Remember when you were four years young and wide-eyed?
You had little eyes and everything looked little, too. That’s why you only drew your home and the dog house when your kindergarten teacher told you to draw the world. You had little hands but all you take hold of, you own. That’s why you believed you can have everything you wanted, just as long as you stretch your palms nicely enough. You had only known colors and happy songs back then. And yet your horizon that time stretched the farthest it has ever been your entire life. You can be everyone wanted to be, simply because the world allowed you to dream and dream big. Until you woke up one day years later and grew up.
Monthly trips to your pediatrician and his toy-studded clinic made you jealous enough to want an entire clinic for yourself. The white walls and his white coat are all clean and cool and super. You were so inspired you even asked your mom to buy you a stethoscope because you kept on insisting your teddy bear is dying from a fever. You told your parents you will grow up to be a doctor someday and they smiled at your first dream. A week later, you got your injections. A month after, you went to see your dentist. For the first time in your life, you learned how some things hurt no matter how sparkly they look. When you grew up, you learned that medicines are sometimes not enough and people die anyway. And doctors can have broken hearts under their crisp-clean coats, too.
So you wanted to be a fireman instead, because they’re like superheroes. Like doctors, they rescue people too. But firemen are different because people applaud them when they save lives and they get featured on the news and stuff. And it was mighty simple too; you just rush inside a burning house, search for the trapped kid and carry him out. Then everything will be okay. So you lit a matchstick and set your blanket on flames so you could practice. You got scolded big time by your parents and were told to watch a film about fire victims. That day, you grew up again when you figured out that fires actually make people sad because they lose their homes. You figured out that the fireman is sad too, even if you don’t really understand why. Perhaps because, like you slowly figured out, he could die too, every time he runs into blazing buildings for the life of someone else’s. And he must be really bored just waiting for a fire to happen and all.
Perhaps at six years old, you decided you’d rather be a policeman. The cops catch the bad guy, that’s what you know. They have powerful guns and awesome uniforms. Their lives are full of action too. Or maybe you wanted something better, like to be the president of the Philippines. Everyone will know your name and you can ask anyone to obey your orders. Nothing could beat that. At least inside your five year-old head. Because when you turned seven, you started being curious about the news that your parents read every morning and watch every night. All of a sudden, it shocked you that some cops can be the bad guys too. And man, how could it be that everybody seemed to hate the president for everything?
The older you get, the shorter your dreams last. The more you watch television, the more superficiality sounded attractive. All at once, you juggled ambitions about being a king or a queen (because unlike the president, the people loved them plus they live in castles!), an actor or an actress (because you dig Disney so much) or even a basketball star (or any wicked sport athlete that you know). At an early age, you wanted fame, followers and fans. You look up to people and you wanted people to look up to you too. But the truth is, as you get older, you also realize that royals are born with their statuses, that other than cheesy Disney films, there are horrors in Hollywood and sports… you don’t even excel in your PE class so you know you don’t stand a chance.
Today, you’re so much older in so many ways. And probably, the dreams you had as a kid always give you a hearty good laugh, thinking how insane you were not so long ago for you to have concocted such dreams. But when you think about it, you know you miss those days. Days when nobody cared when you were dreaming about impossibilities because the world just allowed you to be. As a kid you’ve been so many things you will never even remember for the rest of your life. Today, you need not remember everything.
Never forget that our goals got nothing to do with our ages—by default, dreamers are always kids: insistent but determined, whiny but optimistic and child-like but always believing.
This article is published on the opinion page column of my college publication, DLS-CSB’s The Benildean June-July Issue.