I like dreams.
Dreams of success. Dreams of love. Dreams of being a hero. Dream of sex. Dreams of stepping into a secret world of wonder, adventure, and beauty.
I used to believe in dreams because I thought they would come true. And I thought that in coming true, they would be just like the fantasies I’d concocted.
Then I got older, and realized dreams don’t really come true like that. Dreams can come true, of course, but they’re no longer dreams, just another slice of reality. A tastier slice than usual, maybe, but still prone to the faults and shortcomings of all the rest.
So I said, “Screw dreams!” and decided to become a Rational Man. A Rational Man that didn’t go in for any of that nonsense because it isn’t true, it just isn’t true. And I became a bony-hearted, bitter-boned, cold-fingered, cynical-toothed Rational Man. And I was as happy as that lifestyle allowed.
But I’ve started to dream again. Here and there, in fits and spurts. And it feels good.
We are happiest when we have unfulfilled dreams. When a dream comes true, it feels nice for a while, but then the joy fades back to normal, and you realize that it didn’t ultimately bring you undying happiness. And to have no dreams at all leaves you nothing to hope for.
I’m looking at several bookshelves full of books. At some point in time, I wanted every single one of those books. I came across each one at a sale or a bookstore and wanted it more than I wanted the money it would cost. Sometimes I’d seek out a book for months before finding it. Now they sit on my shelves, unappreciated, some forgotten.
Or take music. I like this song:
It’s been on the radio for a few months now, and I listen to it every time it comes up. I could buy the single for 99 cents, but I know that once I do, the song will cease to be special.
I used to collect coins. I’d go to the bank and buy thirty dollars in change, take it all home, and empty all the rolls of nickels, pennies, dimes, and quarters on the ground, rooting through them to find one I didn’t have in my collection yet.
One of the collections was of the state quarters:
You’d buy the Warman’s quarter book, and then when you found a quarter you didn’t have yet, you’d take it home, push it into the quarter-shaped slot, realize the quarter-shaped slot was a slightly-smaller-than-a-quarter-shaped slot, and pound the coin into place with a hammer until it broke through the back. Good times.
And then, one day, out of nowhere, my dad went out and bought all the quarters we were missing. “There!” he said, “Now your collection is complete!”
That was the last day I ever collected coins.
You can’t buy a collection, you have to collect it. You can’t buy dreams, either. You can’t take the shortcut around them. You can’t cheat your way to them.
Maybe we set our sights too low. We make up all these tiny dreams that we can’t possibly fail, and then we throw money at them until they work. And then on to the next, and the next, and the next! Who needs good dreams when you can have so many?
I’m holding my dreams to higher standards now. Having a good lunch no longer qualifies as a dream.
I want to finish the trilogy of novels I’ve started.
I want to write and direct a movie.
I want to make a graphic novel…at least the words part.
I want to stop using the word “suddenly” so often.
I want to create and showrun at least two television shows…three if no one stops me.
I want to affect people with my writing after the book ends and the last credits roll.
And I don’t want it to be easy. I want it to be worthwhile.
Don’t pursue your dreams because you think they’ll come true. Chase your dreams because they’re worth chasing.
To conclude, I’ll leave you with this song from Frozen. With Idina Menzel’s heart-rending vocals and the most picturesque animation I’ve seen in years… As a creative type, I can only dream of creating something so beautiful.