Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dreams... what if they were realities? (2005)

All of us have dreams. Not just the dreams that enter our sleeping selves and confuse our waking minds, but dreams of the conscious self; things you wish so strongly for that you feel your heart might break if you can’t have them. There are more realistic dreams, dreams about entering a certain career or traveling to a great place, but these are only the dreams we speak of. There are dreams deep inside of us that we may never reveal to anyone, for we know in the depths of our most hated pessimism that they will never come true. This feeling of not being able to do something you so wish to do wells up inside, and you hate it. You want to squash it back down, saying you can do anything, but your anger turns to bitterness as you know it is right.
One of these such things is the well-wished desire to live forever. Living forever, I could do all the things I have dreamed; all the realistic dreams... and perhaps some of the unrealistic ones.
If I could live forever, I would learn to speak Gaelic. I feel I could never learn such a complicated language in one lifetime, what with all the other things occupying my list of priorities. The dying language of the Scots and Celts, Gaelic is a part of our history. Often I have heard songs in Gaelic, and I love these songs though I can’t understand what is being said. I wish I could learn this beautiful language... if I could live forever, I would.
If I could live forever, I would read. More than I can now with other things to do, I’d finish that stacks of books by my bed and the bookshelves full in other parts of the house. I would love to read all books by and about Mark Twain, and would simply drink up the wit and imagination of this brilliant individual. I would read all Agatha Christie books, marveling at the genius of the crimes she has made, and amazed at how much about human behavior she has noticed. For additional fun, I would read all the fantasy books I could, and enjoy the luxury of escaping to my imagination.
If I could live forever, I would learn the history of the world, and record all that passed me by. I read fantasy, I write fantasy, but I always know that it’s the simple history of our people that holds the most fascinating story of them all. What people have done -- in anger, in fear, in inspiration, in grief, in happiness, in greed -- is amazing. Human behavior and action during the ages causes awe amongst the curious, and the hunger to know it all fills us. I would record the history of the times that I lived through, if I could live forever.
Living forever is up high on the charts of human dreams, but there are many more things people wish they could do.
One of the more bizarre popular wants is the desire to know what life is like to be an animal. Personally, I would love to spend a day as a cat. To feel the balance of the four paws and the tail -- to be able to swish that tail! It would be amazing. If I could be a cat for a day, I would climb trees. As a young child, I loved to climb a tree and then use the branches to transport myself to an adjacent tree. The older I became, the more riskier it was to go out on some of those thin branches. As a cat, I would walk the treetops. I would catwalk on fences, and sleep untroubled in the sun. I would talk to my cat, and I would chase the bugs in the grass. I would have so much fun if I could be a cat for a day.
Next on the chart of ‘wannas’ has to do with the untamed unknown of water. What would it be like to swim to the bottom of the deepest ocean? The ocean is beautiful as it is wild, and the mystery of its depths intrigues us. The deepest ocean is (to average depth) the Pacific Ocean, which holds the deepest point in any ocean: the Marianas trench was measured 35,797 feet (10,911 m). That is approximately 6.8 miles deep. Imagine all the things that lie beneath those tons of water! Swimming to the bottom of the ocean is somewhat of an odd desire for someone like me. I do not like to get wet, I’m afraid of the intense dark, and deep (very deep) water scares me. But the ocean in its beauty sings out to me, and I would love to visit the bottom of it. The fish, the plant life... if only I could take pictures down there! It would be frightening, swimming that deep with all those strange and many dangerous creatures, but wouldn’t it be amazing to swim to the bottom of the deepest ocean?
There are many other impossible dreams that everybody carries, but I think the most yearned-for thing is the ability to fly. We have our airplanes and our hang-gliders, but those do not offer the untamed freedom of the empty air. Imagine how loose you are, up there, with nothing to oppress you! It would feel like you could do anything, as you spun around on the wind. We are restrained every day by so many things; our jobs, our families, our shoes, our seat-belts, our obligations, our weariness. It would be heaven to fly with the birds, see the wonders of the world from above, and rejoice in the moments of no restraint.
I have nightmares of falling, all the time, because I know I can not catch myself. Perhaps these nightmares would go away, if I could fly.
Impossible dreams fill our minds in moments of sorrow, moments of wistfulness, moments of melancholy. There are things we want so much, it hurts to think of them. We hate to face the realization they will not come true, and we sigh and say ‘That’s ok.’ I wish I could tell you to hold on to those impossible dreams, but sometimes I think that life would be less painful if we did not desire what we can never get. Keep on with those dreams that are possible -- if you want to be a billionaire and own a castle by the sea, it is a dream worth holding onto. If you dream of having 20 children, it’s a goal you should aim for. If you dream of traveling the world and learning 8 languages, keep it up! Go for your dreams, go ahead. I often despair that I will never get my novels published, but I know that it is possible, and this knowledge keeps me going. I no longer have the great desire to jump off high places to see if I could flap my arms and fly, because I know it will never happen, and all I will get is bruises and crazy stares. This is because I am going after my realistic dreams, and leaving the impossible dreams behind. Life is so much easier when you know that what you aim for is likely to be hit.
There is a fine line between unlikely and impossible dreams. To fly is impossible; to be that billionaire with that shining castle is only unlikely. So if you want to become president -- well, why not? Never say it’s impossible, never. If you do, make sure you let me know, so I can come and give you a strict talking-to.
Hold onto the pebbles, keep your hold on that dust -- a tight hold! -- as you let the thin air go. Be strong and daring, curious and endeavoring. You may hide those dreams away in a little box, but don’t forget to take them out and look at them every once and a while. And, if you feel brave enough, go ahead and give into the dreams. They are, after all, there to have you strive to make yourself happy. Each of us are only here for so long, and during that time we need to be happy. That’s what dreams are for. Don’t lose your dreams, or you will always regret it... even if it is in the depths of your most hated pessimism.

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