We are all the stuff of dreams.
Someone famous said that. But what does that really mean?
It means we are all stars hurtling through the sky, rotating in broken circles, doomed to either speed through this world alone, or crash a thousand times, waiting and hoping for the one time we are joined with some other falling star. But beneath all these layers of romantic imagery, there is the notion that maybe all of it is grounded in a sea of bullsh*t.
What do we dream about now, this generation of us?
As a child, I dreamed of a big house – I had watched too much MTV Cribs, and I wanted bookcases that became revolving doors, walls that also doubled as television screens, and a separate room with a retractable roof and a swimming pool. But more generally, I wanted to be someone that other people saw, that other people viewed doing things. I wanted my job to be visible, my progress to be traceable, my potential to be analyzable, my life to be a book of success and accomplished dreams.
Now, I see these past dreams as the foolish uncertainties of an easily manipulated mind. I wish I could convince others the same. And I know many of you, you people out there, are composed of steadfast character and defined will and can see through the veils of temptation that this society throws at us. Because here’s the point: we are the generation that has not learned how to dream for ourselves.
We have dreamed the dreams our parents have wanted us to dream, our society has made us dream, our media has forced us to dream. And in not dreaming for ourselves, we have, in turn, dreamed more selfishly, more lavishly, more wealthily. We are dream omnivores, devouring the meaty substance of dream material that dangles in front of us at every turn. When will I learn to think for myself? When will we learn to do the same?
We are all good people. I firmly believe that. I have had enough doors held for me, and enough beers bought for me, and enough love given to me without need for reciprocation that I firmly believe we are all stuffed with goodness. We are lucky to be able to dream, to see even a tenth of what we dream for become some sort of reality. Next time you walk down the street, be it in New York City or Sioux Falls, South Dakota, look around at the people you see, at the buildings that hold countless people doing countless things. Imagine their dreams gathering above them in clouds, and let yourself walk through that dense fog of dreams. We should not be stars, hurtling on our path towards success, dreaming our dreams alone, even if they are simple and good dreams, dreams of a happy family, dreams of a healthy lifestyle. We play a part, however small, in the dreams of others, like stars in a mutual orbit.
I want my dreams to come true — and they are simple dreams, perhaps the same dreams many of us have.
I dream of being a father, of having a family, of being decent and honest. There is a man who lives down the block from me, who I see every day. He takes care of his mother, who is slowly, slowly dying. He did not dream that dream, and I do not know what dreams he had to give up to be in the reality he has been living in, constantly, for the better part of four years. Our dreams are shaky things, uncertain things. We live in a world where a few things are certain: the existence of love, and the existence of our ability to turn away from love. I want to learn how to value this love over the shaky uncertainty of my own dreams; I want to learn how to hold the door open for other’s dreams.