Crushing Dreams

My muse has this weird new drug she’s on and it caused my mind to move in strange ways. She’s also infected my dreams and given me some new fodder to chew on, but it’s the waking hours that she’s worming into more and more. On occasion lately, I find it amazing that I can carry on an entire conversation without some fleeting thought or full paragraph just dropping into my head. I like it! I’ve actually debated getting stock in pixie stix, which is Wonka, which is Nestle, which is only $34.50 right now…

The monkeys were gone this weekend and I had a lot of time to think. I played with the muse, talked to friends, read, edited, played scrabble and did nothing for a while… and thought. I thought a lot actually. Various storylines, childhood memories [because of that damn 25 list], and just life in general.  We all have the ability to be glass half-empty when we’re down, some have more of a propensity for it than others, and some of us refuse. No matter which you are, try this on… it’s fun.  Think of where you are right now—in life, in love, in career, in everything—and then think back to when you were young. How many things didn’t you expect?

I knew I’d be a writer. Deep down I always had hope with just a smear of faith. But I never expected to meet my favorite author, let alone become a friend. I never expected to meet a lot of the people I’ve met, or travel in the circles I do, or go the places I’ve gone. I never thought my Christmas card list or address book would include people that I absolutely cherish but only see a few times a year. I never expected to get a degree just to ditch it. I never expected to have children that were taller than me [although I really should have seen that one coming] or who could make me smile with the silliest of things. I never expected to be starting life over at 40. And this weekend I did a little mental inventory of all the things I never expected, but am damn glad to have… the things I cherish.

And then wondered why I didn’t expect them.

Seriously, am I alone? Or do we as humans just not expect to get what we want? Even with a glass half-full, do we expect fate and destiny and the gods of dreams to laugh as they crush us? Why? I think things pile up and wear down at our hope, our faith, our fire. Because of a train, I buried six friends one day in high school. As an adult, I watched my daughter’s friend wither away under the power of an unstoppable cancer. And numerous times over the years, I’ve held friends while they cried over lost babies. None of these would ever grow up, find love, have a family, grow old—let alone achieve career goals or dreams. Their hopes were futile, some before they even had them. I’ve loved and lost… and lost… and lost. It makes a heart grow weary. It crushes the memory of a dream that the little girl used to have: the perfect romance, that silver-screen kiss. But it didn’t crush the dream, the dream had already been worn down by everything else. Because our dreams are all connected somewhere deep in our hearts, and it doesn’t matter if it’s love or career or hobby that is crushed, it tarnishes everything else. It plants seeds of pessimism. It makes you believe that it doesn’t really exist, thus protecting you from disappointment. It removes expectations.

I never expected a lot of things that I have right now. And after a weekend of reflection and looking through photos and recalling memories and treasuring those surprises, I realize that dreams never die. They just sleep. No one can crush them but you. “Dare to dream” isn’t about giving your best, it’s about not losing that faith, that fire. It’s about remembering all those things that little girl with the slingshot wanted and hoped for, but resigned not to expect. It’s about willing life to work in your favor, making lemonade, and being unafraid of the seeds.

What do you have that you didn’t expect? What don’t you have that you never expect to get or find? Cherish the first, reach for the second. It’s there. Hiding behind the tarnish of life, waiting to be remembered, discovered and dreamed of once again.

I made a promise to a gravestone on a cold September day in 1986, it’s time to remember that promise…

0 Responses to Crushing Dreams

  • I never expected to be tied down to an Australian I met over the internet, and that it would be the greatest turning point of my life. I never expected to be thrilled about having a girl, and realizing gleefully that my future job was “overprotective dad”.

    In retrospect, I suppose life hasn’t been that bad. The losses are there and apparent, but the wins are strong and surviving. That’s enough to get by.

    Thanks for helping to put an otherwise jaded life for a grumpy nihilist into perspective for a moment.

  • Louise says:

    I never expected to get back into writing. I never expected to edit. I always knew I’d die jaded. I always knew I wouldn’t have kids. I never expected to fall in love.

    Life is weird that way, and this is a great post. I can’t think of anything else to say. I need more coffee.

    Louise :-)

  • Joseph Mulak says:

    After my first marriage ended, I never expected to ever get married again, yet here I am, less than 8 months away from my wedding.

    I’m curious, whose your favorite writer that you got to meet?

  • Kelli says:

    hmmmm… I can’t do that Joe. Heroes lose their super powers when their real identities are revealed =)

  • Bob Ford says:

    Been thinking about this one a lot.

    What did I never expect in life? I never expected time to slip away so quickly. I never expected to be running my own business at such an early age and still be doing it 14 years later. Never expected illness to invade so many facets of life (but I suppose that came with being younger and feeling immortal). Never expected to have such an incredible, amazing, loyal and fierce group of friends for almost half my life. Never expected to lose and find myself so many times. Never expected to bow to the hand of destiny.

Thoughts? Tell me what you think...

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