When dreams die

May 13, 2024


Pardon me, while I grab a tissue to wipe away tears.

A lovely couple who have cared for our pups during vacations for more than a decade are leaving the U.S. to move to a small European village. As I write, their goods are being loaded on a container ship and by the time you read this, they and their pets will be off to make their dream come true.

They’ll be gone. This made me strangely emotional. I asked my husband why he thought that was.

“We know the world around us changes and we accept that,” he said. “But when our own small world changes, somehow it’s different. More impactful.”

I think he’s right. And also something else.

This move has been a longtime dream for them, and now, they’re making it their reality.

We, too, have dreams, even though we’re more than two decades older than they.

But the realities of aging mean that this kind of huge move to a charming small village is no longer a possibility for us. Our window into the future is much smaller.

How would we access the kind of top-notch medical care we get in the San Francisco Bay area?

What would happen if we got disabled?

What happens when one of us dies?

Yes, there are answers to those questions, but there are reasons why they aren’t sufficient.

In her early 20s, my maternal grandmother boarded a ship in Sicily bound for Ellis Island. She did not speak English. She had two babes in arms. It was a HUGE move, and one she did because her husband was waiting in New York. But it was a move I couldn’t have fathomed. Strange language. Strange city. Steerage. Babies.

Respect to you, Mama. I know where I got some of my backbone.

At 33 and armed with my small savings account, I moved across country to California, a place where I knew no one and had no job. It was hard. Not as hard as my grandmother’s move, but hard.  If I’d known how difficult it would be, I probably wouldn’t have done it. Youth allows us to be in denial about reality.  My mother would urge me to “come home” and I never said I didn’t want to. I always said “I can’t.” Which was truer.

Over time I built a life and a good career here. It’s now 40 years later and yes, it was a good decision, for many reasons.

But now?

In our 70s, we can no longer depend on denial to get us over the hump of a life change of the magnitude our friends are making. As much as we’d like to leave the U.S., and trust me, we would.

Sure, people our age do this all the time. But for many reasons, it’s not a risk we are willing to take. Yes, I know you are going to want to give me all the reasons why we COULD take that risk, but they don’t outweigh the down sides that are inherent in our specific situation.

So. That door is now shut to us. That dream has died.

Not that we wouldn’t move to Canada. Easier. Probably more logical. But not our dream.

I realized that the tears I’m shedding have to do with the death of my dreams, a natural byproduct of aging and one I hadn’t anticipated. I’ve always looked at the world as full of possibility, and it is. It still is. But fewer possibilities than when we were younger.

Dreams die. Some doors close as our lives draw to a close. That it’s a natural death doesn’t make it any less sad.

But who knows, maybe one day I’ll revive this dream.

Maybe it’ll happen in another life.
Speaking of past lives, did you know I’m a trained and experienced past life regressionist? That’s right. I do them over Zoom and it works exactly as it does in person. Want to know more? Email me at ccassara (at) gmail dot com.

6 comments on “When dreams die
  1. Beth Havey says:

    Honest and lovey post. Aging requires an even deeper commitment to life plans. Thus I am querying my novel. Will I succeed? I have to try. I have to believe in my abilities and that’s the bottom line. Great post.

  2. Susan Cooper says:

    This so resonated with me. I get it. My life has changed in ways I never expected as my husband declines and I find myself without my plus one. 😔 But we adjust.

    • I’m sorry you’re going through this. And you are right, we adjust–what choice do we have? We adjust, as people have done since the start. Sending warm wishes your way, Susan.

  3. Laurie Stone says:

    It’s hard when you realize that a long-cherished dream will not be possible. I guess that’s where acceptance comes in and knowing that when a door closes, a window might open!

  4. Alana says:

    My husband and I have had dreams that died, too. But we’ve also found that sometimes the death of the dream puts you on a different track. No, not exactly the “when one door closes, another opens” cliche. But the new track can be just as good. 2020 did that for us, in a way.

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