“Can you realize your dream’s alive? You can be the guide but…”






To the few of you that follow my work extremely closely, my birthday passed recently.


I am – as of this moment – 43 years old.


To celebrate the event, a young woman took me out to dinner.


As we awaited our table, an elderly man before us in line turned to me affably, remarking:


“Don’t get old.”


I smiled broadly at his kind, if futile, advice, replying:


I didn’t see the box to check that option on my birth certificate.


He laughed (good naturedly) saying:


“You’re right; I didn’t, either.”




Now, when younger men call me old, I say exactly what I wrote in my book:


You’ll either live to be my age—


or you won’t.


There’s no other choice.


While there’s no shortage of Truth in my words, permit me to offer some advice that is not so impossible to follow.




On my bed, right now – as I type this, is the teddy bear that my (now deceased) mother laid in my crib when I returned with her from my delivery in the hospital.


That same threadbare, careworn, stuffed animal will likely buried (or cremated) with me.


Thus, I say to you:


Never, ever allow the world to reclaim your boyishness.


Childishness can, and should, one day fade, yes.


But, should boyishness go, death may as well be on its heels.




Childishness is immaturity, selfishness, short-term thinking, hedonism and disregard of reality.


Boyishness is curiosity, innocent boldness, awe at/humility before reality, wonder at nature, a heart ever prepared for adventure and a desire for companions on endeavors to seek such.


Even at my age, there are moments when I stand slack-jawed at the stars.


Stare in amazement at animals.


Get excited for simple pleasures.


Ask 100 questions in breathless anticipation.


And these very parts of myself I kindle, blowing upon them using whatever force remains within to enflame the embers – bringing them to renewed vigor.


[Yes, women – with their omnipresent pragmatism – find this simultaneously endearing and puzzling.]




Why do I do this?


Because, as I said:


Should the flame die—


I may as well be extinguished with it.


Plus, wise men know the universe tilts heavily in favor of darkness.


So bring it light.






21 Responses to ““Can you realize your dream’s alive? You can be the guide but…””

  1. […] “Can you realize your dream’s alive? You can be the guide but…” […]

  2. I still have the Care Bear (Good Luck) that my Mom made about 35 years ago for Christmas. We didn’t have money during that craze so Mom made mine and my sisters. Totally understand the attachment but the question in my head is now: could such a woman exist now that could or would do the same for our kids??

    Boyishness is what keeps us grounded and is more than a bit therapeutic. Lose that therapy and the lust for life and just kill me that moment.

    • Sean,

      I don’t come from wealth, either, so your story is familiar to me, too.

      As far as your question:

      That’s a good one with a bad answer, I fear.

      “…more than a bit therapeutic”

      Excellently put.

      Stay well.

  3. Happy Belated Ace.

    All you have to do to get old is keep breathing. Finding reasons to keep breathing should be everyone’s priority.

    When I turned 43 I was in domestic hell and self-flagellating for not being happy about it … God and Devil both staring balefully, waiting for me to mess it up. Society cold and indifferent; how could a disposable cipher be treated otherwise? The occasional pat on the head for being a living sacrifice.

    Spending your life in dread, waiting for the other shoe to drop, not realizing you’re already buried under a snowdrift of other shoes.

    Today, the sun is shining, Creation and Society do their thing and I let them. I teach whom I can, encourage whom I can and warn whom I can. The rest, not my job.

    A Boy can explore and learn and question because he is Free. Even though I fought it tooth and nail for years, I am a Boy again.

    And it’s good.

    • Many thanks for the belated wishes, JD.

      They are much appreciated.

      I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been through such a Hell but I can’t say I’m surprised.

      I doubt many of my readers haven’t.

      I’m sincerely thrilled that you’ve recovered that part of yourself.

      And, no doubt, you are, too.

      • I definitely am, and thank you.

        Occasionally I would ponder the Old Testament, and get the uncomfortable feeling that many things called “sins” aren’t, and many things called “virtues” aren’t either.

        Definitely encouraged me to clean the slate.

  4. […] at 80 Proof Oinomancy, Ace draws inspiration from a cool Queensrÿche video: “Can you realize your dream’s alive? You can be the guide but…”—a psalm to boyishness as distinguished from […]

  5. Byron Oxford Says:

    This is absolutely beautiful. It actually brought a tear of joy to my eye. In my 50s most people place me at 38 to 40 and I think it is my livelong boyishness. But the sentiment and the thought here make is astounding. I bought your book with its pithy thoughts, but honestly your poetry is the most beautiful and masculine of this century. One day this will not be so obscure

  6. Byron Oxford Says:

    Oh yes, while I don’t have my baby bear, I do have my childhood cowboy holster sill hanging on my bed post. My 28 year girlfriend finds it one of my most fascinating idiosyncrasies. Again, thank you for this. It has made my day and put profundity to what I thought was just a quirk of mine.

    • Truly my pleasure, Byron.

      It’s replies like yours (and those like them) that keep me going.

      Plus, I’m glad to let you know that – in yet another way – you are not alone.

      • Byron Oxford Says:

        Yes, it is good to know that there are other men like me out there. Btw, the holster still has a working cap gun, I sometimes fire it in the morning to startle my girlfriend for our morning coffee.

  7. […] Don’t lose your boyishness […]

  8. I have a stuffed T-Rex puppet I named “tuna fish” when I was 7 years old, after my favorite sandwich and the first ‘meal’ I learned how to prepare for myself. I was so proud of myself for figuring that out.

    I’ll make sure to look for him and if possible, never lose sight of him again.

    Given my proclivity to cling to the past anyways, I shouldn’t afford to lose an emotional anchor to the past for it grounds me in the present.


  9. A couple of years ago, I was surprised to receive my childhood teddy bear from my parents. My reaction was horror – thinking that the bear was gone was OK, but the thought that he had just spent 30 years buried in a dark box sat less well.

    I decided that he had spent his years in deep meditation, and was now very wise. As grave trials are wont to do.

    When my wife’s mother was dying, whom did she ask for on her emergency flight out? Wise Bear. Who was at my mother-in-law’s side when she died, as my wife slept. A fine final guide for a fine person.

    Now he’s back, and unequivocally mine. Boyishness and wisdom. Both of which *can* be loaned – but never given.

  10. Love it.

    Have you seen The Cosmos by Carl Sagan? You can see that boyishness in his eyes; it fascinates me. Although he is a bit of a dystopia nut.

  11. […] ► Rediscover your boyishness ◄ and live for yourself. […]

  12. Man… really regretting the fact that I don’t have anything from my boyhood but pictures now. I have, multiple times, welled up with tears when I’ve thought about the teddy bear I had when I was a kid (lost, now – some ten years ago or more).

    Zeke, I named him.

    Miss you bud.

    Still, I’ve held onto that boyishness, somewhat. Stopped to just sit and watch a thunderstorm in awe the other day – massive, dark clouds, lit up with miles-long bolts of lightning. Made me want to move out West just so I could see that more often.

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