Once upon a time, there were two types of people in the world. Workers and beggars... and royalty. Ok, that was three.
Let's assume the role of the commoner. If you wanted to eat, you worked for your food - usually by raising/growing it yourself. If you wanted a house, you built it. If you wanted someone else's house, you fought for it. There was little time left to dream or imagine.
Perhaps that's why some of our most extraordinary minds came from a time before the industrial revolution. Aristotle, Homer, Socrates, Shakespere, c...you know what, you get my point. These people lived in societies where the model citizen raised food and passed on his or her genes to the next generation.
Despite the demands and expectations of society, these giants of intellect became some of the most revered creative minds in our history. They were the dreamers.
Let's stop right here. Before we continue, you should know, I'm not one of those pie in the sky Hollywood types who insists that you can do anything if you believe in it enough.
Like most adults, I figured out real quickly that you can't dream your way to success. You have to work for it. And, let's face it everyone. Not everyone can be an American Idol. Again, most adults learn this early on and enter the workforce. My father was no exception.
According to my grandmother, my dad was a chronic daydreamer. I believe it too. I'm blessed enough to still have my father in my life. Sometimes, I still catch him staring off into space, deep in thought. I often wonder what he's thinking about.
Despite his struggles with the real world of the 50s and 60s and his imagination, my father did the responsible thing and "settled down" to become well... my father. He married my mother back in 1982 (I think) and three years later, I was born.
I could do a one hundred paragraph blog about my childhood experiences but, I'll spare you. I will say this though. There were times in my childhood where we were struggling financially. I can only guess at the stress he must have experienced in the early 90's when two parent households could no longer survive financially on one person's income.
He worked his butt off to ensure my mother could remain a stay at home mom. At one point, he even held down three jobs. Janitor, cafeteria worker, and night labor. Haha ok, that last one was from Overboard. I don't actually remember his third job. I was pretty young.
(Me and my dad around 1988)
I can only imagine how much pressure he must have been under to keep us all happy and oblivious. Yet, he did it.
I remember that he would read with my every night. We started with books like "Go Dog Go" or any number of other Dr Seuss reads. Soon, I was reading on my own. I quickly burned through the classics like 20,000 leagues as well as David Copperfield and other Charles Dickens novels.
Through all my school years, including the really rough time after my parents' divorce, I never gave up on reading. If anything, when my life hit a particularly difficult spot from 1999-2001, I delved deeper into the world of fantasy through reading and games.
So what does all this have to do with being a dreamer? Well, my dad afforded me the opportunity to continue my intellectual pursuits. Unlike his father, he did not discourage my imagination. Quite the opposite.
Through my adult life, I have continued to cultivate my imagination through reading, gaming, and writing. Yes, I have a fulltime job and responsibilities now, but I'm pretty sure I'll never stop dreaming.
Maybe one day when my little girl is all grown up, she too will stare at me as I gaze into space, lost in my thoughts and she will ask herself, "I wonder what he's thinking."
Baby, if you ever read this, don't worry. Daddy is just a million miles away on some distant world but, his heart is always here with you.
You can be an adult, but never stop imagining. Never stop dreaming.
(It was my dream to be a writer and a father. Mission accomplished.)
(My dad and daughter)