Why dreams aren’t better than the real things

More than once my wife, Sarah, has said that our house is her dream house. This always causes me to react in a way that I find hard to explain.

Living in a dream house sounded like a good column idea, so I sat down at the computer to figure it out.

First off, I wasn’t sure if I was in fact living in my own dream house.

“How could the columnist who writes The Joy of Life not know if he’s living in his own dream house?” I thought to myself as I tapped at the keys.

How would I define my dream house? In my mind, the phrase conjures up a different place: I picture warmer, sunnier weather where I drive a Jeep with the top eternally down.

Next I imagine walking along the back wall of a house with large glass doors and oversized windows that open to a lush backyard.

When I say lush, I mean big, leafy tropical-like plants. Can you have those in a place that is always sunny?

From the glass hallway I come to an open room with a big couch in front of a stone fireplace and exposed wood beams. But how did I get to this house and where is it?

To me, that’s the most important part. The hunt for a dream house is a hunt I am always on.

Whenever I go on vacation, I only like to go places that might be a potential match for my family and its future. I haven’t even nailed down a country yet.

“The Swiss seem happy,” I think to myself as I sit watching travel host Rick Steves.

Ireland treasures its poets. But I do love it here in the U.S. Maybe a Southern state where the pace is a little slower. I could sit on the porch sipping sweet tea. But am I getting ahead of myself?
Yes, and that is the point.

This is Sarah’s idea of a dream house: a community that provides social outlets and activities for our son, a house with an open floor plan that facilitates family parties, a flat yard where kids can play that is not on a busy street, a yard that’s conducive to landscaping, enough space to offer visiting relatives a place to stay, and a large kitchen.

Her list is quite practical. Mine, on the other hand, is not so practical. My dream house is, well, a dream.

My ideas are romantic and vague. More dream than house, there is no shot of nailing down my dream house.

With that realization, the Neil Young song, “Dreaming Man” comes to mind.
“I’m a dreaming man… yes that’s my problem… I can’t tell when I’m not being real.” He sings in a lilting voice.

As the singer weaves his way around vague impressions and gut feelings, one has the suspicion that a more realistic counterpart waits at home.

A dream isn’t always better than the real thing. While dreams can pull you along, you can get a sense of contentment from the real things you around you.


About genemyers

Gene Myers is a New Jersey poet, music journalist and columnist who learned to walk twice. His weekly column is called The Joy of Life. He was awarded first place in Arts and Entertainment Writing by The New Jersey Press Association.
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