the transformation of dreams

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…and it can be really hard to admit.

I have long dreamed of many things: traveling extensively; living abroad, in many different countries; being a published author; having children. Some of those dreams have stayed the same, while others have morphed and transformed. For a long time, I wanted to move to Vancouver. I thought about it all the time, often searched for apartments for rent and available jobs in my down time, and fantasized about all of the amazing things that we would do when we were finally there.

And then one day, not too long ago, I realized: Lately, I’ve been having to talk myself into wanting to move to Vancouver. 

I would forget about it for a while, and then remember, and then go, “Oh, right, Vancouver. Because the winter is milder, and, uh, the mountains! And the ocean. And, um…other stuff that they have there.” I discovered that, because I had always wanted to move to Vancouver, some part of me thought that I had to always want that. So when that part of me realized that it wasn’t really something that I wanted anymore, it tried its best to talk me back into it.

But I have realized that, sometimes, dreams change. And that is okay! If dreams didn’t change, that would mean that we were the same people that we had always been, and there are few situations in which stagnation is a good thing. Changing dreams means that we are discovering new things about ourselves, growing and changing as people, and re-evaluating our world and our wants and needs accordingly. How could that be a bad thing?

I know that it can be scary. I know that it can seem like having to let go of who you thought you were, or some idea of who you should be by now. It does mean that. Letting go of preconceived notions of who and what we should be is supremely difficult, and I do not dispute that. But embracing who you are now and how far you have come and how the things that you want out of life have changed because of that is very empowering, and I gently suggest that you try it, if you haven’t already.

I no longer want desperately to move to Vancouver, but I am not opposed to the idea if the opportunity arises.

I no longer want to live abroad in Australia, but I am absolutely down for a visit that lasts a month or two.

I no longer dream of a big house full of stuff, but am happily fantasizing about the tiny house that we are going to build.

I no longer want six children, but am very excited for the two we will eventually have.

Throughout our lives, our experiences change us. That is a good thing. It stands to reason, then, that our dreams changing is a good thing, too.

What dreams have you let go of because they no longer serve you?

the transformation of dreams

Who Am I?

Standing in the kitchen the other morning, unloading the dishwasher, I started to cry. Unexpected. And. Uncomplicated. I cried with the overwhelming knowledge that I love my life, that I have never fully appreciated it, and that I have never felt so happy and at home and complete, ever before in my life, the way that I do these days. I am used to struggling against the edges of my existence, desperately stretching to scratch an itch I can’t quite reach, rubbing up against anything and everything in an attempt to alleviate the aggravation.

But here, in Calgary, in this apartment with the killer view of downtown, where I wake up next to the love my life at the ungodly hour of 5:45 AM every day to go to a job that I love with a fierce joy, I have discovered a home and a belonging that I didn’t know I was capable of.

It’s not perfect. Nothing ever is. But it fits me like a glove.

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Who. Am. I.

What makes up “me”? What do I believe in? What do I value?

I believe in helping those in need, in the best way that I know how: I know that I am lucky, and I believe with my whole heart that it is my responsibility to share that with others. Volunteering is critically important, and one relationship, one person, can change someone’s life forever. I want to be a force for good.

I often feel like a victim, though, like life and other people are messing me around on purpose, like I’m being buffeted by a cruel power that just likes to watch me suffer. How often have I found myself under the covers in bed, drowning in a depressive episode, moaning that it’s not fair, why do I have to be this way? How often do I get annoyed with people when I am not heard, though I do not try again? How often do I swear at people on the road, when I could just let it go?

I need to embrace my personal power more. Look what happens when I do: I end up crying in my kitchen out of pure joy. Two months ago, that was unthinkable. Two months ago, I was crying every day out of pure misery. I changed it. I made it different. We always have the power to choose. I can choose to take things into my own hands, or I can choose to languish. I can choose to get angry or I can choose to let it go. I don’t believe that gratitude is enough in and of itself to change a bad situation into a good one, but it sure as hell sets us on the right path. How are you supposed to embrace new opportunities when you’re entirely focused on how stuck you are?

I worry often that I am simply restless, that I have a restless soul and will forever be trying to find something else. Something other. But when I sit with myself in the quiet and listen to the thrum of my heartbeat, I understand a few things. I know that that restlessness does not come from the core of me, but from looking around at what others have and feeling envious, of thinking that I need to live up to other people’s expectations, that I need to live like someone else that I admire and look up to. I know that what I have is more than enough. That it doesn’t matter if I never see the world or achieve cult writer status. As long as I have love, as long as I have some reason to wake up in the morning, I will always be just fine.

I am ruled often by fear. We are not friends, but master and slave. Like most, I fight a constant battle for my freedom with fear. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I lose. But I truly believe that one of the most important things I can do to live a full life is to constantly push up against the boundaries of what I can do, to test myself, to push back against the fear and see what happens.

I am afraid of being a writer, so many days I avoid my desk completely.

I am afraid of rejection, so I hold myself back from people, protect my vulnerability, nurse my envy instead of my love. I don’t reach out to them if they don’t reach out to me.

I am afraid of being wrong, of not being the smartest person in the room, and so I get angry very quickly, I cut people down and treat them with disdain instead of meeting them with open, reasoned discussion. I act as though anyone who doesn’t agree with me is an idiot.

I want to be more open, more kind, more full of wonder. I want to be less angry and afraid.

I value love, friendship, vulnerability, creativity, compassion, and adventure. I will cultivate these things in my every day life more, pulling away from the negative things that are holding me back.

I will ask the girl at work to go on a coffee date.

I will work on listening more to others’ opinions with an open heart.

I will learn to let things go and be kinder, in thought, word, and deed.

I will lean into my fears. I will not let them control me.

I will do things that I’ve never done. I will take a new way home. I will bring little bits of adventure into my day to day life: a new workout, a new spice, a new, homemade shampoo.

I will lean into who I am, and what I value, and I will be better for it.

Now. Who are you?

Who Am I?