But I think I also got a bit wiser. And so I will dispense this wisdom to others, especially the kids out there: Don't bother with having dreams.
Now, I know that most people will read that and say "Oh, that's terrible. What a horrible thing to say. He's just so bitter and jaded and everyone needs to have dreams." And then they're going to go and watch some bullshit "inspiring" movie or tv show that ignores any trace of how the world actually works in order to try and inspire people and make them feel good about their shitty lives. But the average person is going to work a shitty job, get heartbroken, end up in a shitty relationship with someone they resent, get some sort of illness and things aren't going to magically work themselves out and tie things up in a nice little bow. No...you're either going to die too early or you're going to retire without enough money saved up and live way longer than you expected.
(This is essentially why I hate all country music made after 1985. Pre-1985, country musicians wrote songs about being heartbroken or having shitty jobs or what have you, then getting right fucking drunk out of their minds and, surprisingly, this doesn't solve anything, but only makes it worse. That's essentially how life works. All country music made after 1985 is all sappy, not anchored in any sort of reality, bullshit. Oh....my wife got terminally ill with cancer and is going to die in 10 months. But hey! She's pregnant! She had a little girl but my wife died during childbirth. But hey! The little girl reminds me of my now dead wife! Life's little miracle! OR Hey...my job sucks and my girl left me. Let's get consequence free drunk for the next week and that will solve all of our problems. OK! Hey look, after a week of being blasted I nailed this hot chick, I got a job working for NASCAR and my rich uncle gave me a new pick-up truck. Drinking is awesome!)
But, essentially, the vast majority of your hopes and dreams will either: a.) get crushed or b.) slowly fade into non-existence. Sure, there are examples of lucky assholes overcoming the odds, but these people are the exception and not the rule.
For example, consider the list of hopes and dreams you had when you were 10. My list probably looked something like this:
1.) Play in the NHL and MLB
2.) Own all the Nintendo games ever made
3.) Marry Kim Basinger
4.) Become a Navy Seal, astronaut and/or bad-ass crime solving detective
5.) Live in a pyramid
6.) Buy a truck with any sort of college fund money bequeathed to me
7.) Become a world famous musician playing the homemade stacking stool drum kit
This list not only shows how unrealistic our hopes and dreams can be, but also how dumb I was as a kid. Who would want to live in a fucking pyramid? It's got like one fucking room, there's death traps all around, no lights, no electricity. I used to think that a pyramid would be a giant mansion in prism form, however, in reality, it would make for a terrible, shitty place to live and would certainly not help you get laid.
The NHL dream died when we no longer had enough kids in our town to have a hockey team one year. Although probably before that. Nintendo was replaced by Super Nintendo, then N64, then something else and now its a Wii or something. That's a lot of games I would never play. I remember wanting to marry Kim Basinger after watching some movie where she robbed a bank. I think its because its the first time I noticed how awesome boobs were.
I did buy a truck, but instead of using my college fund money that I wasn't going to need because of my NHL career, I had to invest that money in a college education and then use that education to get a job, using the money from the job to buy the truck. And even then....it was just a fucking Ranger. So that's like 0.5 out of 7 success rate.
So let's go forward 10 years. I'm now 20 and in university.
1.) Graduate university.
2.) Get a job that doesn't suck.
3.) Meet a girl and fall in love.
4.) Get married.
5.) Have kids.
6.) Buy a modestly price, fuel efficient car.
7.) Buy a house.
So I got numbers 1-3 knocked off the list. Then 4 was an abject failure. Which did not lend itself well to completing number 5. The most fuel efficient car I bought was a Grand Am. And then I bought an even less fuel efficient Ranger. And I bought a shitty condo.
For the record, I do not recommend knocking off number 3 on that list and failing at number 4. That's a bad combination that leads to alcohol and binge eating. And not the magic alcohol that Toby Keith speaks about that makes all life's problems fade into a drunken haze of good times. It's more of the Hank Sr. alcohol that suppresses things into the recesses of your soul, lingering there, making appearances at inopportune times.
So that gives me a 3 out of 7 success rate. You'll also notice that this new list of goals is a lot more attainable than the 10 year old me list, and I'm still not even batting .500. Total score: 3.5 out of 14.
What are my goals now that I'm 30? Well:
1.) Don't die before I'm 50
2.) Sell shitty condo and buy slightly less shitty house
3.) Avoid becoming dependent on alcohol
4.) Don't get arthritis or back pain
5.) Save money so I can one day afford to retire
6.) Don't get erectile dysfunction (which really doesn't matter after number 4 and 5 from my age 20 list didn't get carried over to this list)
7.) Win my hockey pool
That's pretty much it. None of these are really dreams, anymore. They're not even goals. They're hopes. And they're simply hoping against negative things. Most of these should be achievable but history suggests that between 2 and 5 of these will be complete failures. And if it's 5 of them, you may as well hope number 1 is on that list.
So that's pretty much it. In a 20 year period you go from dreaming of playing in the NHL or some other long shot awesome thing to hoping a whole bunch of terrible shit doesn't happen to you.