Dare to seize the. . .disaster?

This is the thing: all those motivational quotes? Over Pinterest and Facebook and what have you? They like to pretend that life has no consequences, and that there will be no waking up tomorrow morning to deal with the aftermath.

Be Fearless! they say. Well, you know what? Most people aren’t afraid for no good reason. Most people are afraid because of the consequences. Most people are afraid because doing stupid things results in messed up situations.

Live With No Regrets! Do What You Really Want!! Yes, honey, I would love to do what I really want. That requires hiring a full-time gardener and cook/housecleaner. Until you can tell me how that’s feasible, I still really can’t do what I want. Do people really not understand that? Things come with a price. Who says you can really pay them? We’re finite beings.

We’re afraid of touching hot stoves, because, guess what? It HURTS to touch hot stoves!! DUH!!! And then they say, Do things that will hurt you! You Coward!

I think the reason why it makes me so very frustrated is because I want those pithy little sayings to be true. I want to be all, “I got this crap!” But, um, yeah. . .NO. I do not have this crap. And I’m not enough of a mental patient (yet) to pretend I do.

I think I’m a pretty seize-the-day kinda person. I do things that I’ve always wanted to do, even without making a bucket list and posting it on Facebook. I’ve tackled some scary things. . .learning to swim. Singing, even in front of other people. The stuff of phobias.

Do I have dreams?


I’m going to marry a celloist, and drive around the nation with our 5 kids and a pop-up camper. I’m going to be a modern day gypsy, and we’re going to sell homemade ice cream on the side of the road. That’s just in the summers. In the winter, we’re going to third-world countries, where we’ll love people and work with them, and be part of the rising of of countries instead of their crumbling decline.

In case you did not notice, the first important part of this plan is “Marry a celloist.” And, if you try hard to think of all the celloists you’ve ever known (not very many, I’m sure), you’re probably realizing that most of them wouldn’t be up for the rest of that paragraph. Even if I somehow managed to find a celloist who’s on the same page as me, I’m still kind of stumped: just how, exactly, are we supposed to fund ourselves, our five children, and the third world nations on road-side homemade ice cream?

That would sure as heck be life with no regrets, but nuts-and-bolts, people–how does it happen? Sure–I have a long list of things that I would do if money were no option, if having fun didn’t mean paying the consequences of not being responsible, if I had the power to do the things that I wanted to do. I’m never going to be the lithe, gymnast-mountain-climbing-ninja-girl who sings like an angel. On my bucket list? Yes. Feasible? Don’t be stupid. We’re talking about needing to alter my basic physiology that I was born with. Puberty did it’s own thing on top of that, but “lithe” never entered the equation anywhere along the way.

I get that some people need motivation. I get that it’s easier to come up with excuses than with solutions. But some of us want to live our dreams, and we’re desperate to find a way–a way that doesn’t involve “sell your soul to the devil” or “change your dreams.” I’m trying to live an exuberant life, but who pays the bills? Because exuberance comes with a price.

This isn’t really a rant, because I really want an answer. People say if you really want something, you’ll make a way. That’s not true. Some things aren’t up to you, like whether or not you get accepted into a certain school, get a job that you want. . .whether or not your car gets wrecked or your dog dies.

People say to dare to take what you really want. . .but if taking what I want now (the school I want) saddles me with so much debt I can’t have any of the other things I want later on. . .did I really win?

Dreams, or Lack Thereof

I was talking with my aunt about difficulties sleeping, and I told her the honest truth: I didn’t know what was keeping me awake.

Then I told her about being scared about applying for grad school, and feeling irresponsible and adrift for quitting my job; I told her about the people I left behind, and about my chemistry teacher who lost her daughter and how we’d talked about my grandpa dying; I talked about finding out one of my former classmates had died, and how I felt like I had no control and was always behind and never caught up; I talked about my laptop dying, and not know how I would pay for school, and just plain old needing help with schoolwork; I don’t even know what all I talked about, but when I was done, she gave me a look and said,

“I can think of 10 different reasons why you can’t sleep, just from what you said.”



It would seem to me that if I’m not in any immediate danger, and all my basic needs of food and shelter are being met, and I am exhausted, then I should be able to sleep. I’m not preservating on any one thing; I am, as my aunt noted, “all over the place.” That, apparently, is part of the problem.

But there is a lot I didn’t tell her, too.

I didn’t tell her about how badly I’d like to start a family of my own.

I didn’t tell her about how my imagination is always caught by the idea of traveling the nation in a pop-up camper like a modern day gypsy.

I didn’t tell her about how I know that there will always be need, but what I want is to go where the need is greatest.

I didn’t tell her about how I didn’t want a just-so life, neat and square.

I didn’t tell her about wanting to be a published author–not for the fame of it, but just to know that what I wrote resonated across human souls.

I didn’t tell her my dreams, and I didn’t tell her how hard it can sometimes feel to hold a world full of wonder inside of you while you dutifully plod along. One foot in front of the other, one assignment after the next. Insisting to yourself that you are going somewhere, but doing it so slowly you’re not quite sure if you really are moving at all, or will ever arrive anywhere.

I keep waiting for permission to just have fun.

I don’t mean, “have fun “drunk-on-somebody’s couch” have fun. I mean, “letting-the-dreams-come-out-of-you” have fun. It’s still work; but it’s so much more full of life–not a reflection of duty, but a reflection of the self you were created to be.

Am I supposed to settle for less than that? Accept that dreams are dreams for a reason–they don’t find their way to waking hours? And if I’m not supposed to settle for less than that visions imbedded in my mind, how do I exchange one for the other? A person still needs to eat, and eating needs money, and money needs a job, and once you’re in a job, how do you dream? And what do you do with the fear and the mourning that your dreams may never be more than dreams?