This post is for anyone who has ever had a dream. The passionate ones. Creative ones. Visionaries. Artists. Storytellers. Meaning makers. Lost ones looking for the way back to something they feel but can’t see.
I was cleaning out my closet this past weekend and it got me thinking about dreams. Those big, hairy, audacious ideas for something you love to do but don’t. It’s scary to put your dream out there, let alone go for it. A dream is a tiny flicker of a flame and there are dream crushers everywhere. One wrong look or word and poof!
But the dream keeps tugging at your sleeve: Listen! Pay attention to this! This is good stuff! Let’s see what we can make happen here!
It’s soooo easy to defer your dream. If you follow me, you know my story. I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I was five years old. Two degrees, a professional writing career and 43 years later, I’m just now getting back to making space for my dream of being an author. There. I said it.
< insert terrified look here >
It’s one thing to say you want to do or be something. It’s quite another to make the commitment despite the doubts, insecurity and gigantic hairball of fear that tells you oh no, you can’t do THAT. That’s not going to put food on the table, pay for goalie gloves and new brakes for the truck. You’re not good enough. Who do you think you are, thinking you can do THAT??? And then there’s life. That thing that happens when you’re busy making other plans.
Ever since my divorce in 2014, I’ve thought about getting another tattoo. But I couldn’t think of anything that really “nailed” what I wanted to convey permanently in art on my skin. Something I could look at every day and say – Yes. That.
Maybe I’m over thinking it. One of my strengths is that I’m good at thinking things through, but the flip side is I think too much. 🙂 But as I approach another birthday, I find myself pensive, as usual. Taking stock, looking back, peeking forward.
And then my friend Joe posed a link to this article/love letter/online dating profile for her husband by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, a writer and fellow Chicagoan I adore: You Might Want to Marry My Husband. (Special thanks to my friend Susan for recommending her to me years ago.) I remember reading her witty books when my kids were babies and was heartbroken to learn of her illness. I am in awe of her grace, humility, prose, and beauty. Her strength, even in the midst of a dark time, is touching beyond any words I could muster.
In the last three years, I’ve experienced tremendous change. Divorce. A special needs child finally properly diagnosed after 15 years of struggle. I lost my home. Money. A few friends. My job. At one point, I felt like I lost me. Other times, I lost hope that things could ever be right again. I made mistakes. I tried to make amends. There are still days where I feel like Charlie Brown when the football gets taken away at the last minute and I fall flat on my face.
Some days I still think the universe is punking me. 🙂
Anyone who has ever been stuck in a bad relationship – whether it’s a marriage, a job, dysfunctional family, toxic friends – you know how crappy it feels. There are a million articles out there about how to identify these situations, seven signs of “fill in the blank.” I know. I read everything I can get my hands on. 🙂 And you can get lost in the why. Why did this happen to me? Why did ‘fill in the name” do this to me? Why did my brother die? Why does my child have a disability? Why am I stuck? Why am I here?
This is an important part of the recovery process, don’t get me wrong. But often, we can stuck there, trying to process the why. We can stop there, filling in answers that don’t really help us move forward differently. I believe the only way to move forward and make real, lasting changes in your life starts with asking different questions.
Hi, my name is Christy and I am a recovering control freak. I belong to a secret society of people for which there are no meet up groups.
You know who you are.
You joke about being a control freak as you are wiping down someone else’s counter top or their child’s grubby, sticky-peanut butter/apple-juice stained face. You’re the guy who re-packs the trunk before vacation to make sure everything ‘fits.’ You iron everything. even things that are supposed to look crinkly (does anyone even own an iron anymore?). You put 20 chicken nuggets on the pan spaced exactly one-half inch apart so that they look like a regimented army of nuggets ready to march into the oven. When called out, you get defensive and claim you just want them to cook evenly. You bitch that no one helps you with the laundry but then bitterly complain because “no one knows how to fold towels anymore” as you refold them all the right way.
There is nothing wrong with order and organization, don’t get me wrong. I am a firm believer in process and structure. The world is chaotic enough and there is nothing worse than coming home to a chaotic life. And there is a certain comfort in routine in our chaotic lives. But take it too far and your life becomes out of balance, more about control than living. And I am the first one to let loose and I say I love spontaneity – but it’s usually few and far between the day-to-day grind. Reality smacked me in the face when I was moving a few years back and the movers teased me about the stacks and stacks of organizing bins, baskets, bowls, Tupperware boxes and racks that I had lined neatly up in rows for them to load into the truck. Ha, funny guys. So what if I organized my spices (in alpha order), my clothes in the closet by color, season.
I have a confession to make: I’ve never taken bikes seriously. They were always more of a vehicle for getting around when I didn’t feel like driving, didn’t have a car, or just wanted to take a leisurely day off from running and take in the scenery. I rode my bike to the gym to go running on the treadmill.
Then a friend convinced me to try a ‘fun’ bike club. I thought, why not? After years of being a runner, I am ready for a new sport. After much coaxing and cajoling (“It’s for fun! You’ll be fine…we all ride 50, 100 miles on other rides, but THIS club is for fun!! Come on, just try it! “), I showed up one recent Monday night in my yoga pants and tank top, my water bottles in my son’s drawstring pack on my back. I was on my ancient mountain bike with the broken gears that I had used since my kids were…very little (they are teens now).