I was listening intently to lyrics from a song from Adam Levine called “Lost Stars”, which was also a movie. In it he sings, “Why are dreams wasted on the young?” And “Let’s get drunk on our tears.”
I got to thinking deeper as I often do. When people ask this, they’re really talking about how kids and teenagers have such big plans for what they’re going to do, who they’ll be, or where they’ll go, but as they grow up, life seems to pour cold water on those big dreams.
Then, in our elder years, we look back in regret (tears), lamenting on what could have been. We always thing we have more time than we actually do. Don’t we?
Think about when you were really young. You probably had ideas like being an astronaut, a movie star, or even the president. Young folks have a ‘sky’s the limit’ way of thinking. They haven’t bumped into many of life’s roadblocks yet. It’s both beautiful and a bit scary because they’re so ready to dive into things without worrying about failing. But this scattergun approach to chasing dreams can sometimes look like a waste, especially when those big dreams don’t turn into realities.
Society, though, is a bit of a dream dampener, you know? As we get older, we start to feel this heavy pressure to “fit in.” People start trading their wilder dreams for a steady job, paying the bills, and doing the “responsible” thing. It’s like there’s this unwritten rule book we start to follow, and it doesn’t include instructions on how to be an adventurer or a rockstar.
And don’t even get me started on opportunities — not everyone’s got them. A lot depends on where you live, what school you went to, and how much dough your family has. Some kids are in a tough spot from the start, and their dreams are more about getting by than shooting for the stars. It’s not really fair, and it’s definitely not a waste; it’s just how things are sometimes.
When I was nineteen in this picture, my dreams were not to be the woman on the left. That dream was stored when I was sixteen for use later in life. I hadn’t done it intentionally either. I think it was more of a coping mechanism. You see, back in the early 70’s there was no internet and no one to talk to about my feelings. I felt alone. A freak of sorts. So, I subconsciously stored my experiences for when the time was right. It happened to be almost forty years later. But dreams have a way of sprouting in their own time when the gestation is right.
But back to my analysis, here’s a kicker: saying dreams are “wasted” on the young is selling people short. We’ve got this nifty skill of cooking up new dreams. Life throws a curveball, and we might let go of one dream, but then we find another. It’s not always a bad trade; it’s just different. We learn stuff from trying, even if we end up going in another direction.
So, bottom line: it’s not that dreams are wasted on the young. They dream the biggest because they can, and that’s something we should protect.
But dreams change, no matter how old you are. They’re not just for kids; they’re for everyone. They shape us, push us, and lead us to new paths.
Maybe instead of worrying about dreams being wasted, we should focus on making sure everyone’s got a fair chance to chase them, however young or old they are.