Our dreams continue, but they change
When I was 16 years old I dreamed of being a superstar athlete. I would catch touchdown passes in the Super Bowl and hit grand slam home runs in the World Series.
Crowds would adore me.
And, it didn’t stop there. I would dream of jumping high and dunking a basketball over some hapless NBA star I didn’t like. I dreamed of being a slick professional boxer, much like Muhammad Ali. I would float like a butterfly and sting like a 1,000-pound bee.
Yeah, those were the dreams of my youth. I was young enough that they seemed possible. Those same dreams continued into my 20s and 30s, and even into my early 40s. Yeah, even into my early 40s.
I could see myself trudging slowly onto the football field, one last time and kicking a game winning field goal as the clock ran out and the fans going nuts. It was possible.
Now my dreams are quite different. Now the best I can do is dream that I am at a game. Yep, that’s where I am now.
My dreams are limited to things like preparing the best barbecue ever or getting a new car or having fancy windows and shutters installed in my house. I had a long dream recently about having a great time on a new riding lawnmower that would be cooler looking and faster than the one my neighbors have.
I know what you’re thinking: this is pretty sad.
Sometimes the reality of my age and its limitations conspire with the dreams of my youth to make a fool of me. This happened when my grandson, a super, duper 9th-grade athlete, visited me for the month of July.
During that period he had to prepare for the upcoming football season, and his position as a receiver and cornerback. At one time I was a pretty good cornerback and safety on my high school football team.
This is where my age, my body and my loss of giddy-up were shoved away and replaced with dreams of my youth and my dazzling quickness and athleticism.
So I took him out to show him one of my snazzy cornerback moves. I pulled a calf muscle on the very first play.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I still dream of big-ticket things like world peace, winning the $100 billion lottery, going on an endless (all-expense paid) vacation or being a great singer. Who doesn’t?
Somehow, though my brain and body have conspired to melt away thoughts of doing anything that requires quick movements, great strength, speed or superhuman endurance. In fact, most of what I dream about involves a lot of standing, sitting or considering which one of those to do first.
So, here I am, a collection of dreams of new mailboxes, crushed-ice makers on the refrigerator door and a TV screen the size of a billboard in my living room.
I have found solace in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “A skillful man reads his dreams for self-knowledge, yet not the details but the quality.”
And what’s better than dreaming of installing new windows?
Ed Pratt is a former Advocate editor. He is assistant to the chancellor for media relations at Southern University. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.