Where do dreams go when they die? Eh, who really cares. They’re gone, so why waste energy on speculating their whereabouts? What I really want to know is, what happens to us when our dreams die. If you’re of the group of folks that don’t have “dreams”, I think you could reasonably replace it with hope. The have a measure of overlap in this context.
Dreams, or hope, or the hope of a dream, have a general affect of giving us something to strive for, to work towards, and to keep us moving when motivation for survival isn’t enough. It might not be extravagant, and will surely vary depending on where you are in your life journey. It’s something like the purpose that drives you to get up and do what you have to, even on the shittiest mornings, and keeps you from switching off when the day goes from bad to worse.
I wanted to try to keep this generic, and not make it about my own personal experience, since it will just sound like more whining. I might have to revert to that, however, because I don’t know how to convey it in non-specific examples.
A big part of the despair is as simple as running out of time. It’s a unique factor in that it’s the one thing that no amount of luck or lottery can make up for. There is a point of no return for every dream, some of them are more forgiving than others, but eventually the clock winds down your dream. Yes, there are myriad examples of people finding success late in life, and sometimes the other factors wouldn’t allow it to happen any sooner. If your dream is to switch careers, or go back to school, even fall in love; time might not be your primary enemy. This assumes you have some fortune with the other required resources.
If your dream of going to space, competing in the olympics or backpacking across country in your 20s, time will slam doors on you pretty decisively. For most of us, we might find ourselves somewhere in between. Simply wanting to have a secure retirement, or a retirement at all, mean long term input and navigation to achieve, and a certain amount of luck.
Through bad luck, bad management, or often both, many of us find ourselves in some some depressingly hopeless situations. You only have to look around to see these people, if you aren’t one of them. You can often read about them when they become victims of suicide. When problems don’t come with any reasonably attainable solution, daily life changes.
When you can calculate the handful of variables in your control, compounding them, extrapolating into the near and far term future, the outcomes become universally bleak. Barring some black swan event, that by it’s nature you can’t even guess the odds or magnitude of the outcome, you know the end of the story already. All that’s left is to keep turning the pages.
When I was a kid, I had a Sesame Street book, and it was about the monster at the end of the book. It began with Grover, I believe, calmly explaining that there was a monster at the end of the book. As each page was turned, and the monster loomed closer, Grover would become increasingly upset and agitated, trying every trick imaginable to get you to stop turning the pages. Ultimately, you turned the last page, Grover is having a meltdown, but then discovers HE is the monster at the end of the book. Haha, right?
I know anything can happen, any day. Life can change in an instant. It does. In my book, it’s almost exclusively in ways worse than even I can anticipate. How do I inject some hope into the equation? What do I have IN MY POWER that I can use to redirect this inevitable march? Hoping, praying, counting on karma or balance isn’t enough. It hasn’t been enough, I have decades of receipts. I don’t want the end that’s written for me. My resources are squandered, my energy is depleted, I’m not confident in my physical or mental health even.
I see the hopelessness in the eyes of many, while the rest of the word scurries about gathering their nuts and berries, carving out time to enjoy life, along with a plan to keep it all together. I don’t know what else I can give, beg, or barter to get another chance. How are you doing it?