Over Memorial Day weekend, I became the commissioner of Major League Baseball and received a $500,000,000 salary. I also climbed Mt. Everest, won an Oscar, flew to the moon, dunked a basketball, won the Super Bowl, sailed around the world, and put Mars and Jupiter together to make them look like butt cheeks.
That was just Sunday.
It all started when my nephew, Evan, asked me to tell him all the things I wanted to do that I’ve never done in my life. I said, “Sharpen your pencil, buddy.”
“You just tell me what you want,” he said without hesitating.
After writing out a list of all the things I wanted to do, Evan, 8, and me and his brother, Logan, 6, and his sister, Lindsay, 10, acted out the things on the list.
There’s a little hill in my brother’s backyard that served as Mt. Everest, so we put on our most determined faces and trudged upward, collapsing in exhaustion on the top of the world.
To win my Oscar, Evan instructed me to act happy and told his little brother to act sad. Evan judged our performances and I got the statue.
Of course, Logan protested.
When you’re six years old, there’s a rule that says you don’t have to agree with anything. Then again, at six children also have the attention span of a gnat, so when we said it was time to fly to the moon, Logan dropped his protest and we launched skyward in our rocket.
Later, when I collapsed from exhaustion from a day of playing baseball, football, flying a kite, chasing the kids non-stop and doing all the make believing, my thoughts drifted to the list I dictated to Evan.
It occurred to me that what we wrote out seemed more like my life’s regrets rather than dreams. I’m never going to be the commissioner of baseball or an astronaut, two things I once dreamed about. I’m never going to win an Oscar or climb Mt Everest.
And I also thought about how big I once dreamed. These days my idea of dreaming big is getting the isle seat on a flight to Ft. Lauderdale.
Why do our dreams shrink inversely proportional to our age like Newton’s fourth law or something? The more I thought about my list the more I wondered about dreams I forgot about, or left out altogether because they seemed impractical or too embarrassing for a man pushing middle age to speak aloud.
There’s no regulator on a kid’s imagination, no little voices in their heads saying they can’t do that.