Just telling me is never enough. I need to see it up close. In action. At rest. I need to gently hold it in the palm of my hand, hold it up to my face and poke it and prod it and stare at it up close to figure out how it all works.
For the past week I've been on a saving money kick. The first casualty was my $5.25/day habit by the name of "Starbucks". I did this once before right after Michael and I got married. Think of all the money you will save if you quit- I thought. So I quit. A month or two went by I thought- Hmmmmm. Where did all my money go? I don't see any money piles lying around. So I decided to create a money saving experiment to see how much money I could save from stopping unnecessary spending. This is no small feat because I am amazing at overspending- and for the most part everything is unnecessary. I started to go to 7-11 for coffee because it was only a dollar instead of $5. Each time I did that I transferred $4 from my spending account into my savings. Slowly, my savings balance started to grow. That made me so happy, so I started to think of more ways I could save. Every time I saved (make dinner instead of our usual take out, use a coupon when I usually didn't, do my own nails instead of getting a mani/pedi) I transferred that dollar amount into my savings. The money started to accumulate faster. Then I changed cell phone rate plan and dropped to a lower package with cable TV. I started to open my mind to more ways of money saving. We started to sell things we didn't need on ebay (like an Austin Powers bobble head. I'm so sorry you missed it). The money was piling up. Finally after about 9 months in I had over $3,000 saved- just from the simple idea of no longer getting Starbucks. I took that $3,000 and invested it into the stock market and after a couple of years I turned it into $10,000. Yes, I am absolutely serious.
There was no single thing that accounted for all that money saving. It was every single tiny action combined. It's seeing things like that in action that reminds me that it truly takes only one person to change the world. Each tiny little thing we do contributes to a bigger and worthier cause. Sometimes it feels so impossible to see that and feel it and hold it in our impatient, immediate gratification little hands- but you just have to trust it's happening. Because it is.
As a teenager we have a dream for our future. For me I wanted to college. And then I wanted to graduate and get a job that fulfilled me and made me happy. I got a job in event and entertainment marketing and my job was demanding and creative and incredible. A dream job really- minus the crappy pay. I traveled and met celebrities. I went to the MTV movie awards and parties I only dreamed about in college.I stayed in five star hotels and ate at award winning restaurants. I loved it, but slowly my dream changed. I wanted to settle down. Travel less. Meet a boy and fall madly in love. And so I did. And then I wanted to be married.
And so I was. But not that easy of course. There were so many frogs in between. Next up- I wanted babies! I wanted to work and be married and have a million babies.
So I did. God blessed us with two perfect little boys. Those were all my dreams. All of them came true and some of them changed along the way. Get a job, get married, have children- our lives are paved with ready-made dreams for us.
And now I stand at an in between time in life wondering- What's next? I need more dreams to dream! And there are many of us feeling a melancholy ache, wondering and waiting for the next sign to come. Feeling like there is something more in our life that we need. Something that we are missing. Yes, I adore being a parent, and my children are my whole entire heart. But I need things that are only for me.
We are wondering- When is the next dream we are supposed to dream going to show up? Because it just isn't coming. I'll tell you why it hasn't showed up yet- now it's up to us to create it. And that's hard to do because we've shoved that little kid dreamer down deep inside. Our childhood was a time when we felt the freedom to dream little dreams every single day- I WANT A PONY! I'm going to be a ballerina! I changed my mind. Today I'm going to be a doctor! When I grow up I'm going to be the color blue. You see little kids aren't afraid to dream. They aren't afraid to say them out loud in fear they won't come true. They don't think they will look stupid if it doesn't happen. They don't care if their dream sounds dumb or doesn't make sense to you. They don't worry and obsess over if it will come true or not. They just dream. They dream little dreams every single day.
And some of us have gotten stuck in between dreams. Maybe we haven't met the one and settled down. Maybe we haven't found our dream job. Maybe our dreams don't fit the dream trajectory society says we are supposed to take. Are we just supposed to focus only on what we haven't found yet and stop all the other dreams? What do we do when we don't know what to dream?
And you may tell me- Chrissy. I don't even know what my dreams are. In fact- I'm afraid I don't have any. I think that part of me is missing. In the words of Ron Pratt (my Dad) I say- "That's bunk." I don't know exactly what it means but it's something the along the lines of- that isn't true. You were designed to dream. Somewhere along the ride- life just got in the way.
Here's a quote from the movie, Bagger Vance. He's a caddy but he is talking about something much more than golf here. "Inside each and every one of us is one true authentic swing. Somethin' we was born with. Somethin' that's ours and ours alone. Somethin' that can't be taught to ya or learned. Somethin' that got to be remembered. Over time the world can rob us of our swing. It get buried inside us under all our wouldas and couldas and shouldas...some folks even forget what their swing was like."
I'm telling you now it's time to bring back alive that little voice inside. The one that let's you dream. The one that is excited about the future. The one that says anything is possible. You may have to start small and short term. What can you do this week out of your comfort zone? How can you stop that mean voice inside that lies and tells you it's not okay to dream? What kind of connections can you make with people on the sidelines in your life? What kind of class might you be interested in taking? Be kind with yourself. Be extremely patient. Tell people you love that you are working on finding your dreams- ask them for help. Don't be afraid to change your mind, look stupid or fail. Instead, BE EXCITED to do all of that. It means you are already on your way to dreaming.
I urge you, go ahead and dream little dreams every single day. Your dreams are waiting.