When do you/when did you give up on your dreams?
November 27, 2004 10:06 PM   Subscribe

When do you/when did you give up on your dreams? I am almost thirty, and can move into a nice relationship, house, etc. abandoning dreams of variance. Or not.
posted by orange clock to Human Relations (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
dreams change.

I'm almost thirty, in a nice relationship, house and baby on the way and I can't think of anything better. Of course if you'd asked me a few years ago that wouldn't have been the plan.

Dreams and reality have a way of gradually converging into something both wished for and achievable.

Not sure that helps at all but there's not much more satisfying than a loving relationship with another human being.

What were the dreams?
posted by figment at 10:20 PM on November 27, 2004

Just before I turned thirty I had a similar situation. I chose the relationship with a loving, kind, amazing person. That relationship just ended, per my choice. But even now, I'd do it again.

As for giving up on your dreams - it's true that they do change, but I think they change based on the choices you make. If your quest for variance is greater than your affection for this person then your relationship is doomed.

On the other hand, might you not find a way to do both or are the dreams and the relationship 100% mutually exclusive.

For me personally, during that relationship I felt that I was constantly having to give up my goals and dreams and it wasn't until I *really* made them known that we were able to create a plan to make them a reality. I still have the goals and the dreams coming out the other side of the relationship.

My vote? Take the leap.
posted by FlamingBore at 10:36 PM on November 27, 2004

How realistic are your dreams, versus how much would you enjoy being a homeowner in a stable, committed relationship? If you were single and alone, would THAT be your dream, or not? And why?

I've invented and discarded dozens of dreams in my lifetime. That doesn't mean that my life ended when the dream did - it just means that I decided to face facts, changed my mind, found new dreams, or found ways to amend my dreams to suit my situation.
posted by mechagrue at 11:07 PM on November 27, 2004

I pondered giving them up in my early 30s and decided not to. No regrets yet.
posted by rushmc at 11:22 PM on November 27, 2004

I don't know. I'm certainly not old enough to say what works out best, but it seems to me like those in that giant section of the population that get married, buy a house and have kids lead insufferably boring lives. I suppose you could be satisfied by that - hell, I hope so, because otherwise there'd be a lot of people not doing what they want right now - but it seems to me that resigning yourself to mediocre normalcy is closing off an awful lot of opportunities.

Of course anyone who's fallen for the stable family ideal will tell you that they don't regret it for a second. But think of what they might be missing.
posted by borkingchikapa at 11:23 PM on November 27, 2004

There's a profound distinction between dreams and goals. I don't intend to give up either, but I don't regret dreams being divorced from reality. It's fun to occasionally wonder whether I'd enjoy being an astronaut, or how successful I could have been as a professional musician. But I don't pursue dreams, and I don't lament them going unfulfilled. Goals, on the other hand, exist to be met.
posted by cribcage at 11:34 PM on November 27, 2004

I have the wife, the house, etc. but (we) still travel all the time to exotic locales and constantly do exciting, spur of the moment, crazy weird things. i expect to continue this once we have a child; it may be difficult to do with kids, but it's not impossible - my parents did the same with me. and just think what a childhood of growing up with gauchos in Venezuela, Hmong tribespeople in the highlands of Thailand, sociopathic French chefs and drugged-out Indian spirit guides will be like! I want my kids to be scuba diving at 8, speaking English, Korean, Hebrew & Spanish by 10, and cooking amazing multicourse meals by 15, and having all sorts of great adventures on their own as soon as they feel self-confident enough to.
posted by luriete at 11:37 PM on November 27, 2004

i don't think my dreams ever required me to be single. as i've got older, though, i have slowly realised that i'm really not going to change the world. having someone to share the disillusionment has helped.
posted by andrew cooke at 4:24 AM on November 28, 2004

Dreams? What are these dreams you speak of?

posted by damnitkage at 4:43 AM on November 28, 2004

Good on you luriete.......I've seen families like that....I saw one dad take his 10 year old son around SE Asia and they both loved it; it's just a question of pragmatics....if you can do something, and your family wants to do that something to, then do it. Kids learn more by these experiences than they do in some dull geography lesson at school.
posted by SpaceCadet at 4:52 AM on November 28, 2004

just think what a childhood of growing up with gauchos in Venezuela, Hmong tribespeople in the highlands of Thailand, sociopathic French chefs and drugged-out Indian spirit guides will be like! I want my kids to be scuba diving at 8, speaking English, Korean, Hebrew & Spanish by 10, and cooking amazing multicourse meals by 15, and having all sorts of great adventures on their own as soon as they feel self-confident enough to.

hooray for rich people and their overindulged children!
posted by glenwood at 7:43 AM on November 28, 2004

sorry for the snark. i'm cranky this morning.
posted by glenwood at 7:46 AM on November 28, 2004

Oddly enough, I'm currently living a life that could easily be called a "dream of variance" by someone else, and now that I'm 37 its getting old pretty fast. My dream is to sell the book and the current house have a baby or two and move home to the house where I grew up and live in a more simple way off the profits of those endeavors.

There is no normal life. There's just life. You do what makes you happy. For myself, as I've become older I've found that I grow more and more afraid of dying alone.
posted by anastasiav at 7:52 AM on November 28, 2004

Everyone dies alone. What, you want company?
posted by zadcat at 11:27 AM on November 28, 2004

You should maybe also decide whether "variance" is a real thing or if it just means "keeping all options open," because if you spend too long keeping your options open, you eventually start losing options. Avoiding commitment simply for the sake of avoiding commitment -- that is, in case some nebulous dream of a "varied life" falls into your lap -- isn't really living your dreams.

On the other hand, if you are going out and pursuing non-standard goals, whether that's committing six months to a Buddhist monastery or learning to fly a hot-air balloon or just immersing yourself in a career you enjoy so much you can't conceive of shifting time away from it into a family -- and you're happy with it, then I see no reason to give up the dreams.
posted by occhiblu at 11:41 AM on November 28, 2004

I am 32, and I haven't given up on my dreams, but I notice them subtly evolving over time.

I've never really dreamt of variance, though. Any eccentricities I may have developed over the years are epiphenomena.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:41 AM on November 28, 2004

Similar to anastasiav, I'm 36 and experience variance on a regular basis. This is pretty much what I wanted all along [with my relationship and house being nice perks that I wasn't expecting or assuming] so I'm happy to be able to have it. I fairly regular second guess the wisdom of all of it, especially since my friends are all starting to have kids and really live large in ways that are not in my immediate future, but I usually wind up still pretty okay with this path. Most of my dreams were about happiness, not about specific goals that I thought might lead to happiness. And variance is not all it's cracked up to be for its own sake. It requires sacrifices and choice making just like any other path.
posted by jessamyn at 12:16 PM on November 28, 2004

My dreams are intact, their fulfilment postponed.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:38 PM on November 28, 2004

my friends are all starting to have kids

not having kids certainly keeps does seem to keep your options more open - we don't intend to have any and don't have any particular worries about "variance" or the lack of it. of course, people with kids tend to say they couldn't live without them. but the same seems to be true of cars, curiously, and we manage ok without one of those too.
(a couple of years ago we moved to a new country with no job lined up for me. the only real worry was coping with the culture/language - 37 years old, been with this same partner for 10 (or 11?) of those)
posted by andrew cooke at 2:14 PM on November 28, 2004

Hm. I expected this thread to get, like, 1,000 reponses. Anyway, since it didn't I'll pipe up. I always knew that living in the suburbs and becoming a PTA mom would be like being buried alive for me - so, I've totally stuck to "variance". But this doesn't include the relationship thing; I have my once-in-a-lifetime love, and everything else just swings by the merest thread. The dreams morph and change, and I've accomplished a few of them, but they seem more ephemeral than what I don't want, which pretty much always remains the same. Also, in the dream-realm, there are many different dreams I can pursue, and often they are completely opposite flavors, so getting to live one of those dreams usually means not really being able to pursue one of the others.... If that made me crazy, I'd be crazy all the time. Anyway, I opted for more freedom in almost every life choice, and I'm pretty much happy all the time, even though it's a quite a far limb to be balancing on sometimes, and to be honest, I don't really think most people could handle it.
posted by taz at 4:38 PM on November 28, 2004

This question hits home in more ways than I can express. I'm 35 and still dealing with this, so I can't pretend that I have the definitive answer. Here's what I've learned so far:

Some dreams are dreams worth turning into goals; others aren't. You may want to become a rock star (or Olympic athlete or Supreme Court justice or triple-black-belt karate badass or whatever) because you believe in the music that you are creating, you want to be the best that you can be at it, and you derive such joy and sustenance from it that you can't imagine a life without it. This dream is about what you are doing, on a day-to-day basis.

Or, you may have a fantasy of what a rock star life is all about, and you just want to be that person that exists in your fantasy life. This dream is about the fantasy that you have about being a particular kind of person.

It seems to me that the first dream is worth pursuing, because it involves doing things that satisfy you, give you joy and hope and sustenance, make this a life worth living. But the second sort of dream will always leave you dissatisfied, because even if you achieve that dream, chances are that you won't be the person that you think you were going to be. In many cases, achievement doesn't lead to satisfaction.

How do you determine what kind of dreams you have? Beats me. I'm still trying to figure that one out....
posted by googly at 4:56 PM on November 28, 2004

My dreams involved some pretty thick magical-unrealism to begin with, so they're just as likely to start happening when I'm 112 with a mob of great grandchildren as they were when I was 18 and solo. I expect to meet Sailor Mars for theatre and (nonalcoholic) drinks any day now. While waiting, I had a life. What's to give up?

A lot can happen in a year. The king may die. I may die. Or the horse may talk.
posted by jfuller at 6:12 PM on November 28, 2004 [1 favorite]

I'm with the "dreams change" crew. I just turned 32 and I've got a lot of good things going for me so I'm really happy even though I'm not the bass player in a heavy metal band, but that's really okay. I never got to be a rock star, but I partied like one for awhile and that was close enough.

Now, I dream of finishing school and having a job that makes me feel good and owning a condo in the city and enjoying life with my SO and having a little dog I can carry around in a purse (but not in an officious way, in a "I really like my little dog and the cats won't put up with being carted around like this" way, I swear, and I'd adopt a purse-sized mutt from the shelter and the purse would NOT be made by Kate Spade). I still want to travel everywhere, just like I always have, but I don't see any reason why that won't happen.

So, I guess the short answer is: I've never given up on my dreams, but my dreams have changed as I've gotten older.

I'm not sure what "dreams of variance" are, but I don't think that moving into a nice relationship should equal the destruction of your dreams. I got a boy that wants to travel and own a condo as much as I do (he's not quite with me on the purse dog but we'll work it out) so it can be done. Can you compromise on the house? Can you figure out a way to do the "grown up" thing in moderation so that you can also do the things that you really want to do?

Why does this have to be an either/or situation?
posted by jennyb at 8:17 PM on November 28, 2004

Oh and let me get right goddamn flakey on you for a minute and direct you to a link about the dreaded SATURN RETURN and suggest you follow as you're called, lest you end up getting your ass cosmically kicked again in your 60s.
posted by jennyb at 8:19 PM on November 28, 2004

Huh. That Saturn Return thing is pretty interesting, and I've got a real low tolerance for hippie shit. It's happening to me a couple years late, and as it turns out, my dreams have not changed at all since I was five years old. In my situation the path of capitulation has got a lot fewer perks, so this is a no-brainer. Now or never. But you aren't alone in this, orange clock.
posted by furiousthought at 8:39 PM on November 28, 2004

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