Dreams in Storage

The lyrics from a part of Passenger’s song “Life’s for the Living” (a song which I previously mentioned in this post) have been on repeat in my head and heart, particularly this line:

“They take your dreams down and stick them in storage

You can have them back, son, when you’ve paid off your mortgage and loans”

I hear this and think “college.” I think of the voices of friends who cynically joke about the fees and student loans, but continue to enroll each semester. I think of the interview on NPR that I heard this week, the young man who said he could not focus on or enjoy his studies for anxiety over debt. I think of the way our generation extinguishes their own flame of youthful passion for life, “growing up” by accepting the chains, rowing the ship of society. I think of the way we’re told to put our dreams in storage, until we have earned the right to live.

After all, everyone knows that you need a degree to be successful. The funny thing about “everyone knows” is that no one really does. Everyone assumes. Everyone blindly accepts. No one knows. And that is the beauty of it. Once we know that we do not know, then we are able to learn and grow, to think and delight in knowledge. Whenever I hear another human being lament the crippling weight dropped onto their shoulders, I wish to wrap my arms around them, whisper that it’s okay. That’s there’s another way.

Four long years of prison

you pay exorbitant amounts of money

to sit in a prescribed spot

to be one of the innumerable faceless.

to be taught to play their game

to give in to their way of thinking

their way of not thinking

as they put the glorious, mysterious, beautiful

human mind

into a box

telling you exactly how it works

exactly what you ought to think and do

so that you can regurgitate the little phrases

and tidy lists of terms

on demand

under their whips

To reach the end

the wished-for respite

a shell

emptied

crushed by debt

weary of mind

♦♦♦♦♦

cd02e903e7ef05286c56c0224b769bd8For that price

how many paints and brushes

ink and pens

could you buy?

Rather than a textbook

that loses all its worth in a year

imagine sketchpads and leather-bound journals

rather than being emptied

of time and creative energy

you could be filled with it

You could embark on a grand adventure

of imagination and creation

and discover what the mind is really like

with each word and brushstroke

quietly

powerfully

disprove them

Please, stop trying

Start living

Be

 

Or as Passenger sings:

“Well I’m sick of this town, this blind man’s forage

They take your dreams down and stick them in storage

You can have them back, son, when you’ve paid off your mortgage and loans

Oh hell with this place, I’ll go it my own way

I’ll stick out my thumb and trudge down the highway

Someday someone must be going my way home

Till then I’ll make my bed from a disused car

With a mattress of leaves and a blanket of stars

And I’ll stitch the words into my heart with a needle and thread

Don’t you cry for the lost

Smile for the living

Get what you need and give what you’re given

You know life’s for the living so live it

Or you’re better off dead.”

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