Dreams Are Fragile
Once, when I 12, I visited my aunt and uncle at my grandparent's house in North Carolina with my sister, who was about 8 at the time.
One sunny afternoon during the trip, my sister and I were sitting on the porch with my uncle drinking sweet tea as we always did when we went down to the South to visit family. As a 12-year-old with a full-flung sugar addiction, my Grandma’s sweet tea was like liquid crack.
“Samantha, what do you want to be when you grow up?” my Uncle Mark asked my sister. He had that thick Southern drawl that made everything he said seem like it was the beginning of a story in Matthew McConaughey’s memoir, Greenlights.
“A singer.” replied my sister, beaming as she professed her childhood dream. I cringed. I was praying that my uncle wasn’t about to put her down with “real talk”.
“That sounds absolutely wonderful,” he said, “I’m gonna come to all your shows when you’re famous. I hope you’ll leave me a ticket.”
There was silence for a moment. I mean, that’s not really a “what about you?” question when you’re 8 and talking to a man in his 40s.
Nonetheless, my uncle decided to tell us about his childhood dreams, and I’m incredibly glad he did.
“When I was a boy, I wanted to be a cowboy when I grew up.”
“Well,” said my sister, “what are you now that you’re grown up?”
Then, my uncle said something I’ll never forget:
“Well, I’m not a cowboy, so I guess I ain’t grown up yet.”
Nothing Is Like a Childhood Dream
When you’re a young adult, you can’t help but be a little bit self-obsessed. As your childhood innocence wears off, a lot of us cling to our dreams with all our might. We become bitter if we can’t achieve them and selfish if we can. We grow distant from each other.
The future is all anyone asks you about when you’re young. You are the future. You don’t have the life experience to be an authority figure in any subject, and most adults really don’t care enough to ask you what you’ve done. All people care about is what you’re…