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Missing Youth

“We’re not gonna take it. No, we ain’t gonna take it. We’re not gonna take it anymore,” Twisted Sister.

Eurorail train schedules, Let’s Go Europe, and maps surrounded the unemployed 23 year old. He was planning out his backpacking through Europe summer. Responsibility and reality be damned. The epitome of freedom and youth.

“Larry,” my father shouted as he came into my room undetected.

I jumped, “Oh, hi dad.’

“Does the music have to be so loud?”

“Sorry.” I turned down the music.

“What is all the stuff,” he motioned at the paraphernalia that decorated my floor.

“Planning my summer trip.”

“Oh.” He shook his head, half smiled, and walked away after reminding me to keep the music lower.

I looked at the information around me, contemplated my looming weeks long trip, and considered my unemployed status. I felt guilty. Then, I got over it.

Yesterday, I was assisting a girl with her college application essay. During the tutoring session, she started talking to her mother. “Mommy,” she said “I am going create an empire.” She was certain that the business she had recently begun was bound for big things. I raised my eyebrows but said nothing. Her mother smiled a yes dear smile. The girl bubbled on so proud of her declaration that she wrote it down.

Another college recruiter visited my senior class. He talked about his school and how attending there will enable the students to achieve their academic goals. This of course will enable them to fulfill their dreams. Never mind the 70 average.

“I’m happy she is getting a chance to go away,” she explained. “But when I dropped her off, I felt a little jealous.”  So my fellow writer said at a recent writer’s group meeting. She clearly felt a little guilty. There was no need to apologize as the rest of us – parents with children in various stages – shook our heads feeling the same such feelings.

It’s not youth we want. It’s the unbound enthusiasm. It’s the certainty that everything is not only possible but a mere question of when.

I wish good things for my tutee, my students, and my co-writer’s daughter. I hope they achieve big and great things. They are in an amazing and exciting stage in their lives.

By the time you reach a certain age, there is some level of stuckness (I know it’s not a word, but it so fits). Whatever you’re level of contentment – nice family, decent job, comfortable home – choices have been made, life is being lived, and dreams come in size small.

The world is not our oyster. It’s not free for the taking. As adults, we know this. Lumps can and will be doled out. I, for one, am okay with that. I will cope and be happy for the dreams of the kids around me, hopeful about fulfilling my goals, and content with the wisdom I have gained.

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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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A Dream to Persue?

Do you ever have a dream that feels so vivid but you can’t remember it the second you are awake? They are like a firework. They make a big splash but quickly fade to nothing.

Then, there are those dreams that seem to go on for a long time. It’s like I dreamed a miniseries. There are different acts and scenes. I wake up remembering pieces of the epic and convinced that the dream and its contents will stay with me throughout the day and beyond. However, once I turn my attention to something else – even as mundane as taking a shower – my memory abandons me. Usually, by the end of the day I am left with scraps – if I am lucky.

Lastly, there is the third type of dream whose vividness varies. However, what does not vary is my memory for the contents. The memory stays with me, through the day, week, month, etc.

And I wonder why? Why do some dreams remain in my mind and others fade into oblivion? I am not looking for a scientific analysis though I am sure there are doctors or psychologists who could propose a perfectly reasonable thought.  However, I am not looking for the kind of answer that a doctor/psychologist would propose. I am thinking more about symbolism.

You have those dreams that are shall we say pipe dreams (by the way, I am nearly certain the term comes from The Iceman Cometh). Example: I am going to play in the NBA. So what that I did not make the high school team, I am 5’10’’, slow, and can’t jump. These are dreams that need to be in the rear view mirror.

There are some dreams that have a chance to come true but maybe, you lose interest in them as you grow up. Example: I am going to be a talk show host. As I get older, I realize that I don’t get along with all types of people. So, while there are elements I find appealing and will always, I decide to go in another direction.

Finally, there are those dreams that you are really passionate about. There will be bumps in the road but nothing can throw you off the track. Example: I want to be pediatrician. I am challenged by biology, loans are outrageous, internship is beyond exhausting. However, I will not back down. This is my dream, and I will make it happen. This is my direction.

As I ponder the different dreams, I think back on the dreams that I have had and what category they fit in. Truthfully, there have been very very few dreams for me that have fit into the third category. I feel proud of my flexibility and my rational and reasonable approach. However, I feel frustrated that my level of achievement is not up to my capabilities. I feel that my potential is for something greater. I think super achievers have an ability to put their head down and relentlessly pursue their dream. As I get older, a question I need to answer is what I am willing to do in order to achieve my dreams.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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