When I was little, I wanted to be a world-renowned singer with a giant castle made of crystal so I could see outside and have constant sunshine all day without opening windows. And the house would be all sparkly, and they would make light rainbows on the floor, and I would save all the animals in the world, and stop all the wars, and feed all the children…and…and…and…then I grew up. I grew up, and I found out what peeping toms, stalkers, bad record deals, bureaucracy, and mortgages were, and that all went right out of the window.
I find myself feeling now the same way I felt when I visited Disney World for the first time and realized that not only did Cinderella not live in that giant castle there, but that it was only a giant hollowed out clock where people in T-shirts and khaki shorts went in and out with walkie-talkies.
Cinderella was my favorite Disney cartoon when I was about 3 or 4. And I remember he saying things like…
And dammit, I believed it! I thought if you wished real hard, and dreamed real big, and really worked for something…or at least found a fairy godmother…you could have and do whatever you wanted, and you’d go skipping off into the sunset!
Well, while there is some truth to that, it most certainly doesn’t always work that way. It’s not a promise. It’s not even a realistic mantra. What we’re not told is that despite our desires and intentions, it’s ridiculously hard in the real world. There are no maps, no guides, no warnings, no guarantees, no do-overs, and there sure as hell ain’t no fairy godmother to tell you what’s going to happen next or fix your mess by midnight.
The moral of the story is, don’t take advice from something that can be wiped out with an eraser or some turpentine. And most importantly, be realistic. Life is much more complicated than we think. While we should have a desire to do impossibly wonderful and exciting things and pave new roads on our respective life journeys, we have to be realistic. If not, life will remind you that your dreams don’t matter in it’s crushing grip. It’ll remind you that plenty have been cut down mid-slumber. It’ll remind you that plenty of people who we all think have achieved their dreams have only realized some twisted glittery form of it, with their worst nightmare woven in, because the world is that complicated. (See: your average Hollywood child star.)
What I’m trying to say is…
Don’t live on a “dream”. Use it as a tool in your arsenal of motivation, but don’t fuel your car with it. (That’ll turn into a nightmare quick.) Aspire. Work. Desire. Plan. Change strategies if you must. But be honest with yourself, and know that life is what it is. Aim high! Aim really high! But keep your head out of the clouds. There’s no oxygen up there. You’ll pass out and hit the ground hard. And then it’s all over. Instead, be more like an engineer of your own life and build your own complex apparatus, chart your flight plan, and go as high as you can.