Filters and Dreams

Hello, blogiverse! So I, like most college-age people, am the victim of a smartphone addiction hanging treacherously on the edge of compulsive obsession. As much as I try to kick the habit of checking text messages and Twitter during class, I can’t quite get it out of my system. Normally, this really bothers me, but today I’m thankful for where I ended up on my cellular device. Its not the most profound story by any means, but here’s why:

Instagram is a photo and video sharing application used mostly on smartphones. One can add artsy filters and effects to photos before posting, and the increasingly popular #hashtag is used to categorize them. I happen to quite like this app since my newsfeed is filled with hard-core bicycles, pretty dresses, marathoners, and food of all kinds. Anyway, the other day I got a new follower (one step closer to becoming internet famous, y’all!) with a bicycle inspired username. This peaked my interest and after checking out his profile and doing a few quick searches, I discovered that this man was also on an American bicycle journey to draw attention to several causes close to his heart. Each day pictures of his travels slide into view on my screen and as they do I think of how my own adventure is drawing closer and closer. Today, I left a comment on one of these posts thanking him for the inspiration and explaining very briefly about Illini 4000. The comment I received back got the gears in my head turning. He said, “I am so pleased to hear you are doing something so epic! Best wishes and keep us posted on your progress as you pursue your dreams.”

“…as you pursue your dreams.” In the short time I have been involved in the Illini 4000 I’ve heard it described many ways. Amazing, crazy, kick-butt (use your imagination, folks), stupid, outrageous, life changing, and painful are only a few of the descriptions I’ve come across, and I’ll admit “dream” was not one I expected to hear. In my current world of problem sets, exams, and emails, dreams are either what my degree is supposed to provide or something I’m too tired to remember. I mean, let’s be honest, college is far from easy! However, we all know there’s so much more to life than a 4.0 GPA and a $90k per year salary. On a deeper level my real dreams (and I’m sure I’m not the only one!) lie in the same place as where “more to life” can be found. Call me crazy, but I dream about prioritizing people; about making the world a better place. I dream about childish idealities that the proverbial “they” should have knocked out of me by now. World hunger? We could feed it. Poverty? We can pay it. Cancer? We can cure it. I dream in cliches and I am not ashamed! All of my teammates, I think, have to be somewhere on the same overzealous page as me to dedicate themselves to something as crazy, kick-butt, stupid, outrageous, painful, and dreamlike as Illini 4000.

Because we’re not just a bike ride, and we’re not just a fundraiser. We’re a bunch of crazy kids with enough reckless passion to act on our convictions and desert life as we know it because we care about the future of others, for goodness sakes! If that isn’t dreaming I don’t know what is.

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