Sunday, March 9, 2014

#151 - The Importance of Being a Dreamer

"I know that everybody has a dream / Everybody has a dream
Everybody has a dream / And this is my dream, my own"

- Billy Joel "Everybody Has a Dream"

I guess I've had a number of dreams over the years. Growing up, I dreamed of becoming a doctor. Then, when I learned how long that would take, I switched to dreaming of architecture (still an interest), then law. Along with the dream of becoming a lawyer was the thought I might someday go into politics - until I realized I wouldn't even win an election in my own family.

These are the dreams of what I would call real life - what I wanted to be when I grew up. There were also the dreams I knew to be complete fantasy - dreams of being a successful baseball player, even though I had no talent; dreams of being a singer/songwriter (I do like to sing and do still write lyrics, so maybe I haven't completely let go of that one); dreams of owning a number of television and radio stations, a pale imitation of which played out in my ten years working in radio and television; even dreams of being an acclaimed novelist (haven't quite let go of that dream yet). Most of these were part of my survival mechanism, I suppose, a way to cope with and get through all of the crap I felt to be going on around me.

Delusional? Perhaps. But I have come to realize that dreams are important to us in all stages of life. They are, really, the thing that keeps up going and makes it possible for us to get out of bed day after day. Even if they might never come true, there is always a chance they might, and that makes it possible for people to go on. They certainly made it possible for me to go on.

An oft-paraphrased quote from Karl Marx states that religion is the opiate of the masses. In some ways, I suspect our dreams are the opiate. They are what keeps us going when times are hard. They give us something to look forward to, to get out of bed for. It has been said that when we stop dreaming, we die.

So even at my later stage of life, I continue to dream. For the most part, my dreams have changed with age. I no longer dream of being this or of having that career. Instead, I dream of going places, seeing things. My dream now is of retiring and living full-time in a motorhome, traveling to see places I've never seen and people I haven't seen in a long time.

Right now, it looks as if that dream could well come true, and that helps keep me going. Plus, I still have dreams of writing that novel. If I can just find the discipline to sit down and do it. What dreams do you hold on to?

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