Dream Killers (and how to stop them)

 

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image from pixabay.com

Okay, so as soon as you read this post, I want you to RUN, and I mean RUN, not walk, over to my friend Becky’s blog, Interstellar Orchard.  She is an amazing writer, (and person too!), and she recently wrote a post on What Kills Dreams.  As I read it, I was nodding my head like yep, yep, yep, and yep!! All so true!  Becky is a wonderful example of what determination and guts and practical planning can combine to create – a life whereby she lives the way she wants to, the hell with what everyone else thinks!

The thing that I hear the most from people is about fear.  When I first shared my dream with folks about leaving my librarian job at Harvard, it was a lot of their own fears projected onto me in the form of their worrying about me and whether I could make it.  Would it be too big of a change?  Could I handle it financially?  Why would I want to leave something so stable?  Something so high paying and that I went to school for, for MANY years and spent so much money on?? (Yeah, I’ll be real and admit that that last part still weighs on me some days, more than I’d like.)

Another fear I had (and still have, although to a lesser extent) is the fear of isolation when taking such a big step away from a life that you have taken years to cultivate.  It was actually this fear of mine that prompted this video by my good friend Dan of the Wander Dano channel on YouTube:

Ramble: Don’t Buy into the Fear of Isolation

I admit to still thinking of wanting to do the nomadic life like he does for part of each year, but part of what keeps me from doing it is the fear of isolation or loneliness.  Even though I’m usually an outgoing person, to still always be on your own, without a set of good friends physically close by, always at the ready to catch you and lift you up, it can still seem a bit scary to me.

One thing I heard a lot from my mom while growing up was “you can do anything you put your mind to.”  From my grandmother, I would hear my name repeated, “Terri, Terri, Terri….. don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.  One step at a time. ”  Meaning:  CALM DOWN and BREATHE.   (I had a tendency back then to sometimes take a small problem and get myself all worked up.)  These days, when I can see myself starting to act that way, I try to ask myself if it would be a problem I would be concerned with a year into the future.  More often than not, the answer is “no.”

I am very grateful today to have had two women in my life that were strong and showed me that I could be the same.   Neither ever felt like they were successful, but they were good at raising grandchildren and children. None of us ended up on drugs or addicted to alcohol and I think we’re contributing members of society in one way or another.  My brother with his music and innate running and coaching abilities, my sister with her abilities to educate kids and overall be a great mom, and me, well, I guess with my love of animals and the ones whose lives I have saved either by adopting them myself, or helping them to get adopted.

I used to be so afraid of what others thought of me.  I really did.  Then I grew up.  (I just wish it had happened before I hit my mid-30s.)  I used to always think everyone was smarter than me (a lot of people still are, but I don’t take what everyone else tries to tell me as the gospel truth to which I should always adhere, and I try to keep my own mind’s opinion on things, while still realizing there is stuff out there for me to learn.

Realize that if you chase your dreams, you ARE going to make mistakes.  You WILL.  But it’s how you react to them and learn from them that is important.  Looking back, I see lots of mistakes I’ve even made over the past two years, whether it be through dating, or choosing to live in an RV thinking it would be long term, and only lasting for 8 months, or thinking living in a small town would be the antidote to the stresses of big city life for so many years. I made mistakes by moving into an apartment in AZ that was too expensive for me to sustain, which kept me locked into a position at work that I didn’t feel suited for, but the salary was enough to keep me going.

Realize (and I know this is a cliche, but it’s very true) that it really IS the JOURNEY and not always the destination that matters.  When I first thought of moving out of Boston, I was so focused on the WHERE (ask my long-suffering friend Dan — he’ll start bobbing his head up and down like crazy.)  Having now lived in three towns/cities in 2 years, and in 6 locations over that short period of time (if you include the trailer park in Kanab, the employee campground at Lake Powell, the two studios in Greenehaven, the studio I moved to in ABQ, and the house/apartment I find myself in now in ABQ), I can now say that the location isn’t as important as I thought it once was.  Granted, location is somewhat important as it can determine the type of climate you live in.  I now think it’s a combination of what you are doing with your life in that location.   I may not be solving world peace every day here in ABQ, but I like to think I am enriching the lives of at least a few others I come into contact with every day.

And maybe, just maybe, I’m inspiring a few others to make small, incremental changes every day in order to help them chase their dreams.   Even if it’s just inspiring someone to write their dreams down on paper.  Or to go volunteer at an animal shelter one day, or to walk some dogs that desperately need the attention.  Or to wake up that little bit earlier every morning to get up and do a workout or go for a run. Or to just pull out their computer and do a little bit of research every day into other locations, or jobs that could make them feel happier with their life.

 

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A scene from the Bosque, one of my favorite places to go for a run!

 

If you’re feeling “stuck” in the life you currently lead (as I hear from a lot of people), then just try one thing, one small thing, every day.  Nothing is worse than feeling stuck in your life but not doing anything to change it.

For me, what kept (and still does keep) my dreams alive is when I get out of my head and write them down.  Seeing them in black and white, on real paper, or writing here on this blog.  It’s a practice of admitting things, putting them out there in the universe, for just yourself (or in my case, a few others), to see.

And again, as I said, check out Becky’s blog post on what kills dreams.  She decided her life in Wisconsin and then South Carolina wasn’t exactly right, so she set out to change that.  She bought a Casita and a truck to pull it with, and then she traveled and did seasonal work.  Now, she’s a writer, and only does seasonal work for part of the year.  The rest of her time, she’s inspiring others to live their lives the way THEY want to, not by the way that conventional society would probably prefer.

What kind of dreams do you have?  What keeps you from fulfilling them?  What little action could you take today to move one step  closer to chasing them? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

As always, thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

(re)discovering myself

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Bonkers and Osito, hanging out next to me at the dinette – the love I feel for them is just overpowering sometimes. They truly are my kids.

You may have noticed that I sometimes post a lot more than at other times. Sometimes a blog post feels like it’s forcing its way outside of me, and other times, it feels like it can take forever to get one completed. It’s those ones that I sometimes even wonder “is it worth it to hit the Publish button?” So yes, my writing can go in spurts, both on the blog and otherwise.

My very wise friend, Dan, said to me last week that life can sometimes be like working on a puzzle. You can be going along, really well, finding one piece after another that fits in, and then all of a sudden, you can hit a point where nothing happens. Or you question why you are doing something, and get really frustrated when you can’t find that next piece. You might have little sections of the puzzle done, but the whole thing just isn’t falling into place. He’s always coming up with good sayings and then thinks to himself, “I should write this down” so this time, I’ve done it for him. (In fact, I told him that day, I just might have to use his analogy.) So there you go, Dan, your words are in print. 

At the time of our conversation, I was feeling quite down after having returned home from a trip to Vegas. Just a quick trip, but it made me feel alive again – there were lots of people there! And a CVS and a Walgreens! (And yes, I thought it was pretty sad that seeing those two stores made me feel like I was in *city life* again.)  Anyway, I digress.

I’d like to share a video with you of one of my favorite youtube channels. Brittany is a nomad and a minimalist (much more so than I could ever be, as sometimes she lives out of a backpack), but this was one of her more raw type of videos and it just really spoke to me, especially as I contemplate making more changes in my life.

My friend Dan is very wise, especially as we have only met in person once and that was during my cross-country road trip when me and all of my furballs crashed his place for two nights. He told me he thinks I’m basically two people.  And he is so right.

There is a part of me that really wants to get out and see things and experience new things and places. A part of me that constantly needs to be working toward something, a new goal, or a new plan. It’s what gets me up and keeps me feeling “up” when otherwise I might feel down or feel like I’m just treading water in place. And then there is this other part of me that needs to feel structure or feel *safe* and feel like there is enough money to do things. The part that worries about not being able to take care of my furballs or that if I do make a choice and it doesn’t work out, then I’ve screwed myself financially.

I take contentment in so many things – seeing my furballs all hanging out on the bed in my RV with the space heater blasting away, knowing they all feel comfortable enough to snooze. Dressing my little Osito in her sweater for the day when she first wakes up, so that in case the temps fall in the RV while I am at work, she can still stay warm and snuggly.

But then, there is this part of me that thinks, “there is still a lot out there for me to see and learn, and do.” It’s not FOMO (fear of missing out) but a curiosity, I think. The two are different. That’s the part of me that listens to this video of a popular RVer blogger, Becky Schade, (from Interstellar Orchard) when she was interviewed a couple years ago, and draws so much inspiration from it. She’s younger than me and wise beyond her years, and yes, I may have shared it before, but in my mind, it bears re-sharing again.

This *safe* part of me is the one that was so scared to make this last big change in my life. It’s the part that listened to all the concerns of others and let those concerns creep into my own mind. That’s the part that misses the fact that last year I had off between Christmas and New Year’s, and made so much more money. That’s the part that still occasionally asks “what the HELL are you doing, living on so little, being so far from home, having to work on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day?!” That’s the part that doesn’t even feel like it’s the holidays time of year since I’ve done no shopping at all (just sending money to the nieces and nephews, and even those amounts are pitifully small but they are all I can handle right now.) That’s the part that looks back and says (along with so many who hear my story), you left HARVARD LAW to come and scoop poop?

And yes, that is the first time I’ve mentioned publicly on this blog where I used to work. Some of you already knew that, but I’ve now taken a big breath and decided to put it out there. I know all the images the big red H conjurs up with every mention of its name. I know. But I don’t regret leaving. And no, the place was not perfect. Far from it. And no, I didn’t go to school there either (that’s a usual question I get asked.) In fact, I got rejected from there pretty instantaneously upon having applied. So I always found it a bit ironic that I was then deemed good enough to teach their students how to find things. But I digress, and I’m going to jump off of that soapbox now before I start to aggravate myself.

So, now, I’ve gone ahead and made such a big change, and while I feel a bit disappointed in that it doesn’t seem to be THE place for me to be in this world, I do know that I CAN do something a lot of people are afraid to do. A lot of people are afraid to step outside of what is the *normal* or *expected* way of life. But now I’m wondering, where exactly should I be right now, and what should I be doing? It’s that part of me that envies those I know in my life who are willing to jump in and do something adventurous. The part that looks to what my younger brother did when he would make these huge life changes, and the part that sees what my brother and sister in law are doing with traveling the world (and you can read about it by reading their blog, It’s Not a Slow Car, It’s a Fast HouseAnd  yet, even then that fearful, compare-yourself-to-others voice makes itself be heard – “but they know so much more about cars, which you don’t….”

As my friend Dan has recognized in me, I am desperately trying to find my place in this world. And as he always reminds me, I need to take a breath. It will eventually come to me, or happen.

So, in Brittany’s words – “what is it that you think you can’t do? What would be too good to be true?” Please drop me a line below and share your thoughts.  For me, right now, I think it’s to workamp starting next summer, and to always be in a place that is warm and doesn’t get snow. So it would entail moving with the seasons (or to someplace like southern California) and to do that, I need a different camper. And believe me, I go back and forth in my mind over those scenarios over and over and over again, as to which is better for me to do. Over and over, ad nauseum.

I hope you will all have a great holiday week and stay safe if you are traveling somewhere.  And as always, thanks for reading.

P.S. Yes, this is one of those posts that required me to inhale and take a VERY deep breath before hitting that Publish button. Also one that needed to be written.

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