Don't stop dreaming

I have a dream.

I have lots of dreams, big and small. My wife gets frustrated with me at times because I'm a bit of a dreamer-she's more of a realist.

I can be a real-ist, and I try to balance my dreaming with some realism, but it doesn't stop me from dreaming. I think dreaming can keep you young, or at least make the years more enjoyable no matter what your age.

I'm not talking about the dreams you have when you sleep, but dreams about your life - those crazy little thoughts that flit through our minds during lulls in the action. Maybe it's prompted by something on television or by a news story. For a fleeting moment, we think, "Gee, wouldn't it be great to be... or to do...?" For just a second you're a child again, believing that anything is possible.

Look at children: they are full of hopes, wonder and dreams of the future. We tend to lose that fairyland outlook as we get older. For children, nothing seems out of reach.

I suppose we do have to become responsible adults, and adults make that abundantly clear to us as children, especially those who have stopped dreaming. But do we have to cease dreaming entirely?

They don't have to be huge dreams, like being president someday or becoming a lawyer or doctor. If we're in the autumn of our life, it's not very practical to be thinking in terms of starting a political career and running for president. But you can have other dreams, dreams that are more achievable, at least in terms of time if not practicality.

I buy a ticket for the Lottery, Quinto and Mega Ball every game, and every now and then I'll remark to my wife about how we're going to become independently wealthy in the next day or two. She gives me that "OK, Quixote" look and makes some comment about the addled Irish or about the affect of drink.

I know she's right, and I know the odds of winning the Mega Ball hover around 170 million to one, but it's the dream that makes it worthwhile.

I avoid listening to or reading about the winning numbers until I get the morning paper, setting my ticket down next to me with a devil-may-care attitude and casually reading the morning P-I, knowing that the results are on page B2 (except on Sunday). I don't want to appear impatient or overly anxious - it might affect my luck.

Although my wife is still asleep, and there isn't anyone around except our cat, Beamish - and he could give a rip about the lottery or anything else except when he gets fed - I need to act disinterested; it's part of helping dreams come true.

Of course, I don't win, but that's not the point. I have this small, fleeting dream of winning big bucks, and it's fun to dream.

And these dreams can sometimes be connected with other dreams. Winning one of those games would let us take some trips we've talked about.

I have other dreams, some about my writing career - even reaching new heights or, technically, lows with my golf game.

I don't know if I'll realize all my dreams, or even any of them, but simply having them makes my life more fun. I can't imagine going through life without at least a few small dreams.

Dreams come in all shapes and sizes. A dream can be as simple as knowing that you'll be doing something special the next day, going shopping, out to dinner or to an event you particularly enjoy. You wake up in the morning realizing that the day to do this special something has come, and you get a little excited about the day.

And it can be bigger dreams about buying a certain house, a car, a boat or airplane, or writing a novel, playing a sport or any number of things that each of us enjoys.

I'm convinced that when you tell yourself you're too old or practical to dream, you're in trouble. I can't imagine life without some form of dreaming - call it wishful thinking if you will - but it's the ability to look to the future, if only for the next 24 hours, with that unbridled enthusiasm that a child carries into each new day.

I never want to stop dreaming. Maybe, just maybe, that's the true meaning of life.

Mike Davis is a freelance writer living in Magnolia.

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