We’ve long let go of the hopes and dreams we had as youngsters. Sometimes the idea of revisiting them seems like a frolic with immaturity. So why should we include such inanities in a legacy of memories?
First, there’s nothing wrong with frolicking. Furthermore, the dreams we had and entertained are part of our stories. The manner in which we sustained them (or not) also reveal our inner workings.
Some hopes or dreams might only be worth a quick mention, such as when my niece confided that she couldn’t decide if she wanted to be a hairdresser or a dolphin trainer. I was curious as to how she had narrowed it down to those two options, but she offered no insight. “Just what I want to be…” It’s a fun story to remember. There doesn’t have to be more to it than that.
Write about your childhood dreams and obsessions
When my son was three, he wanted nothing more than to be a fire fighter. At four, he’d switched to dreaming of becoming an astronaut. Now he’s an engineering major and still trying to figure out exactly what he wants to engineer. Still, those childhood obsessions with land and space vehicles, science, and exploration were early indications. So were some of his early “experiments,” but that’s another (funny) post.
What did you dream of being or doing as a child? Is that dream at all related to your current vocation or avocation?
Achieving or letting go of hopes and dreams
When I was an over-achieving college student, I dreamed of CHANGING the WORLD. I thought having a productive career and healthy family would be mundane. Part of my story is how I came to value health and happiness over travel, adventure, and achievement.
Others have preserved and achieved their hopes and dreams. Their stories are about their drive to succeed, what sustained that drive, and at what cost they managed to see their hopes to fruition.
Many—if not most—young athletes dream of getting college scholarships and becoming highly paid professionals. Very few actually pursue that dream. Along the way, they find their play isn’t quite up to that level or decide that they’d rather have a well-rounded life. Sometimes that decision is a slow realization; other times it comes during a moment of heartbreak. Either way, it’s a milestone worth writing about.
What’s your story? Are you still on the path of achieving the hopes and dreams of a younger self, or have you developed all new dreams? What caused you to re-assess?
Small Hopes and Dreams
Did you ever dream of a specific new toy, piece of sports equipment, or a particular trading card? What about a pet? Did you ever get it? How excited were you? There’s a story in there somewhere!
At about five or six years old, another niece, sister of the above-mentioned niece, wanted nothing more for Christmas than a flashlight. That was her only request to Santa, parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles. So, Santa brought her the flashlight and the rest of us had to punt. She was so thrilled at Santa’s fulfillment of her fondest wish, that she had no interest in opening any other presents. To this day, it makes us wonder. How did she get so fixated on that flashlight? What did her single wish teach the rest of us about our Christmas materialism?
Current Hopes and Dreams
Hopes and dreams are not just the stuff of the past. What do you hope? What are your dreams? Are you as invested in your dreams for yourself as you are in your dreams for your spouse or children? Have you put aside your dreams to help someone else achieve theirs? Write about it.
© Laura Hedgecock 2013