Do Dreams Go to Heaven When They Die?

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes

That is the question I fell asleep thinking about last night. As we grow older, inevitably we distance ourselves from certain youthful ambitions and embrace others, born from opportunity, new information, bargaining with the self (Just get me out of this restaurant and I’ll do anything!) So what happens to the dreams of childhood? Of adolescence? Of the promises I made myself at 23 that I would never be like this or knuckle under to that? Often, we laugh those dreams away, mocking our youthful self as naive and pie in the sky gullible.

-Something like this-

If I had known how the world truly works of course I would have chosen to sit in a fucking office all day and immerse myself in petty politics. I mean really, who wants to float the Mississippi river like Huckleberry and Jim? Who wants to play on the PGA Tour? Those guys look stressed to me, much better to file that 147 in the 231A and try to beat those bastards in Accounts Receivable to the cafeteria.

I take no issue with the failure to achieve the dreams of childhood. I take issue with pretending they were not, or less, important than they are.

You can’t explain away a dream.


once an aspiring professional breakdancer & future novelist.

current catcher of children running through the rye.

9 Responses to Do Dreams Go to Heaven When They Die?

  1. Excellent points. I think the world should do as I did. Have no goals and only dreams of running your own T-Shirt shop on the beach and living in a trailer home. That way, when you get that office job and can beat the bastards from Accounting to the quickie-mart for lunch, you over achieved!

    The guy who wanted nothing and got damn near everything.

    Commander of Chaos.

  2. the dreams that were superseded by the necessities of a “real job” are no less important, but if we don’t put them away in a box only to be visited when we have the luxury, we (I) become bitter about having not seen them through. It’s simply a matter of having two beautiful children for whom I want to be the best provider I can. of course, my wife’s current definition of success as making more money than she can spend complicates the goal-process a little.
    Just remember what Willie Wonka used to say about the guy who suddenly got everything he’d ever wanted… He lived happily ever after.

  3. How about not-so-petty politics? I’m finding that can be a blast!

    One solution to falling short of old dreams is to throw them out and replace them with new ones. I think that’s what ccrider is getting at. Your vows at 23 and mine at 16 were pretty heavily hormone-laced, anyway. We’re not the same guys today. Yet another solution is no (or few) ambitions, which appears to be the commander’s approach. I like that one, even it is downright unAmerican. Puts you more in the moment and avoids that bitter aftertaste.

    But here’s what I really want to know. When’s it going to rain so I can ride Munson again?

  4. My dreams never died, they taunt me day and night, even though I can barely remember their names. Which is why I quit my job and career of almost 20 years and have enrolled in geezer night classes. To see if any of those old dreams have legs. Or if they’ll sprout new ones like a spider plant reaching out from the shade.

    Never give up. Never surrender.

  5. HT,I have to disagree. We are the same people as we were at 23 or 16. More, or maybe less, complex.

    When you finally lay your head down to rest, will the dreams be waiting for you saying, “Excuse me? Is it my turn yet?”

  6. Some dreams are fleeting, born of hubris or naivete or even envy. Those don’t mean much to me, but they don’t mind getting you high while you’re entertaining them. That’s nice.

    Others are persistent and just knock away, try the doorbell for awhile, pretend to leave and then jump out from behind the bushes when you open the door. Sometimes they just move in next door and wave from the porch.

    My dreams tend to be optimistic about their chances, and they have a funny way of morphing into accessible forms when I just do my thing the best I can.

  7. You can read that one two ways:

    A) It was a real dream, and you’re its unignorable troubador -or-

    B) road biking is simply an accessible form of the mt. bike dream (ie. a road is just a wide, hard ribbon of singletrack that lost its way, or 50,000,000 cars can’t be wrong).

    Oh wait, here’s another way:

    C) It’s not a dream at all, but a reality that kicks your ass on a regular.