HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!
Back before Christmas I discussed dreams, the kind we have while asleep. Today is the start of a new year and it might be a good time to look at another type of dream--the dreams of ambitions, hopes, desires, and the things that have fueled us in the past and fire us up now. Specifically I want to look at the mystery of lost dreams and the new hope of dreams to come.
Can you remember your childhood dreams? What you wanted to be when you grew up? If you're like me you probably went through stages. There were fanciful fantasies of childhood based on movies and television and the desire to emulate adults whom we admired. Then as we grew older we may have started shaping those original fantasies into future realities or diverged onto different pursuits. Perhaps high school influenced us, or college changed us, or some job we took made us formulate new goals. There were bills, spouses, houses, and families. We may have had many dreams that changed many times.
In middle school, one of my teachers, Mr. Dinsmore, gave us an assignment. We were to come up with five dreams, that is, five possible career choices that we would like to pursue in the future. My five choices in descending order were professional entertainer, professional musician, writer, photographer, and teacher. Throughout high school these stayed prominent for me, but as college approached I added psychologist to the list.
When I enrolled at the University of Tennessee in 1969 my major was my new dream of Psychology. After a couple of years I became disillusioned with psychology and switched to English with the intent of going into teaching. This was a time when I began writing fervantly and submitting works to publications with constant rejection.
Eventually, as I was nearing my graduation, I dropped out of college and just lingered for a period. It was during this time I met up with a magician who had a touring show. He made me an offer and soon I was on the road working as a professional entertainer-- number one goal achieved. After a couple of years of this, I had gotten married. When my wife became pregnant we quit the road and settled in Richmond, VA. Here I was networked with somebody who needed a fiddle player for a dinner theater production of the musical "The Robber Bridegroom". Next thing I know, I'm a member of the musician's union and working as a professional musician--dream number two achieved.
Later, there was another decade on the road with touring shows, where I was the manager, a position that I liked a great deal. Then another eighteen years managing a warehouse-- not a huge dream, but being the guy in charge was still definitely to my liking. And now here I am writing. Prior to the middle school project and throughout high school, college, and all the rest, writing was my truest passion. Now I am again working at the writing dream and hoping to make a living at it.
There's a connection in this history of events. First the initial dream was stirred. If one is thinking of a dream and networking in the right channels, achieving the dream to some extent is almost a given. I may have never achieved stardom or big bucks, but I made a living and was satisfied and to me that is achieving a dream successfully.
Yet I have known and heard about so many people who dreamed and nothing happened. Why? Was the passion not strong enough? Or perhaps they just never made the right contacts. Writing, like show business, is a dreamer's game. But to achieve, first you have to do it. You cannot reach your dream if you don't try. Then, if you are trying it becomes a matter of attitude, persistence, confidence, and meeting people in the field you are pursuing.
Still, there are the sad stories of the people that had what it takes, who tried, and never made it. Or perhaps they just didn't make it to the level they dreamed and saw themselves as failures. The aspirations of the artist, the creative person, and the dreamer are different than the person who just wants to earn a paycheck, pay their bills, and maybe take the family on a vacation every year. There is often more frustration and self-doubt involved. Failure is a mystery. Or is it?
How have your dreams changed in your life? Or did they change? What do others think about your dreams and about the milestones you consider successes? In what dreams did you fall short in the past year? What are your dreams for 2010 and how are you going to achieve them?