It was getting to be early evening and the sun was already on its way down. My girlfriend and I had just spent a productive day touring around Copenhagen, Denmark and wanted to check out the beach before heading back to her family’s house. The sky was softly spitting rain and a stiff breeze was blowing in from the grey blue distance. I’m honestly not sure who had the idea first or whether it was a brilliant spark of adventure which hit us both at the same time, but suddenly we needed to dive head long into that refreshing ocean water. Or at least gingerly step our toes in... To say it was refreshing is an understatement, as we soon found out. Thankfully Agnes had thrown her bikini in the car earlier that day, but I had only my boxers with which to enjoy the chilling dip. After swimming for a bit, we decided to end our exciting escapade and head for the warm showers. It was too cold to dress by the ocean so we ran for the car instead. Agnes jumped onto my back and as we passed by one of the RVs, we could see an older couple sitting inside laughing goodheartedly. Anything’s possible in Denmark of course, but it had probably been awhile since they’d seen a couple quite like us, me running in my soaked boxers with my girlfriend on my back, towel streaming behind like a superwoman cloak. While driving home on towels thrown over the seats, we laughed at all the random adventures we get ourselves into. Honestly, we both have a knack for being spontaneous which makes life so much more exciting. As we kept driving, my mind slowly wandered back to the older couple we’d seen in the RV. I wondered if they were ever as adventurous as us. Were they as crazy in love as we are? I wondered what tales they have to tell, and what all they’d done. Did they fulfill all their dreams? Perhaps seeing us had made them start reminiscing back on the good ol’ days.
The other day I was deep in reverie and asked Agnes, “At what point do you think people give up on their dreams?” The question was purely rhetorical of course, but it made me stop and think. When we’re kids, the world is our oyster. Especially as boys, we dream of being an astronaut pushing further into space or fighting fires to save the damsel in distress. We imagine ourselves as the next Bond hero, Indiana Jones adventurer, or fearless pirate conquering islands hidden deep in the seven seas. As we lay in bed at night, making out treasure maps in the ceiling texture, we dream up all sorts of fantastical adventures and fall asleep trying to imagine what life must be like when we finally turn 20. And then somehow, without us even noticing, life changes. We realize there is no Taco Bell in space and that idea was simply too far out there, so we settle for being a ship captain. Ideas come and go like the phases of the moon. We realize what we once wanted to do doesn’t seem so exciting anymore and what we now want to do, takes a whole ton of work. So we enter this period of indecision that usually hits full swing during freshman year in college. Careers seem illusionary. It only takes one or two heartbreaks before we give up on fairytale romance too. Our perfect fantasies aren’t playing out as we had expected, dreamed, anticipated.
And here is the great divide where I’ve seen so many people give up. When expectations don’t equal reality, they settle. They settle for the easiest degree, the fastest job, the mediocre relationship. Instead of revisiting their childhood dreams, extracting the elements which create the core of each one, and devising a method to make those themes a reality, they post FB updates like “I don’t like adulting.” There’s nothing wrong with not liking it, and believe me, there are days when it takes a lot of work. But when I’m elderly and thinking back on the life I’ve lived, I want to remember it with as much enthusiasm as I dreamed it up with as a kid. The nice thing is, it doesn’t matter whether you’re 5 or 95, you still have time to live your dreams. Make those adventures happen! Life is built around the stories we tell and the wisdom we share. Make yours invaluable.