In our youth, we are filled with dreams and aspirations. As we age, dreams we once held sacred and critical to our identity slowly begin to dematerialize. There are many reasons for this, none that really matter. What matters is, that as the possibilities of obtaining our dreams begin to fade, so do our childhood selves.
One can argue, that adulthood is about realism, not chasing silly childhood dreams. I argue against.
That said, not all dreams are attainable. Sorry. Some of your dreams will never see existence. You’re not going to be an olympic gold medalist. Your 36 with knee problems. You most likely won’t have a harem of women. You’re married with children, not to mention you can’t afford it. Alas, many dreams fade – but not all need to.
The problem many face when thinking about their dreams – slash – bucket list, is that the stuff in the bucket is unsorted. Just because your chances of becoming an astronaut figure skater is slim to none, doesn’t mean you need to give up on your dream to practice kung-fu at a Shaolin temple.
First things is first, let’s sort out your dreams.
There are three types of dreams
- Dreams to have and acquire
- Dreams to do and experience
- Dreams to learn and be.
The last two are important to strive for, worth it, and attainable. The first can be ignored. You won’t be missing out on much.
Let me explain.
Dreams to have and acquire
I dreamt of having a huge mansion, with corinthian columns inside, a white grand piano (no, I don’t play), a waterfall in the centre of the room, exotic birds flying around, and a giant greenhouse in the backyard (somewhere to smoke doobs, in nature, in winter). I dreamt of having seven different vehicles to drive – one for every day of the week. Suffice to say, I had many dreams of luxury and riches.
Those big luxurious dreams served their purpose. They kept me going when times were tough. They helped me think in an abundance mindset. I watched gaudy hip hop videos to keep me reminded that I won’t be poor, desolate, sad and pathetic. That one day, I’ll have it all, and that my haters will burn in jealousy. Because when you’re 18 and without a girlfriend, the world’s a hater.
I’m 36 years old now, and in love with my 2001 Toyota Sienna. To be quite honest, none of the above matter. I don’t think about them; I only remember them now because I’m writing this article. I’ve accepted my impending death, and know that having such things won’t make a difference. At least, not in the way it matters to me.
While they kept a young 18 year old upbeat and motivated, those old dreams are actually demotivating today. Why? They are distractions to more important dreams. Those in the next two categories.
Dreams to do and experience
There’s a profound and lasting happiness that comes from experiencing, versus acquiring. The wise can atest, both wealthy and not. $5,000 to own a [insert useless thing] versus travelling to a foreign and exotic land? Those who are more ethereal and require a higher level of mind stimulation will agree, the thing will do very little.
Here’s some good news. Dreams in this category are attainable. You can experience profound moments through great conversations, travel, making love, making art, making love to multiple people at the same time, and magic mushrooms.
Do the things you wanted as a child. Even if it means not having the things you wanted. Forgo the Lamborghini and build those shelters and wells you said you will. I gauran-fucking-tee, you will not regret it. Plus, most Lambo owners are pretty sad and soft (hip hop soft). Don’t be sad and soft.
Finally, dreams to learn and be
By far, these dreams are the most powerful, and should be on top of your list. Sadly, these are also the dreams that most people don’t verbalize, write down, or chase the hardest. These are the dreams that get shoved in the back of the closet in place of seemingly shinier things like that stupid gold Rolex that neither brings value to you or the world. Even worse, these are the dreams that don’t get shoved, but get forgotten.
Unlike your [insert your useless thing], learning has a net positive on both you and society. Learning increases your daily dose of dopamine while keeping your mind healthy and alive. Also, smart people are sexy. So go ahead and learn the guitar, swimming, and that exotic language your tongue has been lusting to lick. Learn how to fly, knit, bake, and throw kung-fu fists. It’s never too late, and it’s easier to attain than you think.
The greatest women and men in history were those who dared to dream to be more than society pigeonholed them to be.
I had many dreams to be. I dreamt to be like Bond, James Bond. I dreamt to be like Bruce Lee, MLK, Socrates, Jesus, Genghis Khan (2007 movie version), Donatello (TMNT), and Spiderman. I dreamt be a good husband, and great father. I dreamt to be kind, loving, giving, confident, intelligent, and a somebody. I dreamt to be a winner, and not a loser.
Why? For the same reason we dream of things like Lamborghini. Because we don’t have them. I didn’t love myself, was afraid of the world, and far too often in my youth, felt like a loser.
To be, is easier than you think.
You can attain this much faster. You’re not stuck being you. Sure, I know, you think you’re great. But really, dig deep and ask, are you the most awesomeness version of you? Who is this person? Whoever it is, you can be it. It may require you to walk a long road, but every step will be in the right direction.
There will come that moment: when you realize you’ve become that superhero you dreamt of being. The dad your kids love and respect. The husband your wife is proud to talk about. The son, friend, and champion society wants on its side. The person you’re happy to hang with when you’re all alone. When you finally realize you’ve arrived, and you’ve achieved, it’ll most likely be quiet, and you’ll probably be alone. You may want to take a moment to breath. A moment to weep. For now you’ll know how it feels to be you, the better version your childhood dreamt of. And in your weeping, you’ll realize it was worth it, and you’ll wish it for others.
You deserve to be that person. The world needs it. But most importantly, your childhood self needs it.