For Every One aims to inspire the dreamer in all of us


For Every One offers, at times, relatable advice for millennial dreamers, but may stray from its goal due to lofty idealism.

New York Times‘ bestselling author Jason Reynolds offers inspiration and hope to dreamers with For Every One. As the title states, this poem is for everyone. Yet, it hones in on youth who hope to be better and do more with their life.

Reynolds’ words touch on common aspects of the millennial experience (well, really anyone’s experience in their teens to late 20s) — anxiety, insecurity, self-doubt. All of these can hinder one’s ability to achieve their goals. As a millennial, this writer did feel a connection to portions of the poetry, or “letter” as the author describes it.

Yes, we don’t want to stop dreaming because life would be pretty boring. Yes, there is a constant battle to think big and at the same time stomp out any doubt. Yes, despite the danger of failure, we decide to “jump anyway.”

“You hope the voice that delivers the loudest whispers of what you envision never silences,” Reynolds writes midway through.

All of the above is an honest reflection of what many young dreamers feel day-to-day. It doesn’t matter if we’re a creative, like an artist or a musician or a writer, or someone who just wants to start a family or work at a law firm. Big or small, short or long-term, Reynolds is reminding us that our dreams matter.

Now, not to crush on dreams, but a repeated anecdote throughout Reynold’s letter is his expectation to have made something of himself by 16, then 18. There’s the idea that he thought he’d make a million dollars before he was 25.

Saying one wants to be successful or have a dream job — for example, to be president or an astronaut — makes sense. It’s a bit much to say making millions of dollars (or fine, just one million dollars) was an honest expectation at a quarter of one’s life, even for someone looking to enjoy a motivational poem.

Unfortunately, this idea connects with nearly every negative stereotype about millennials: high expectations with no reality check in sight, craving to do something remarkable and fantastic by 28 (we’ll use the age Reynolds noted), etc. It reads as unrealistic and odd, or makes one question why they haven’t had this goal themselves the entire time.

While, yes, this is a book for dreamers, the advice bounces back and forth between honest ways to achieve one’s goals and implausible ideas for said goals.

The writer does offer a redeeming concept that, of course, you may not achieve your lifelong dreams in your youth. He speaks of his mother finding her passions when she was over 50. Reynolds shares a pretty acceptable notion that when you’re older, you can still pursue what you love.

Reynolds often mentions throughout his letter that he knows nothing about making it. That’s relatable and honest. He talks about how your “goal” at 18 may be to just make it to 21. That’s a sad reality many face today, due to police violence or school shootings or issues with drugs and alcohol. So again, it’s relatable to some and very honest. Reynolds also says dreams don’t have to be big and wild. They can simply be about taking care of yourself and loved ones. Once more, relatable and honest.

This might be a personal reflection, but judging from most conversations this reader’s had since college, to think you’d be rolling in a million dollars by your mid-20’s doesn’t come close to being a relatable notion.

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Reynolds’ For Every One does offer useful and much-needed advice for anyone filled with doubt or uncertainty, questioning what to do next with their dreams. We just hope readers take some of the concepts with a grain of salt (Himalayan millennial pink salt, perhaps).