Here's the Thing
A scene from Disney's Tangled shows Rapunzel interrogating Finn, who she's got tied to a chair with her hair.

I Might Be Done with Dreams

This column is a reprint from Unwinnable Monthly #172. If you like what you see, grab the magazine for less than ten dollars, or subscribe and get all future magazines for half price.


Here’s the Thing is where Rob dumps his random thoughts and strong opinions on all manner of nerdy subjects – from videogames and movies to board games and toys.


Disney’s Tangled is a great movie in its own right, but it also has a pretty lovely message about chasing your dreams even if you think they’re impossible. It’s a worthwhile goal in life; pursuing a dream. Here’s the thing, though: Lately I’ve come to realize that, if I’m being honest with myself, I don’t really have a dream anymore.

This isn’t meant to be a depressing story, I promise, but it’s something that I’ve been grappling with for quite a while. In fact, it wasn’t until very recently that I was able to start figuring out why that is, and more importantly accept the idea that it’s okay.

A big part of it is that I did have a dream for a good chunk of my life. Growing up (and throughout my college years, even) I desperately wanted to make a living writing about videogames. Writing had been a passion of mine for a very long time, along with games, and the thought of being able to do both – to live off of doing both – was my “I wanna be an astronaut.” And I got to do it, too! I did it for quite a while, and still do in some capacity I suppose, but the problem is it all went sour after a while. Like most of the jobs I’ve had over the years. I’m pretty sure this whole ordeal of living my dream and then finding out I kind of hate it has made it way more difficult for me to find a new one.

But no matter how hard I try to think about what I wish I could do with my life if I didn’t have to worry about paying rent, buying food or affording basic healthcare (woo-hoo, America, yeah…), I keep drawing a blank. I’m actually (money worries aside) kind of happy with my life at the moment?

Sure, it’s nothing glamorous but I get to work from home, I get to write about literally anything I want for Unwinnable here and, while my primary writing gig may be a little assembly line-y, I do sometimes get to cover genuinely interesting stuff like hydrogen on the moon and diesel submarines. I have the time and mental bandwidth to help my wife Diana with her very well established and currently still growing dream job; to pay attention to our cats; to work on my silly little YouTube channel about transforming robot toys; to do fuck-all and sit around watching other peoples’ YouTube videos.

I guess, in a way, I haven’t been able to figure out what my dream is because I’m kind of already living it. I’ve been happily married to my best friend for close to 20 years (and it keeps getting better) and I basically get to dictate my own workday however I want (within reason because I do still need to make money). But I still don’t have anything particularly grandiose or even mildly ambitious on my mind.

I’d like to be able to support my toy hobby with my Patreon, but I don’t have the desire to put in the absurd amount of work it would take to gain The Algorithm’s favor. I’d like to make more money with my writing, so I could afford to write fewer (but more refined) things, but “lol” at the idea of making a proper salary writing about anything that isn’t complaining about women in Star Wars and other such bullshit these days. And besides, I’m already making toy videos and writing so if nothing else I’m in a better position to push forward if society ever decides to give us all a fucking break.

And really, there’s no rule that says everyone has to have a big dream all the time. Maybe one will come to me later. Maybe something I’m already doing will present me with a window of opportunity. Or maybe I’ll never have another big dream again, and honestly, that’s fine too. Because the whole point (to me, at least) of dreams like this are to do what makes you happy. And if I’m already happy where I am (minus the ever-present Financial Sword of Damocles), then maybe that means I’m already kind of living it.


Rob Rich is a guy who’s loved nerdy stuff since the 80s, from videogames to anime to Godzilla to Power Rangers toys to Transformers, and has had the good fortune of being able to write about them all. He’s also editor for the Games section of Exploits! You can still find him on Twitter, Instagram and Mastodon.


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