We all have dreams and things we strive for. Family, fortune, early retirement, that one big brake, or maybe just a stool at the pub with good friends. However lofty our dreams, they are ours and we cherish them. They deserve our best effort, our continued commitment, our steely determination.
They are our future selves, and when they die we mourn them as a lost love one. We go through the stages of grief as though a real person has passed. We remember the things we did for them, to ensure that they will be there when we need them. The pain is as real as any for a person gone before us.
We deny at first. Shit, did that just happen? Surely there is still hope. It’s not that bad. It’s salvageable with a few easy changes. We can keep them alive if this one specific miracle happens exactly as it needs to. Reality plays no part here.
Then the anger sets in. Shit! Blinding, burning, bursting rage grips our hearts. We want someone to blame, anyone, even if it’s our selves. There has to be some responsible party that will pay the price. Whom do we punish? Fate? God? The road not taken that we thought would be an adventure?
What a minute. God! Surely this must have slipped past his attention. It was a mistake. I just have to pray real hard. Hope real hard. Beg the almighty with every fiber of my being, because surely he wants me to be happy. I’ll go to church twice a week, read the bible (every word I swear), give to charity, just give me back my beloved dream oh great and merciful lord.
Shit. That was a waste of time (“…he who helps themselves”. Forgot, sorry). Now what? What does one do who’s dreams have shattered. We lose direction, purpose, drive. If we have the will to start over, where do we start? Our whole drive has been to one destination, but now the road is dark. There are no signs or markers or arrows to point the way. There is no metaphysical GPS, so we despair. Hope has left us and our hearts are mired in depression.
Well we’re not dead, so sitting around on our ass won’t help. The dream is gone. We all know it, and now we have to put it behind us. It’s still painful to look back. It probably always will be. But now we look ahead. We don’t know where we’re going just yet, but forward is better than backward. There are people who will help us. On the horizon, indistinguishable and hazy, there is new dream beginning to glow. We’re not close enough to see it clearly, but we know where to look.
I’ve had three such diversions on my path. The last occurred this week. I’m not happy about it, but I’m not supposed to be. There was no way of knowing at the time, but the last two turned out for the best. Maybe this one will as well. The only way to be sure is to keep moving, keep my head up, and walk confidently into the pub and drink myself stupid. Then, with that out of my system, set a new course for that new dream. I will do this always, until finally the dream is real.