When I was a child, I imagined the life that I would lead.
I knew that I'd be married, and that I'd have a couple of kids. I knew that my wife would be beautiful. I'd be rich, somehow, though I never put much effort into imagining just how I'd find wealth. I mean, I was never going to be a doctor or a lawyer or even an astronaut. Those thoughts seemed irrelevant to me back then. What was relevant was that I'd be a father, and a husband. I'd live the American dream. I'd have a good life.
When I became an adult, I did my best to live the life that I wanted.
For a while, I clung fiercely to that hazy childhood dream. Despite the failed marriage, despite losing my mother, despite all of the other bullshit that comes with the coming of age. I fought the disintegration of my dream as hard as I could. But its loss was, in the end, inevitable. And when that dream was completely gone, I found a new dream. One of contentedness and, every now and then, quiet happiness.
And then that dream evaporated too.
Pressures from family and friends and work, they'd just keep massing at the walls of my safe little fortress. Finding and taking advantage of the smallest cracks in the walls that I'd so carefully erected around myself. Eventually, I found myself outnumbered and surrounded. My life became less about me and more about those around me. And I lost myself in the confusion, along with the focus I'd spent so much time perfecting.
One day, a couple of years ago, I found new focus. I found new meaning for my life. Welling up from a place inside myself that I'd forgotten even existed, I found a new dream.
That one didn't turn out so well, either. I might have mentioned it here from time to time.
When I reached middle age, I stopped thinking about living a life. I instead began to think about salvaging a life out of the time I had left.
The past stretches behind me, a testament to the failures and the missed opportunities and the broken dreams. The future looms ahead of me, but all I can see is the end. The finish line. I tell myself that there's still enough time to live the life that I want to live, but I first have to decide what I want that life to be. And then, once I decide, I have to act. I have to stop being afraid. But it's tough, because there might not be many dreams left. I need to be sure and pick a good one. A possible one.
When you're old, you give up on your dreams. You accept that what you have is all that you're ever going to have. You realize that the life that you wanted, no matter what it was, it had always been, and would always be, forever and fucking ever, out of reach. For it was a always moving target, always staying ahead of you as you raced helter-skelter through the years.
I haven't reach that point.
I haven't given up.