When I was maybe four or five years old I wanted to be a star. I really didn’t care what kind of a star. I thought maybe I would be a singer or an actor; I even entertained the idea of being president of the United States. At eleven I was convinced I was going to be a Nobel Prize winning geneticist. Watching The West Wing at thirteen made me simultaneously dream of becoming an aide in the White House and a screenwriter. At fifteen, delving though hours of Lord of the Rings behind the scenes footage on repeat made me want to be a movie director or a screen editor. My dream of being a successful author came at seventeen, soon followed by my dream of being a literary editor at eighteen.
And then I grew up and learned that the world is a much harsher place than I was told and that I wasn’t nearly as special as I was brought up to believe.
Impossible dreams of stardom, fame, importance, and significance were systematically whittled down until new “reasonable” dreams took their place. As an adult I aspired to my own apartment instead of a Grammy. I dreamt of a job that would pay my bills instead of one that fed my imagination. I hoped to one day have enough vacation days to take a long weekend instead of traveling the world.
It’s only lately that I’ve awakened to this unconscious diminishing of my dreams and after questioning it thoroughly, I have come to the harsh conclusion that these new reasonable dreams are hollow. Tempering my aspirations to align with what society would call a rational and secure future has only caused increasing lethargy and depression. I have an apartment, a job, a car, a cat, a roommate, a bus pass, and bills galore, but all of it makes me feel empty.
I’m ashamed to say that I cowered in the face of adulthood and let go of my impossible dreams. My imagination has withered, my wonder at the world and its mysteries shrunken.
Impossible dreams do more than feed the imagination, they feed the heart. They are those things that motivate us and push us out of our comfort zones. They are the spark that lights the road to knowledge and dissatisfaction of an easy philosophical resting place. They make us reach farther and yell louder. They make us laugh in delight at the world and cry at its cruelties. They don’t let us rest. They spur us on towards greatness and watch us fail and fall from great heights, all the while encouraging us to do it again. They make us questions everything we believe and they shore us up when things fall apart. They are the things that make us live and not just merely exist.
I will get my impossible dreams back. I will dream bigger and crash harder. I will stop being scared of failure and what lies the future. I want to marvel at the world like a kid again.
So that’s what I’m doing. I will reclaim my imagination, my heart, my wonder, and my impossible dreams and be a better person for it. I may fail, in fact I probably will, but I will be a happier and more fulfilled than I was yesterday. And you never know, maybe some impossible dreams aren’t as impossible as they seem.