It seems to me that once we realize that our innocence and naivety are gone, we spend the rest of our lives trying to find something to fill that void; trying to convince ourselves that the world is not as terrible as it seems. But the world is evil, inherently, and we must work without ceasing to combat that, to put as much good into the world as we can.
[Editor's note: I sound like a freaking preacher or something.]
Our dreams are actually the imagination's manifestations of our deepest longings; our truest desires. Dreams are profitable to us when they motivate us to work towards our goals, but we must take care not to dream too much, for this takes our focus off the immediate sacrifices necessary to achieve those dreams. We must not be bogged down by goals that cannot realistically be achieved, and we must not allow ourselves to become despondent over dreams not yet realized, but rather we should concentrate our energies upon the day by day journey necessary to realize them.
All hardships are but trials, tests; the key is in how we respond to them. We must be sure to use every situation to benefit ourselves, to turn the bad around us into good within us. It is true that that which does not kill us only makes us stronger. The test lies in how that strength is applied. We can always be a better person in the end than we started out to be. If we are smart enough to pay attention, we can learn from even the worst experiences.