Dreams of Ambition

March 5, 2009
'We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.' 'Oscar Wilde

Andie Dyson was twenty-four years old and already locked into a cubicle job. He worked as an accountant, but he made very little money, just enough to support himself and his wife. His life was miserable; his boss piled on the work, never appreciating his efforts and endless dedication. Never as a child had he envisioned himself as an accountant.

People all over the world, not just Andie, are living like this. Everyone considers their lives to be unsatisfactory, dull, and miserable. And most people who consider their lives fortunate are in fact leading terrible lives. If Andie had realized this, he may not have been so unhappy with his own life, because many people were suffering beyond compare.

But Andie was not so pessimistic that he was only thinking about himself'no, he was looking to the future. He dreamed someday of leaving his job as an accountant, perhaps quitting in a dramatic fashion by unleashing the resentment toward his boss that had built up slowly over the past few years, like sand slowly filling an hourglass. That moment was coming soon, he could feel it getting closer and closer. Each night when he looked up at the sky he could see the stars and the moon getting bigger and bigger, and the day they finally reached him, would be the day his life found meaning.

This was the only thing that kept him going. He had big dreams.

We usually have dreams about what career we'll have as adults when we're still young children. Andie was no exception. But for some reason, when we get older these ideas are dismissed as silly, childish fantasies that do not comply with the real world. If this were true, one could say that Andie never really grew up. He still wanted to be an astronaut.

As he grew older he realized that this task would be near-impossible to accomplish, so he settled for having a job at NASA. He would have settled for any kind of job there, for he was so intent on becoming an astronaut that he was getting pretty desperate, especially with the job he had now. And he would have a better chance of becoming an astronaut if he worked at NASA.

Sometimes'or should I say, oftentimes'when Andie was having a miserable day at his job, he would think about what might happen when his dream was finally realized. He hadn't told his wife about it, which he had been meaning to do for the longest time. One particular dream he often had was giving a speech to a huge crowd of people in front of the lake and the Washington Memorial in Washington, D.C. Everyone was there: his boss, his wife, his parents, his childhood friends'and he was telling them his dream.

'I have a dream,' he would say. 'I haven't told any of you this before, but I feel that now I have an obligation to. I want to be an astronaut.'

To his complete and utter surprise and amazement, the crowd'the gigantic, enormous crowd'exploded with applause. He was no longer in his dead-end job. He was no longer tethered to the monotonous reality. He was free.

Some others spoke up. 'I've worked at a car factory all my life!' one man yelled. 'I have ambitions that may never come to fruition!'

'I'm completely broke!' a woman shouted. 'I struggle each day to feed myself and my children. But someday I hope to have a nice house and a well-paying job like I deserve!'

At that point in the dream, the setting switched to a NASA space-launch. Andie was in a space suit, standing outside the entrance to a gigantic spaceship. Before he entered, however, he turned to face the crowd again.

'You see,' he said, 'we are all in the gutter. We all have our problems and our miseries. We are all in the same situation. But some of us don't care about all that. Some of us don't think about it, for some of us are looking'' He glanced upward at the sky. ''at the stars.'

With that, he stepped inside the spaceship, hearing the applause of the people in the crowd. The countdown began'the countdown to his moment of overwhelming joy, breaking free from the grip of society, cutting the ropes that bound him to the earth. It was his time to fly.

'Blast off.' The ship lifted off the ground in a moment of high excitement and thrill. He began hurtling through the air at great speed, getting closer and closer to the stars. Andie Dyson, the young man of twenty-four, accountant, smiled to himself as he entered the final frontier of his ambition.

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