Friday, October 4, 2013

Heavy Dose Of Reality

To my son Tommy,

Let's face it, most everyone is waiting on something that will never happen.  You can see it in comments like "After I win the lotto and am filthy rich..." or "When I am elected president...".  Sometimes it is grandiose and sometimes the dream is pretty simple.  We wait for things we know are improbable or even impossible.  It is okay, if you remember and ground yourself in a couple basic rules.

The first is to recognize these wishes as dreams.  When people would tell me something would never happen, I would respond, "I know the realities of the situation, but don't mess with the fantasy" (A phrase I probably paraphrased from some movie).  Some people start planning or living their life as if their dreams are a reality.  They start spending that big lotto win before the numbers are drawn and then feel a very real depression that they didn't win.  So as long as you don't convince yourself that the dream is a sure thing and you remain realistic, the pipe dream remains fairly harmless.

I am not saying that your dreams can't come true, but you have to be realistic.  Somethings are impossible and I doubt my dream of flying like superman without any help from a machine will ever be a reality.  There are less delusional examples though.  The odds of being struck by lightning are slim, somewhere in the line of 1 in 134,000, but frighteningly better than hitting most lottery jackpots.  The odds that your elected politicians are effective and actually care for you is probably even greater than that.  But the odds don't stop me from buying an occasional lotto ticket or voting.  I just have to keep a firm grasp on my expected outcomes.

The second rule in dealing with dreams is to be acutely aware of how you block your own dreams.  I always say, "After I lose 50 lbs..." but if I do nothing to that end, if I put in no effort, it won't happen.  Losing weight and getting fit is a very attainable dream but quite improbable if you do nothing to attain it.  You have to deal with the realities of what you are doing and what you can do, with regards to your dreams.  The simpler the dream the more attainable it is but only if you aren't blocking it by your own actions.  You will never have a clean house if you don't clean it.  You will never learn how to do something by sitting on your butt waiting for divine enlightenment.  Even some of the far shot odds become attainable dreams if you do the necessary things. You can't get elected President if you don't run for office. You can't join the NBA if you don't know how to dribble a basketball.  You must be aware of what makes that dream so unattainable, so improbable.  Is it the world and the way it is or is it you?

This leads us to the final rules that go hand in hand with being self aware.  Allow yourself to change your dreams as you accept your own realities.  Allow yourself to change your own realities to achieve your own dreams.  Dreams change as you grow and find out what is important to you.  Realities change as you go through this life.  You must allow for this change and open your mind and your heart and your life to let the good changes in.  As you grow, the biggest change in life is love.  Love will change what you want and what you think is important.  Love from and of family, love from and of friends, love from and of God, all types of love have a profound effect on your wants and your dreams. Love will make you look at how you are living, your present realities, and challenge you to make changes to let love and those you love become more and more a part of your life.  If you are lucky, love itself will become your dream.  When I was your age, I would tie a bath towel around my neck and dream of flying.  Some 35 years later, the towel doesn't fit like it did around me and it no longer matters that I will never be able to fly because I have a son who looks at me as if I am a superhero as I tie that towel around his neck and dare him to accomplish his dreams.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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