the transformation of dreams

fallphotos-2

…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

We Bought the Tickets

Moyan Brenn © 2010 under Creative Commons
Moyan Brenn © 2010 under Creative Commons

The blue line moved like a turtle across the screen. “Almost there!” it promised, then inched another millimetre forwards. “Just about!” I squeezed my eyes shut; I couldn’t take the tension. When I opened them again, the progress bar jumped the last gap and our ticket information popped up instead.

A rush of exultation. A squeal of delight. A high-five.

We are going to Paris.

This was not a well-thought out, carefully considered plan. This was not something that we had meticulously planned for, or planned for at all. We hadn’t perused our savings, trying to determine if we could afford the trip.

We found an amazing deal on flights ($1200 roundtrip FOR BOTH OF US, including a 2 day stop in Helsinki) and we took about twelve hours to decide that this was something that we needed to do.

We can’t afford the whole trip right now, but that’s okay, because it isn’t until the fall. We can afford the plane tickets. So we bought them. We bought the tickets, and the beautiful thing is that now? We have to make it work. Even though it is a steal of a deal (my flight to Ireland a couple of years ago was more than both our flights combined), it is still not chump change, and reneging on that commitment simply isn’t an option. Instead of waiting until everything was perfect, we decided to take the plunge instead. It’s something that I’m working on: putting things into action before they are flawless.

So we are going to Paris. And even if we have to stay in a hostel (which I am not a big fan of), and live off of baguettes and cheese for ten days, I don’t care. Because we are going to the City of Love. We are going to see the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre and Montmartre and the Seine. We are going to the place where the Lost Generation lived and loved and created, a city that I have been dreaming of for most of my life.

So even though I look at my account balance and feel a bit of a twinge, I am mostly flush with anticipation. We are investing in our dreams over here. And eight months is plenty of time to squirrel away more cash to make it the best trip we can.

Have you ever taken the plunge and just bought the ticket? And, on a more practical note, if you’ve been to Paris, what do you recommend that we do, outside of the obvious?

We Bought the Tickets

When in Doubt, Listen to the Voices

edmonton-skyline-photo

There is a part of all of us that knows what we want and which direction we should go in, but most of us are too scared to listen to it. We allow other voices – doubt, fear, outside expectations – to drown it out so that we don’t have to face it. So that we don’t have to take a risk on what we really want.

My target, my watchword, for 2014 is authenticity. Doing the things that are right for me. Embracing who I am, rather than straining for who I think I should be. Listening to that little voice that knows me better than anyone else and will guide me, sure-footed, every time, if I would just let it.

None of that has been easy. But I am finding that, the more I sift through the cacophony in my head and really search for that voice, the easier it is becoming to find it.

The first time was quitting my miserable job. I let fear stand in the way for awhile, convincing myself more than once that I would be fine, putting off handing in my resignation letter, and allowing fear of others’ disappointment to deter me. But I pushed through, and it turned out great.

Recently, I was offered a promotion at work. I thought about it for a few days, going back and forth at least 10 times, before deciding to accept it. But it never sat right; I spent all of my time re-convincing myself to be excited, that it was something I should do, that it was something I wanted to do. The problem was, though, that I immediately felt like I was mourning the future I was supposed to have.

Mere days before I was made the offer, Bryan and I were in Edmonton, at Remedy, one of our favorite places. As we drank kashmiri chai and ate palak paneer wraps, we discussed how much we missed the city, how we both felt pulled to return. How Calgary was lovely but Edmonton was home. We broached the idea of moving back, sooner rather than later. I felt a spark of hope ignite.

But it was quashed when I accepted the promotion. Over and over, I told myself that it was good, that it would be a great experience, that there was no way I could turn down the opportunity. More money, responsibility, power.

For weeks, I warred with myself, denying what I truly wanted because I felt like I couldn’t want it, that it was foolish and irresponsible and people would judge me. I referred to myself as “flaky” over and over.

Then I had a long and honest talk with my mom about what I wanted, and why. And I realized that it wasn’t wrong to turn down an opportunity that didn’t feel right and it wasn’t wrong to want to return to a place that has gotten into my blood, that pulls at me with more force than I have ever experienced in all my nomadic wanderings.

There isn’t anything wrong with listening to that voice that was telling me I was making the wrong choice. It was wrong to ignore it.

So. We made the decision to move back to Edmonton. The next day, I told my boss I could no longer accept the promotion. I told a few friends and started looking at apartments. We aren’t going until October. Our wedding is in September and adding a move to that whole craziness sounded like a whole new level of insanity. So we’ll wait. But even though there are a few shitty things between now and our triumphant return – my conversation with my boss is over, thank God, but moving is always a bitch – I feel at peace. From the moment we officially decided, I’ve been so full of joy I can barely contain it. It feels right on a visceral level, like pieces falling into place.

That’s what happens when you listen to the voice. Now maybe next time it will be easier, and I can spare myself the weeks of obsession and rumination.

Old-Strathcona-Gate-Edmonton

 

When in Doubt, Listen to the Voices