Every male thinks that maybe they can at times be very romantic creatures as in, Ryan-Gosling-from-The Notebook-romantic. That sort of expectation is just not justified by the sad reality of almost imminent obesity and male pattern baldness. As kids, we want to grow up to be a lot of things.
We imagine the future to hold so many things that it so obviously cannot. Like a six pack, maybe. Like billions of dollars and a book deal. I began thinking about this when writing my “Writing Biography” posts this weekend.
In the fifth grade, I had huge plans for my future. I would be on Oprah and parade through the streets while people screamed my name. I was also for the duration of my childhood under the impression that I would die at 16. I would publish a book that would rock the world, change society… and then I’d die.
After publishing something, I could die. That would have been fine with me, just sixteen years of life and one book on the shelves.
Well, I didn’t publish anything. I didn’t gain the romantic suave of Ryan Gosling or his six packs. At sixteen, I didn’t die and maybe although it was just a small premonition, I didn’t know what to do. I hadn’t made real plans for the future, hadn’t really thought beyond what might have been my imminent death.
It’s one of those strange notions sparked during childhood that stick with you: sixteen years seemed like it would be long enough to achieve everything I’ve ever wanted to do. Maybe not.
The problem with growing up is that you have to change your game plan, the older you get. Maybe when you’re young, you can want to be a robot or a ninja. With how many video games I played and episodes of Power Rangers I watched, I thought it was imminent that one day, I’d save the earth from a horde of attacking aliens.
But as we grow older, we cross out things we deem impossible. As William Wilberforce said, “We are too young to realize that certain things are impossible, so we will do them anyways.” But then suddenly becoming a robot seems impossible. We presume we’ll never save the earth from aliens or don a ninja suit.
After this, more realistic dreams crumble. Maybe we can’t be lawyers, can’t be doctors. Can’t woo women with smooth ease. Can’t write stories that make people cry or rejoice or feel anything. And there’s a fine line between impossible and improbable, I think.
There are truths that you have to come to terms with, like the fact that you will never be Ryan Gosling. But there are also hard truths that must come to terms with you.
If you really, really want to become a pirate, you just need a fast ship and an eyepatch. A crew, some cannons, a cutlass, and a criminal record.
If you really want to become a doctor, you’ll need to go the medical school. I think I’d have an easier time becoming a pirate, but don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done.
If you really want to become Ryan Gosling, you must discover the secret to altering your DNA. Also, get a gym membership.
If you really want to become an author, you first have to write a book.