Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ingredient 1: Dreams - Blog3

Dreams. What comes to mind at the mention of the word? For me, it conjures those ghostly tales that play out when our minds fall far enough into the nether regions of sub-consciousness to be so easily convinced of the unfathomable. Or, it brings to thought those ideas and goals that define our every waking choice until we either become them or relinquish them. Two entirely different ingredients, really, but each as capable of as much sweetness and bitterness as the other, and each influencing our palates more than we are ever willing to admit. But, for the sake of any potential readers that have an attention span as short and fickle as my own, I will focus only on the kind of dreaming that (i think) I had in mind when I wrote the List of "ingredients" ten years ago: The dreams we live with -or without- in our waking moments.
Dreams - or aspirations as the grown-ups say - are those grand things that begin right around the time we learn to walk, talk, and immitate the giants that intrude upon the tiny and perfect perspective of infancy and toddlerdom. They begin as fragments gathered from the shiny new world around us juxtaposed with the immeasurable reach of the undaunted imagination of the child we once were. These defining elements called dreams begin their formation before we understand the concept of impossibility, and by the limitlessness of the young mind, dreams are built with the strongest of materials: belief. Pure, unquestioned belief in...everything.
But, as we grow (in size, not insight), the years (and the influences that populate them) teach us to construct fences, blockades. We learn very quickly that we must keep our dreams in line with the reasonable and realistic lest we be let down by the harsh lessons of life. We are sized and suited with armor in preparation for disappointment before we can even pronounce the word "potential." So, we dress for success, but only of the ordinary, attainable kind. And as we begin to rein in our imaginations and solidify our limitations, we unwittingly commence cutting huge, gaping holes in the very thing that begets every aspect of life: inspiration. Without inspiration, there can be no ambition; and without ambition, dreams remain fruit on the vine: untouched, untasted...We dream of being astronauts, but are pulled back down to earth by the gravity of our own constricted ideas of "realistic." We dream of being Broadway stars, but instead portray the mundane - but safe - role of the audience member. We dream of being marine biologists, but faced with the challenge of difficult prerequisite courses and requirements that we believe to be outside the scope of our intellectual vision, we settle for annual visits to Sea World.
And life speeds on by without apology.
Our aspirations - whether shrinking or expanding - are essential to who we are. By expansion, they fill us with pride and wonder and the feeling that anything is possible; in shrinking, they leave us feeling confined, insignificant, and hopelessly predetermined. Here's the great thing about dreams, though: they're never lost, only forgotten; they're never dead, only resting, waiting; and they never, never agreed to any did.