Posted by: joha5 | May 13, 2010

Fame & Fortune: An Adult Reflection on Childhood Dreams

When I was younger I thought I was going to be famous one day.  I didn’t even think that I was going to be famous: I was convinced.  It’s strange to admit this now and even to think back on my mindset when I was younger but I really thought it was just going to be part of the natural flow of life.  School – maybe some college – and then fame.  I didn’t even know how I was going to get famous or what the hell I could be famous for.  I just knew that I was going to be famous.  At first I wanted to be the point guard on the Washington Bullets basketball team.  Then I wanted to be an actor or a singer.  Then I wanted to be a reality TV star (thank God I didn’t take that route).  Then I wanted to be President.  And then I wanted to be – and I was – an actor.  Then I wanted to be the head of a big company and be super rich and successful.  Then I moved back home with my mom.  Then I just wanted a job.  Isn’t it funny how the natural flow of life works? 

I used to envision myself standing on the basketball court, on stage, or in front of Congress and just taking in the swaths of people surrounding me and waiting for me to hit the game winning shot (see below), deliver the dramatic scene, or solve major world problems.  It always seemed like it was a way off and that I was no closer to achieving those goals but I knew it was going to happen.  It had to.  I was me and I was exceptional. 

I don’t know when exactly I realized that I was not going to be a famous basketball player, a renowned actor, or President of the United States (although to be fair, I still have another 7 years until I am even eligible to be President) but it didn’t hit me over the head like a ton of bricks at all.  I just think that my dreams and aspirations to be famous were replaced with the everyday tedium of life: Do I have enough money for groceries?  Is my boss really that awful?  How am I going to pay back my student loans?  Should I go out tonight?  What is the last day that I can pay my phone bill without it getting cut off? 

You see what I mean?  Who has time to follow childhood ambitions when there are so many other things to worry about?  The moments of dreaming slowly subsided and were replaced with thoughts of just how to navigate the world.  This might sound depressing and awful to many of you considering that these dreams never actually materialized but there is a greater irony at play here.  Sure I dreamed about being famous but I now realize that I never really wanted to be famous in the first place.   

Honestly, can you even imagine what being famous actually entails?  The loss of privacy, the groupies, the hangers-on, the loss of anonymity, always having to think about how you present yourself, the schedule, the autographs, and the hassle of it all.  Obviously there are trade-offs like fame, money, recognition, adoration, respect, the VIP treatment everywhere you go, and the lavish lifestyle.  On the surface I think a lot of people, including myself, would just jump at the latter – and why not?  I wouldn’t have to worry about any of the things I worry about now and so many of my problems would be solved in the short-term.  However, the feasibility of fame in the long-term seems so oppressive and so transformative – and unhealthy – that, personally, I just don’t think I could ever deal with it and I think I even knew this about myself back when I was a kid. 

This Could Have Been Me

If I really wanted to be famous then I would have followed a path that would have at least afforded me the opportunity.  These dreams I had were just that: dreams.  They are still great to think about and reflect on but I don’t want to actively pursue them – and I probably never will.  Instead, I pursued a different kind of dream when I was growing up.  I pursued education.  I pursued a high school diploma.  I pursued a college degree.  I even pursued a couple of Masters Degrees.  How many people can say that they have accomplished all of these things?  Okay, well, probably thousands and thousands.  But that is okay with me.  The dreams that I pursued didn’t come because I made a deal with the devil.  They came because of hard work and they came because of passion.  The best part is that my accomplishment’s thus far represent actual achievements along with promise and hope of a better future for myself. 

The Key to Success

I won’t lie.  I still dream.  I still dream quite a lot actually.  I dream about being famous and I dream about accomplishing great things in my life.  The difference about my dreams now is that they all seem totally within reason.  Maybe I will become an Ambassador one day.  Or maybe I will become a renowned writer, maybe I will have a family, maybe I will travel the world, and maybe I will be just be happy with whatever it is I end up doing.  I may not be a famous basketball player, a movie star, or President of the United States and that suits me just fine.  The natural flow of life has enabled me to be who I want to be.  I love who I am now and I love what I have become.  I just realize now that I don’t need to be famous to be validated. 

Who knows where I will end up, what I will accomplish, or what I will end up doing with my life.  I will always keep dreaming of doing bigger and better things until the day I die.  Because, after all, I am me and I am exceptional.



  1. totally loved reading this, because it was so honest and heartfelt 🙂

  2. I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! It’s funny to look back on your dreams and aspirations and to see where you are today in relation to where you thought (or hoped!) you would be one day. I wouldn’t do a single thing over differently. What were your dreams as a kid?

  3. I dreamed that I was going to be white when I grew up. Sometimes, you have to recognize that childhood dreams will stay dreams, so long as you’re happy with where you are. I am perfectly happy being Asian.

    • I couldn’t agree more about some dreams just staying dreams. I’d rather they stay dreams than pursue something that is totally unrealistic for my entire life only to realize that I should have spent my time in a better and more worthwhile manner. I’m definitely happy where I am now but I also definitely have a lot more I hope to do as well. It’s an interesting dichotomy to say the least!

  4. If you still have that Bullets/Wizard thing going, remember that in real life you should leave all weapons at home. You might want to pass that along to Agent Zero as well.

    • Hahaha! Oh W.K., I am SUCH a huge Wizards fan it is unbelievable and Arenas has basically ruined the Wizards for the past few years. I loved him at first and now I just want him to leave D.C. alone. I almost wish that he was sent to jail so Ernie Grunfeld (the G.M.) could try and void his contract. Now we are stuck with him for the next 4 years and he is going to take up their entire payroll. NBA Championship material they are NOT.

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