May 19, 2015 by phicks2012
It occurred to me recently — well, maybe not so VERY recently as that — that when we’re very young we have all sorts of dreams and expectations of what our lives will hold, and that anything is possible. We can dream of being astronauts, fairy princesses, matinee idols, billionaires, sports icons, best-selling authors, music stars, prima ballerinas, and Nobel Prize Winners.
Well, we very soon learn that while some of these dreams might be remotely possible, there’s a lot more involved in attaining them than just “wanting” them badly. Some require talents, aptitudes, or specialized education, and possibly also healthy doses of good luck and good timing. Some, like high fashion modeling, require us to be blessed with extraordinary good looks, and a very slender build, while others, like some individual sports, are financially costly.
At that point, most of us lower our expectations just a bit, and temper our dreams, but we still fully expect that certain dreams are going to come true. For example, we are certain that we are going to be successful in our careers — if maybe not world-famous, and that eventually we are going to meet our soul-mates — that one perfect one.
Some people are talented enough, or smart enough, or hard-working enough, or lucky enough to rise like cream to the top of the career barrel, but most of us don’t make it to that strata. Some people, and I know of a few (and am intensely jealous, by the way) manage to meet someone special and to forge a long and happy life with that person, but most of us have romantic successes and failures, and some of us simply never find “the one”, or miss our chance.
If we grow older still without seeing our dreams come true, it becomes more and more difficult to imagine that those dreams WILL ever come true. Let’s face it, by then we have less and less time ahead of us to work with. If we haven’t had children of our own by the time our child-bearing years are over, we probably aren’t going to see that dream come true, and if we haven’t been promoted to management by the time we’re nearing retirement age the chances are slim that this is ever going to happen. If we haven’t been “discovered” by a certain age, we’re unlikely to become a movie star or pop idol, and many sports tend to be very youth-centric as well, for obvious reasons.
So, at what point do we simply shug, accept that our dreams simply aren’t going to come true, and stop hoping? I think that depends upon the person, but I’ve found that while many of us do stop “expecting” unfulfilled dreams to come true, most of us still have trouble letting go of ALL of them, and I think that’s a good thing.
Everyone should have and hang onto a few dreams, even when they seem unlikely to come true, and the verse below was written with that in mind.
When life is green with promise in a world unblemished new,
Our hearts distaining compromise ne’er yield,
Nor make surrender, nor concede, and nascent dreams are true,
Within the compass of believing’s shield.
We have not learned that dreams may fail, and thus we still hold fast
To those that make our youthful slumbers sweet,
And know within our souls that dreams will linger unsurpassed;
Bold fantasies not destined for defeat.
But time will wear the shield away, and hearts become less sure,
And doubt creeps in as larger visions fail.
For smaller dreams we settle then, and hope they will endure,
But learn that even such may not prevail.
How bitter comes the taste of hope, its sweetness leeched away
By cruel loss and promise unredeemed.
And yet, withal it may be found, though magic’s worn away,
That wounded hearts still dream the older dreams.
[11 May, 2015]