Learning to Dream

Today’s poem was written the summer before high school. I was doing a lot of thinking at this point in my life. Graduating eight grade was a big deal. My days attending Catholic school were over and faced a future of public high school.

To say I was nervous would be an understatement. I was about to go from having a class of 22 peers to a class of more than 140 peers. That number seemed huge to me, and I wondered what my experience would be.


Of course, I was mentally done with high school before I began. Every day was just another step toward college. This poem comes from looking at that future and the type of person I wanted to be.

This poem was written on July 7th, 2004. I was 14-years-old.

Learning to Dream

I want to write about life

I want to tell people of joy

to give hope when their need draws near

I feel like I know so much

but in the face of the real world

it is but a fragment of what I must know

a fragment of what I must see, hear, feel and learn

all I can say is follow your dreams

follow your heart

but it doesn’t feel like enough

when in truth they probably know all

How are we to know how to live?

How are we to know how our life should be?

We know nothing.

Listen to no voices, but hear all words

use your brain to learn

and your heart to set your path

do not see, but feel

feel your soul

feel their soul

feel the life around

now, I am done

it’s up to you

you can feel the presence

use it

your path has been set.

This reads more like a conversation with myself than anything else. There’s a lot here. I list a lot of the things I want for my future, writing being the first thing I mentioned. I remember wanting to make people happy with my writing and being unsure if that was possible when I wasn’t happy myself.

I also touch on the dynamics of knowledge with what has yet to be learned. At this age, I already felt more mature than my peers. That isn’t meant to be a boastful statement. I saw my peers TPing houses and pulling crazy stunts while I was much more concerned about my books and GPA. One of the things I most looked forward to was being old enough to vote. How many 14-year-olds do you know who can’t wait to be of voting age? Those qualities made me feel different, but I was proud to have them.

Listen to no voices, but hear all words

use your brain to learn

and your heart to set your path

do not see, but feel

I think this says it all. As I’ve mentioned before, I was in the middle of developing my own moral code. While this did not always match what people told me was moral, I always made a point to listen. I tried to remove words from the speaker so I could examine them as they are. Some things make sense when they come from a parent or teacher. If you separate the words from the authority figure and look at them for what they are, you might see a different meaning. That’s what I tried to do. It wasn’t that I had no respect for authority, but that I wanted to make my own decision about what was right and wrong (even if I had no choice but to follow the words of authority in that moment).

I was reaching a point in my life where it was time for my heart to make the decisions. I would do all I could to be the ruler of my next chapter in life.

When did you first give serious thought to your future? How does your present life differ from what your younger self expected?



34 thoughts on “Learning to Dream”

  1. I’m loving everything about this p-o-s-t!! Being reflective on your own life will give you great material for your future writing endeavors!! And you were prophetic in that you did make me happy after reading this post!!

  2. At least the conversations made sense. Great write. How often do we not hear them speak but we forget to truly listen..
    My future is today. I try not to look to far ahead of myself.

    1. That’s a good way to look at the world. I admit, I have a lot of dreams for the future, but I try not to let them distract me from today. Back then, though, my present wasn’t that great. My future was something I reached for because it was one of the only lights in my dark world. I held on to the promise the future would be better like my life depended on it. In some ways, the only reason I was still alive was the promise of what college had to offer.

  3. I was a kid in the 50s, came of age in the 60s Summer Of Love. I was busy growing my hair, wearing bell bottoms and getting high at rock concerts. Never thought about the future or a career. Just stayed in the moment, a totally free spirit. In many ways I’m still stuck in the 60s. I’m just an old hippy.

    1. There’s nothing wrong with being stuck in the 60s ^_^ I still feel odd sometimes, thinking I’m 24. I know that’s not very old, but I feel like I look so much younger. I still feel like I did when I was 16. The only difference is that I have learned more and gained independence. You’re only as old as you act, anyway. 16 probably isn’t a good age…. let’s say I’ll be 20 forever.

      1. You would do well to stay 24 forever. I know there’s an aspect of me that is still a young teenager too, but if I let it out society frowns upon it. Isn’t that odd? I have gathered much experience in my time in this body. It’s a trip, if you grow while aging you can figure so much out about oneself and by proxy others. But not everyone grows old, they just get old. You’re a sweet lass with a warrior’s mind for knowledge, I think you’ll learn and grow a lot during your hopefully long time as you. (I wonder how long you’ll continue to write in your blog. We’ll just have to see, eh) ;))

  4. I love your poetry. Am actually kinda envious that you still have it. I destroyed everything I wrote when I was younger because I couldn’t trust my parents not to go snooping and share my work without my consent.

    1. One of the reasons I have it laying around my apartment is because I took it from my parents house out of that same fear. what would they say if they read this? Even worse, what would they say if they read my diary from middle school. There’s some scary stuff in there. I’ve learned never to throw something away, though. I can think of a few things I’ve written in the past that I no longer have. It’s always so sad. You can’t get that stuff back.

  5. I thought your poem was wonderful, honest, and intelligent…an odd combination, but nonetheless refreshing in the sense that you looked at your life earnestly, and considered what it might amount too. It seems to me that anything beyond navel gazing is a rare quality in today’s youth.
    I think you are a wonderful writer with a liberal dose of good sense…and a healthy dash of humor to boot!
    I enjoy your blog very much. ~ Dave

    1. I’m happy you think so. I promise I have poems that are better than this, though. It’s fun to go back and see how my ideas of the future compare to where I am today. In many ways, I’m still very much like the girl who wrote these poems.

      1. Ya, I know exactly what you mean. I wrote a blog about that (the future & where I am today) on a different site. I’ll see if I can find it and post it here.

        Take care my friend. ~ Dave

  6. Awesome poem. And I know how you feel. I went to a private Lutheran grade/middle school and then a public high school. Going from a school with 200 students total, to a school with 200 students in my grade. It was overwhelming at first.

    1. Oh man, it was terrifying. There were so many rumors about what the public school kids would do to us. Luckily, I easily fell into a routine once I started high school. It ended up being better than my middle school years.

  7. Great post TK 🙂 answer; when I was thirteenish, it was then that I started seriously thinking about what I wanted to do with my life…. probably a young age I know, but I had big aspirations I guess

  8. It’s really cool that you’ve kept your old poems and look back on them, see where you were at the time of writing and see what’s changed over the years. I’ve lost most if not all of my poems that I wrote between the ages of 12-15, and by lost I mean I probably threw them out out of fear of anyone reading them and belief they were horrendous pieces of writing.

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