“The best way to predict the future is to create it” – Abraham Lincoln
The City of Lincoln. The Land of the Free. Where opportunities are bountiful and desires are achieved. These are the monikers that come to mind when I think about the great country we live in, the melting pot to which Uncle Sam has bestowed us the catchphrase “anything is possible once you set your mind to it”. I definitely agree with that mindset — it doesn’t matter how long it takes to get somewhere, the point is having a destination. I believe the Great Emancipator himself didn’t just wake up one day to lead an army of thousands in the Civil War to abolish slavery, nor make progress in modernizing the economy through railroads and factories without a goal, a vision, and a game plan in mind.
Nonetheless, I believe his ascendance from a Springfield, Illinois lawyer to the 16th President of the United States was due to his staunch support for anti-slavery and his prominence in winning debates over political matters, which allowed him to lead the Union Army in war against rebellious states. His vision was livened by his revering action of issuing the Emancipation Proclamation that not only freed the slaves but also turned the tide of war by having 186,000 former slaves join the Union Army, ultimately defeating the opponents and changing the European’s perspective of war from about politics to principle. I believe Lincoln’s journey from conjuring a vision to setting goals to achieving them is profound and admirable, and it makes me look introspectively into my life and ponder “what goals have I set for myself to carry though for the next 5 – 10 years?” Is it moving to the next stage in my professional career? Is it spending quality time with my loved ones? Or is it making an impact through recurring blog posts that inspire readers to think, to act, to achieve and to lead?
That thought lingered with me as I visited Lincoln Square this week in hopes of gaining inspiration from the neighborhood where the bronze statue of Lincoln himself stands tall and mighty. The little niche area offered homemade pierogi and specialty meat along with rooftop beer gardens that brew thirst-quenching German stouts. Mainly influenced by German heritage in its cafes and eateries (notably the Chicago Brauhaus where it’s always Oktoberfest and Lutz Café & Bakery where you’ll find mouth-watering chocolate and sugar glazed baumkuchen), the neighborhood resonates with the notion that dreams are achieved in a land of the unknown when German merchants crossed the ocean, stepped onto American soil, filled up vacant commercial spaces in the area post WWII, and ultimately lived the “American dream”.
That sentiment of “what you dream, you achieve” echoed down Lincoln Avenue as I walked past bustling businesses filled with artisan shops and grub hubs. It made me realize that my goal of becoming a writer (where my ideas, thoughts and perceptions are relayed from cognitive matters to black alphabets on white canvas) is ambitious and far-fetched, but definitely not unattainable. That with some consistent honing in verbiage and prose I can use my words to motivate and inspire readers to dream bigger, to plan further, and to achieve greater. Thanks to Little Germany and Honest Abe, I walked out of Lincoln Square with a renewed sense of self and purpose, and though I burnt a few brain cells contemplating whether or not the goal I’ve set 2 years ago still holds true (and what progress I’ve made so far from that minuscule idea of a fashion and lifestyle blog to a full-fledged website), I have to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the efforts didn’t take a tumultuous war or crossing deep waters to get there 🙂
Credits: Jason J Photography http://www.jason-j-photography.com/