It’s crazy being 22, graduated, and living back at home. At 18, I pawned my small eco-system for a much larger one. Now that I’ve returned to the old neighborhood, it’s much smaller than I remember. I see some old faces. Some strange faces see me. I’ve grown out of it.
The shrinkage is self-imposed. It’s a defense mechanism, a shield, trying to protect the self from the reality that it’s back where it started. I went off to school with dreams. My friends went off to school with dreams. And now that we’re back, those dreams of ours are complicated by reality. I haven’t sold out yet; I’m fighting the good fight. But a deadline is coming, and the agencies want their fees.
I see the same fight going on all around. Rockstars teaching music. Authors maintaining the library’s hush. Police walking the beat of the hardware store aisles. . I’ve become acutely aware of a cycle that stagnates generations of families. Farmers beget farmers. Baristas beget baristas. Lawyers beget lawyers. And unless you get out early, your birthstone and gravestone may be but a few cosmic paces from the other.
But the funny thing about dreams is that we only become aware of them in the middle. I’ve awoken many a night from some outlandish happenstance and, in trying to retrace my steps, have only been able to go back so far. Never knowing how the dream starts, only how it ends.
If we could see dreams from their conception it would give us a better understanding of life. Because life isn’t a dream where you’re plopped in at the climactic finish. It takes however long it takes to get there. And according to Click (2006) that’s not what we want life to be. But in the absence of knowing where and when we’re supposed to be, we’re left with an unjustified hope—dreams.