The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

The Tyranny of Dreams

11/20/2019

Dreams are born in experience and can consume the mind.

My late mother’s father died young, and she was raised by her mother in a tiny white clapboard house.  It was slightly below grade and close to a relatively busy road, as busy as roads get in the boondocks.  She was sensitive to her standard of living and suspected people passing by their house judged her by her poverty.  Dreaming of a house that demanded respect, she married young to escape the squalor.  After retirement, she returned to the area and built a huge 5,000 square foot white brick house atop a mountain overlooking the tiny white clapboard house.  She accomplished her dream and was justifiably proud.

As she aged and her health failed, maintenance was increasingly deferred.  Moving into an assisted living facility was unacceptable, as it meant leaving her dream.  She spent ten years on the first floor of her dream and was unable to even visit her second floor, eventually being confined to one room, where she suffered her fatal accident.  She would have lived longer outside her dream.

Her dream was not to have a family to be proud of.  That was nice, but living in a house that demanded respect was better.

Generalizing by gender is always tricky, and I apologize, but I do suspect women may be more prone to house-worship than men, who are more prone to car-worship or plaques on the wall?  I have also seen several men whose driving dream was maximizing the inheritance of their children.  It’s just another field of competition, I guess.  But, from my perspective, house-worship is the most limiting dream and the most dangerous dream, because it interferes with prudent decision-making later in life.

What has been your dream?

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