Where would we be without our dreams

“Past and Present I know well; each is a friend and sometimes an enemy to me. But it is the quiet, beckoning Future, an absolute stranger, with whom I have fallen madly in love.”

—Richelle E. Goodrich, American author, novelist, and poet

Life comes alive for me when experiences from roads traveled combine with dreams for the future and the blend produces a perfect today. Appreciation for that concept came only after years of experience—another one of those “if I had known that when I was younger” things. Writer Richelle E. Goodrich’s words above express it perfectly.

I find comfort in reflecting on the days and moments that allowed me to smile and solace in dealing with the days and moments that caused me to cry. I consider both as an essential exercise in looking toward tomorrow.

I find perspective in the past from both the good and the bad. Comparing yesterday with today is one of my greatest inspirations for writing. How can any of us appreciate our successes, lament our failures, or speculate about where we are headed without some direction from our past?

I find knowledge in the past. Knowing something about where I’ve come from and where I’ve been adds understanding to what I am doing today and stability in making decisions about where I’m going tomorrow.

Understanding the past doesn’t mean living in it, however. During my tenure in the communication department at Stephen F. Austin State University, I was often accused of single-handedly trying to bring back the 1950s. I embraced the accusation with honor and still don’t think that is an altogether bad ambition. However, that doesn’t mean I would give up the quality of life and the expanded resources and knowledge that we enjoy today, or the experience gained from life’s journey.

For all my love lavished on the past, there is nothing more exciting to me than the future. Tomorrow holds our ambitions, our dreams, our goals, and our hopes. How could we not be mesmerized by or madly in love with that?

Well before the mystique of Y2K approached, I wondered if I would live to see the age of 50 and thought about the things I hoped to accomplish if I were fortunate enough to do so. Having now blown the dust off 50 and left it long in the rearview mirror, these days I am more amazed about the things I have done since passing the half-century mark.

Things like learning to play a musical instrument, travel to places I had only heard of, read about things I had not dreamed of, witnessed events that I would have never anticipated. I’ve seen dreams come true and experienced failure I never saw coming.

If someone had told me at age 50, that I would have memories I now possess, I would have scoffed at them. And, through it all, I am glad to be where I am. I would say it’s the best time of my life, but I can honestly say I have felt that way at every age.

However, it’s still tomorrow that continues to hold excitement and anticipation for me. I still have dreams about ambitions to fulfill, places to go, knowledge to acquire, love to share. Where would we be without our dreams?”

In just a few more hours, we will have 365 new opportunities to anticipate the excitement and dreams of a new year. May 2019 bring you new hopes and dreams, fulfillment of those you nurtured in 2018, and opportunities in life that you have yet to fall madly in love with.

Happy New Year and best wishes for your best year yet!

—Leon Aldridge

Photo at top of the page: In May of 1966, your author received a diploma from Mount Pleasant (Texas) High School nurturing many dreams for the future. Some of those dreams have been fulfilled, some were lost along the way and some new ones took their place. But, it’s still the dreams of what tomorrow holds that I am most in love with.

Aldridge columns are also published in the Center, Texas Light and Champion and the Mount Pleasant, Texas, Tribune


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