Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.
I was chatting with some friends last night and, as often happens with this group, our conversation drifted to the topic of dreams. Not in the sense you might think, with a roomful of people sitting around a table, eyes aglow as each described their greatest goal in life. But in the sense of growing older and a common sentiment that, as we continue to age, we hope we never stop dreaming.
That conversation started as we shared stories of our own parents, and even ourselves, in which the fire just kind of died out over the years. Not completely, at least in our own instances, because we all still have dreams we’re working toward. But sometimes the dream can be as simple as not allowing age and all its associated challenges to get in the way of living.
I know, for my wife and I, we just don’t go out anymore. We don’t visit friends, we don’t invite friends to visit us, we don’t get together with others for a Saturday outing or go out for a night of dinner, drinks, and music – all things we used to enjoy, but somehow over the years they just faded into the background. Now, we pretty much sit around the house. Real party animals, huh?
And, looking back, I can’t really put my finger on a point in life when that changed. But if I had to take a guess, it would be 1988, when I got out of the Navy and we moved back home. That’s 31 years for anyone who’s already run out of fingers and toes to add it up. I can’t recall a time since then when we’ve done much of anything outside the home except shop and take the occasional vacation.
Now, to some people, that sounds like Heaven on earth. I get it. We’re not all wired the same way, and we all have different interests. But in our case, and I think I’m speaking for both of us, we miss it. We would desperately love to get out and do more, just for the fun of being around friends. But when you allow yourself to stop enjoying that side of life for so long, you begin to forget how.
My mother-in-law was one of those people who could make friends anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds. I remember one time walking down a street past a historic home where the owners were sitting on the porch enjoying a beautiful day. She said hi, they said hi, one thing led to another, and the next thing I knew they were offering to give us a tour of their home. Wow.
So, how does that fit into the topic of dreams? Well, Jane always imagined a more affluent life and all the things that go along with it – possessions, friends, entertaining, you name it. And, for her, touring the home of somebody who was enjoying that lifestyle would somehow satisfy her own dream. She could live vicariously through others and did so for most of her life.
We all have dreams. Yet, much as my wife and I somehow put a lid on our socialization skills, people tend to shut down those dreams as they get older. Or, maybe the dreams don’t really go away – they just change. At the age of 90, a bigger house probably isn’t as important as the ability to step outside and take a walk. At that age, I imagine most people’s dreams involve their dreams for others.
Make no mistake – there are things I want in life and experiences I want to enjoy. But, as I get closer to the age of retirement, my dreams are more focused on what I want for my daughters and grandchildren. When I look at new opportunities today, I don’t think so much of how they could benefit me as how they could benefit my family. As Dad would say, that’s just part of growing up.
It’s easy to look at things as we get older and think, “That really wouldn’t interest me.” But let me ask you a question – if somebody had presented you with that same vision thirty or forty years ago, would you have been grateful for the opportunity? Is it something you may have acted upon? Could it have changed the course of your life, and possibly led you closer to where you’d like to be today?
And you know, as we look at these things through the eyes of those we care about the most, we sometimes get our second (or third) wind and think, “I’m not that old – why can’t I do that?” Few things make me smile quicker than the image of old folks with white hair boogie-boarding or skydiving. These are people who never stopped dreaming. These are people who live. These are the people I want to be. How about you?
That’s all for now. Keep those dreams alive and have an awesome day!
© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved