma; and a few years ago, I was picturing myself proposing to my future wife. So, now I realize why I believe in daily doses of day-dreaming.

It helps me to see that in spite my work, there are better things in my future. It gives me goals for life outside of the mop bucket. But most importantly, it gives me an escape from reality whenever I need it. If I’m having a bad day, or if the stories on the news are too atrocious to contemplate, I can simply drift away to a more ideal life in a more perfect world.

So, yesterday while I was grabbing the broom to start my shift, I realized that I am lucky, because unlike some people, I have eight hours a day to dream about what could happen to me, and to the world, tomorrow.