Friday, December 17, 2010

Dream A Little (or Big) Dream!

Aaaaaand we're back!

It occurred to me, after the last post dealing with my weirdo dreams from age 17, that it would be fun to look into and share some of my real-life dreams. I may be an old man of 36, but I still have a lot of dreams I'd like to undertake, things that are more than hobbies, but rather ideal paths for me. That being said, I'm a pretty pragmatic fella, I seriously doubt that any or all of these will come true.

But success to me comes from the attempt, not the achievement. I look to the example of one of my brothers. A few years back, he decided he was sick and tired of the life of a salesman and decided to try his hand at opening a business of his own that dealt with one of his passions, golf (yeah, whatever floats one's boat, I guess...). Long story short, it didn't last much more than a few years and it was strenuous to say the least. I'm not even sure how he feels about it any more, maybe he thinks it was an utter waste of time. I haven't really sat down and talked to him about it. I should do that. But I respect the hell out of him for giving it a shot.

Why? Because Lord knows I'm getting antsy to start exploring my own dreams, specifically professional ones, that are outside the confines of the federal public service. Don't get me wrong, the work's easy, the money's good, and there are always interesting characters to meet.

But is this work that makes me happy? Not really.

What keeps me from feeling like a complete sell-out underachiever is this: the notion that you have to find a job that 'fulfills' you is a steaming load.

Work isn't a calling, it is neither ennobling nor embiggening, and anyone who says it is has been reading too many Knights of Labour pamphlets. Less than 200 years ago, work was a necessary evil, paid or not. The idea of success was to make enough money to pay someone else to do the heavy lifting while you sat back and watched your belly grow. Not much has changed other than the ridiculous economic reality that dictates you have to keep working until you're old; where the idea of having enough income to be able to stop working at, say, 40, is laughable unless you're one of those 5 percent of the population who control 90 percent of the wealth. I am not, nor do I imagine I will ever be. I'd have better luck winning the lottery (which I never play).

And you can bet your arse that if I did win the lottery, I'd quit working 'toot suite' and ski until my knees collapsed.

And then I'd buy cyborg knees.

Am I digressing? Anyway, the point is that I'm getting pretty antsy to explore the idea of making a living outside the confines of an office, doing something other than staring at a computer screen. It is a dream of mine to open some sort of food service. Not really a restaurant proper, because I've been a line cook and I don't care to repeat the experience of running around for hours on-end like a chicken with my head cut off. But maybe a tea room or 10-table bistro. I've been seriously contemplating opening a food truck (not going to say more because I don't want anyone poaching my idea!), as well as some occasional catering work.

But that dream is precluded on the real necessity of having the capital to afford to set things in motion. I do not have anywhere near the resources to do such a thing, and the only real way I imagine I can get the collateral to secure a loan is to buy a house.

And that is another dream of mine: to be a homeowner before I hit 40. But, as the housing market in this town continues to have such ridiculously inflated prices, I'm going to have to keep dreaming it feels like.

Stupid reality getting in the way of dreams n' stuff... *grumblegrumblegrumble*

But yeah, I think we'd all like to live our dreams to the fullest and maybe, just maybe, some of us are clever (or delusional) enough to mold their own selves to the dreams that become attainable as time goes on. So suddenly, what may at one point have been a hobby or a side project can become a 'dream come true'. If humans are as adaptable as all the textbooks say we are, then it stands to reason that when we become convinced of the unattainability of our dreams, we necessarily change them.

That being said, I have dreams that I know are pretty much unattainable, but being a stubborn bastard, I won't abandon them. Mostly because it's a nice way to occupy one's mind, especially when drudging through a Sunday morning shift in media monitoring.

Among those dreams is to work for a year or so in Africa doing some sort of relief work. But that dream is nearly pointless when juxtaposed with the more realistic dream of becoming a father. Not like I can shlep the kids out to Tanzania, at least not any time before they're of school age. Another is to visit half the countries in the world. This is more realistic, but unlikely because of prohibitive costs.

Now, all you super-positivists can cram it if you start railing that I'm being too negative. I've always been this outwardly curmudgeonly and it hasn't stood in the way of me attaining some of my dreams. Luckily, some is good enough for me. I may not dream huge, but I rarely have my illusions shattered to the point of depression. I could die today, satisfied with the sum of my accomplishments.

But, in an effort to make this post both entertaining and cathartic, I'm going to write a passage on my favourite, yet absolutely unattainable, kind of dream: flying. I'm not talking learning to pilot a plane or hang-gliding, I'm talking Superman-styles; throwing off the shackles of gravity and hurtling through the sky with only my will to propel me. I have this dream fairly regularly, possibly as a counterpoint to my acrophobia. Ironic eh? The guy who gets nervous looking over a 3-story balcony dreams of flying. But, I suppose overcoming our worst fears is the most important dream of all...

December 17, 2010

It's late. It's always night time when the impression of possibility overwhelms me. I look out my bedroom window, which is always in my childhood home, yet looks out on any number of possible vistas that I've seen over a lifetime. One moment it's Heron Road, the next it's the Market, and then a placid lake somewhere in Cottage Country I once visited when I was ten.

Next, before I can even fathom why, I'm out on the sidewalk, looking up at the rooftops and thinking I should get up to them somehow. So, I will myself to rise up off the ground. My waking mind, which is always a tiny bit aware, even when in the throes of a dream, screams that this isn't possible, but the power of will is far greater in this environment than in the conscious world.

It's hard to describe a feeling that can't happen in the "real" world, but the memory of it is strong. It's like a vibration starts throughout your whole body. It's not quite a numbness, but it's in the same ballpark. It's sort of halfway between the warmth of a bath and a limb falling asleep, but it surrounds and penetrates every cell. Maybe this is what the womb feels like...

This feeling, fuelled by an intense, passionate, all-encompassing, necessary desire, causes my body to simply float upwards, slowly. The desire is beyond the mind's capacity to put into words, the action is one of pure instinct. But in an instant I realize what I'm doing and the mind kicks in. A mirror of consciousness comes into the scenario and it becomes real. And I now feel control.

With this realization, everything is possible. I shoot off into the air, bounding to the first rooftop. I'm not quite flying, more like leaping. Kind of like the Incredible Hulk, but more restrained. I alight onto a rooftop gracefully, as if gravity itself had become subject to my whims. Then, a smile worthy of the Devil on my lips, I launch myself into the air, completely abandoning notions of up and down having any effect on me. I am free to careen in the sky, to smother myself in the embrace of clouds, to hurtle upwards towards Heaven.

Soon the dream becomes one of impression rather than visualization. I can't see where I'm flying to, it's all a jumble of images, disjointed and confusing. But the sensation of peace in flight steadies me and I revel in it until I awake. And, as I open my eyes, I try to hang on to that moment between sleep and coffee. Somewhere in there, the feeling of flying is still there, hiding beneath the surface of my molecules. It's in that moment, lasting mere seconds, that I realize that, if I could ever find a way to keep that instinct, that magical capacity to shake off gravity, I will fly.

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