“It was a dream come true.”
“You’re livin’ the dream!”
“It was my lifelong dream.”
“I just want my dreams to be real.”
…Do you? ‘Cause, I dunno, I have lots of dreams. And I don’t necessarily want them to come true. Think about it: do you really want to stand in front of your class in your underwear? Do you really want to fall forever, and ever, and ever?
…And ever? Do you really want to be struggling to run, knowing that they are coming, knowing that they will inevitably catch you?
Back in sixth grade, I was running through Tolkien’s Misty Mountains with my brother and a few of my friends. I had Percy Jackson’s pen-sword Riptide. We were running from Nazis. We finally ducked into a crevice in the side of the mountain, in a little cave where we didn’t think they’d find us. Inside the cave…was my garage. With Confucius sitting on my air hockey table. He told us “an apple a day keeps the doctor away. A penny saved is a penny earned.” Then he slowly transmuted into Yoda, who gazed at us with his immensely wise green eyes, and said, “let the Nazis get the rainbow paper and the blue pencil, you must not. Or rule the world, they will.” Then he used the Force to raise our garage door, revealing a cliff (we’re still in the Misty Mountains, after all).
And on the edge of the cliff was none other than—you guessed it—the rainbow paper and blue pencil! Naturally, I ran forward and grabbed them, but as I did, a Nazi helicopter flew around the mountain and started shooting at me. Luckily, my friend had a magic Ancient Greek shield and blocked the bullets. The helicopter landed (evidently, the Nazis weren’t that bright), and we commandeered the chopper and flew off through downtown Denver. An army of giant skeletal spiders pursued us from the ground, and my brilliant brother pressed a big red “DO NOT PRESS” button, releasing all the gas from the tank. We crashed on top of a Hyatt hotel and had to fight off the spiders as we refilled the tank. Finally, we flew away again, and a massive holographic image of Adolf Hitler told the spiders to call off the attack. He said that they would attack my church the following day.
Needless to say, I had to defend it, so my friends and I called all the congregation together. We convened in the church parking lot with pickup trucks full of swords, guns, and rockets. It wasn’t long before the Nazis came. The fighting was fierce, and one of my friends turned out to be a Nazi spy. He shot me in the elbow and the Nazis proceeded to subjugate my friends and family. I grabbed a Lego Stormtrooper’s blaster rifle and started shooting the Nazis with it; they turned and chased me down the street. After one of them shot me in the back of the knee, I fell over, hopeless to dodge the machine gun fire.
Make sense of that, Freud. I dare you.
“It was a dream come true.” Please, no. Because if not that dream, what about the dream where I’m eaten by a dog that turned into a t-rex? Or the one where Darth Vader knocked me off the U.S.S. Enterprise in a plastic lightsaber duel? Or where I’m a pirate on the run and I’m found and executed by the Royal Navy? Thank you very much, but I’m quite content with my dreams remaining dreams.
Of course, this idea of living your dreams isn’t meant to focus on the nightmarish and bizarre. What about the dream where it’s my birthday and I get that cool present I’ve always wanted, or where scientists finally invent teleporting so I can visit China whenever I’d like, or where that girl finally likes me? Can’t I ask for those to come true? (Because it sucks when I wake up and realize it was, in fact, a dream.)
The fact of the matter is, dreams don’t just come true. You can’t just sit around, wish upon a star, and get every wish you ever make. That’s fiction in its most deceptive and hurtful form. But at the same time, when I rode an ATV across Santorini, when I hiked to the top of the Acropolis at Corinth, when I saw the Aurora Borealis in Iceland—saw the forms of people and animals dancing through the lights in the sky—I couldn’t think of any other way to describe it than “a dream come true.”
So where does that leave me? I guess there are a couple different ways of looking at dreams. As aspirations. I suppose that’s especially important to remember during this season, as many of us are in crunch time for finals, either as students or teachers and professors, and it can be easy to become bogged down in papers and assignments. To forget why we’re doing this in the first place. And we may be tempted to “keep dreaming.” So, remember that you can aspire to be something or someone or to do something, but if you don’t follow up on that, then your dreams will remain exactly that. However, if you do follow up on your aspirations, if you let your dreams fuel you and motivate you to try your best, to work your hardest, and dare to have big thoughts, big hopes? Dreams can come true.