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"Things change; always do. I ought to know." Again the smile around the stem of the worn pipe. "You'll get your chance, boy. Important thing is, when it comes, you got to ready for it. You gotta grab it with both hands and hold on tight."

--Otis (from The Last Starfighter by Alan Dean Foster)

When we speak of dreams we use the term in two different ways.

There is the dream of nightmares, lucid dreaming, day dreams, trances and hallucinations. Things we have no control over and often dissappear like fog as soon as we awake from the state.

There are dreams of hopes, wishes and aspirations. These sit in our heart and rip out a chunk of it with them as they leave. These are the dreams I talk of now.

What separates dreams from goals? Both are desirable outcomes that we work for. Both are in the uncertain future. The difference lies in that a goal can certainly be attained. That is, if all the steps for getting there are correct, and all followed through, the outcome is certain. The goal of graduating from college - nothing can stop you from doing it if you put your mind to it. Dreams, however, are not necessarily attainable. With dreams, we may do everything we can do right, and yet still not have the dream realized.

The very nature of dreams are things we set our hearts on. As children they are toys we dream of receiving as presents. There is the dream girl (or boy) friend that haunts us in high school. Later we see the dream job and dream house. With all of them it is so easy to have done all we can and not have it come true.

If we don't put all of our heart into pursuing the dream, there is little chance if any of ever having the dream come true. If we only seek our dreams half-heartedly, they never do. And yet, it hurts when we commit all of our heart and have to loose it.

No matter how much it hurts to loose a dream, or lives feel empty without them. After our goals are attained, there is little left to strive for beyond the dull mediocrity of daily tedium.

How many times can we loose our dreams before our heart is shredded and we can no longer care enough to try again?

Allow yourself no dreams, and there will be no disillusionments. Make the voyage; see what happens; hope for the best, but count on nothing. And perhaps this time we will do a better job of it.

Or perhaps not.

--Carpenter (from Hot Sky at Midnight by Robert Silverberg)

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