It's very easy to say a vague dream out loud. To say " I want to be....."
I want to be an established writer by the time I am 40 years old.
"Ok, so what does that mean, LeNora? "
I am currently staying in a stunningly beautiful village surrounded by mountains and lakes and historic buildings. I'm spending my days driving and taking photos. I'm writing, I'm eating locally sourced food, I'm basking in my ultimate alone time.
All with the feeling of slight discontentment.
I don't have anything to preoccupy me. No illness, no demanding offspring with busy schedules or needs. No spouse to nag, no work schedule.
Just my ambition, to be a famous writer of some sort. As I said to a friend recently- I'm not living the dream, I'm working on a dream so that I can live the dream.
What exactly is the dream, for me? Last night, I sat in my adorable Victorian style decorated suite with its chandelier lighting and mountain views. I contemplated my situation. I road trip and write in pretty surroundings. It's awesome for me but not the dream.
I have enough money to pay my bills while I am developing my writing voice. I've had many months to travel and figure out how I'd like to spend the next few years. Hopefully, I get to hibernate in my lovely townhouse in the city during the winter this year. Damn Canadian winters.
I've had the experience of being a "starving artist" in my 20's and never want to do that again. I don't believe I need to suffer for my art. I am artistic but can function very well in the real world.
And so I cannot go around saying " I want to be an...."
I prefer to go around showing. Actions speak louder than words.
To maintain my independence. I chose the childfree lifestyle, I don't play Russian Roulette with birth control or sexual partners. I control what I can control. I handle my money carefully, enjoying it but keeping an eye on the decades of spending to come.
To explore all of my opportunities to create written work that matters to some people. This includes all of the reading and researching and late nights of writing and networking and submitting and self-publishing and marketing and writing for free and writing for pay and the thousands of little things I'm learning to do.
To enjoy my day to day life. Whether I'm writing, working a 10-3 job, hanging with my friends or family, shopping or at a movie, road tripping, sleeping in or composing music. I'm not interested in running a chaotic household, therefore I don't. Some days, Netflix and my couch are all I want.
10 years from now, I look back at my writing and go 'OK, cool. I did that. Now I'm doing this.... (insert future activity)
Look, a squirrel.
There is also the anti dream. It is equally important to state what I don't want.
Debt. Had it, don't miss it. If it comes down to a designer purse or paying my rent.. I pay my rent. Travelling is fun and important but having money for the future is also important.
Doing something that society says will enhance my life beyond all measure and discovering that it's a lie and not for me and suddenly I am morally and legally responsible for the next 18 years. Again, I don't play Russian Roulette. And if something should happen, Canada is a great country for being pro-choice.
To not use my voice for what matters to me. To give up when it's hard or when I don't feel like continuing. Just when I think it doesn't matter, something happens to show me otherwise.
To have so many commitments and responsibilities and ailments plaguing me that I have plenty of excuses for why I cannot fulfill my true dreams.
I know enough people who say they want to do things but have plenty of valid excuses why they don't. I know enough people who say they have exactly what they want-but had no clue the amount of responsibility and are now trying to keep their heads above water, so to speak.
I accomplished my dream of being a music teacher. And then I wanted to move on. Fortunately, I wasn't responsible for my students for 18 years.
Independence. Is a wonderful thing. As is clarity. When I know what I want and why I want it, I make more appropriate choices. When I feel overwhelmed with marketing my writing or even working on an article, I reread my desired end result. Then an idea comes, and it leads to a more clear path.
So if you want something, quit being vague about it. Figure out what it is that you want and why you want it, then go do the work to get it.
And once you get it, enjoy it or not. Sometimes it's not as good as you thought it would be, sometimes it's better.
As long as it's truly what you want.
Have a lovely day,
Almost an Author
Former Fantastic Violinist