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When we’re growing up, we’re always told that we can be anything, do whatever we want. Teachers tell you to dream big, having you draw pictures of yourself in your dream job. Poorly drawn portraits of astronauts and firefighters and doctors filled up our parents’ fridge and we went through our tiny days without a care in the world, clutching the dream that if we work hard enough, we can be anything.
And while there are exceptions to this—I’m sure there are a handful of people reading this who stuck to their dreams and managed to make their dream a reality—when you grow up, you start to realize that not every dream comes true. Sad? Of course. But hey, that’s just how life goes.
Okay, okay, maybe it’s not that your dreams don’t come true, maybe it’s that your dreams change. The idea of being a firefighter sounds cool when you’re a kid, but as you grow up, you realize how much danger goes into the job and take a path that allows you to help people in different ways than running into burning buildings.
And then there are some things that you simply let go of, recognizing how unrealistic they are. Sure, living on the moon sounds dope as hell, but it’s just not in the cards right now, and probably won’t be until much, much later on. I’ve got a couple of these in my back pocket that I had a lot of hope for, but now that I’m 25, I have to accept reality and let them go.
1. Having visible abs.
You know, there was a point in time where this was realistic. I played football in high school and it’s not like I was completely shredded, but you could probably fit one and a half of high school me inside of current me. And then I went to college and realized that drinking is a lot more fun than working out. Like, seriously, way more fun. And ever since then, I just kind of accepted that people who had anything remotely close to visible abs were genetically wired that way and I’m not and there’s nothing I can do about it.
2. Becoming a rock star.
I don’t think I’ve ever written about this so here goes nothing: I was big into singing growing up. I’m talking show choir in high school (we won nationals twice, but it’s not a big deal). I did musical theater. I was in a band in high school and even though we broke up before going to college, damn it, I was going to be a rock star.
Let me be clear when I say that this was no “oh yeah, that would be cool” kind of dream. I took this shit so seriously. Grew my hair out, drew all over my guitar, even spent some afternoons playing guitar on street corners around my college town—you know, just in case there were any big record execs who happened to be passing through Columbia, Missouri. In retrospect, I don’t know how my friends didn’t make fun of me more often.
I’m not really sure when it hit, but at some point around junior year I realized my singing voice wouldn’t cut it in the big leagues, and I just wasn’t cut out for the starving artist lifestyle.
3. Being taller than 5’10.
Been stuck at 5’8” since I was 14 years old. I held out hope for this one for the longest time, but once you hit 25, you’ve officially stopped growing vertically and start growing horizontally.
4. Making six figures by age 25.
Looking back now, this seems completely outlandish. If you’re like me and have no interest in numbers or laws or science, generally speaking, it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll be making six figures by the time you’re 25. However, all of us have gaps in our knowledge that cause us to have some insane dreams. Mine, for example, is knowing anything regarding money; how much the average person makes, how much it costs to get you places, how much things cost in general, etc. So when I was growing up, I always thought to myself that it would not be unrealistic to be making tons of cash by the time I hit a quarter century.
It’s astonishing how wrong I was.
5. Be in a relationship with Taylor Swift.
6. Living in Los Angeles immediately after college.
I’ve always loved LA. Most people hate it, and I understand why. It’s superficial, shallow, the traffic sucks, everything’s expensive, everyone works in “the industry,” and the list goes on. I think that’s part of why I’m drawn to it. I’ve never lived in a place where people care so much about surface-level things, plus I love The O.C. I still think if I were to ever make my way out there, I would come at it with a sarcastic, cynical attitude that would set me up to be a less druggy Hank Moody type.
But living there on my own right after college without a job lined up? C’mon.
7. Become famous by chance.
I would always have dreams of being interviewed on some late night talk show and telling some crazy story of getting famous by being in the right place at the right time. The right person would hear me singing while chopping veggies at the restaurant where I worked, or I would walk out of the dressing room wearing new pants at just the right time. I would wake up and think, “Damn, maybe today’s the day!”
I still have those dreams, but now when I wake up I think, “Shit, I hope the Blue Line isn’t delayed again.” .