Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Own Dreams

For most of us, dreams come true only after they do not matter, Only in childhood do we ever have the chance of making dreams come true when they mean everything.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I'm going to work on trying new things, and being strong enough to enjoy the experience - whether I fail, excel, or pass by with mediocracy.  When I was a child I wanted to do so much; my plans for all I would do could fill ten lifetimes.  I would win that gold medal at the Olympics.  Every abandoned boy would come to live at my children's home and we would live with racket and adventures, inventions and dirt.  I would live in a treehouse in Africa and reside in a cottage in Ireland's green hills.  

Of course, I was going to return to Italy, where I spent much of my childhood, which perfect because it is (relatively) close to where I would work in the Romanian children's orphanage, nursing abandoned infants and children to good health and happiness.  At some point, I'd enjoy a Broadway career and write (and star in the resulting film) my fictional-based-on-true-events story of the first hand account of the bombing of the Murrah Building.

So some of these things sound a bit outlandish, but most of it I really believed could and would happen at some point.  The hard part was deciding which one to pursue.  

I will never forget the evening my 12 year-old-self was at some social event, sitting next to my father.  They were doing a game or activity where they listed four things they wanted to be and four things they wanted to do.  
These were my dad's four things he wanted to do:

See Andrea win the gymnastic all-around Olympic gold medal.
Watch L perform Mozart in Carnegie Hall.
Be at the World Series when J hits a home run to win.
Watch T accept a Nobel Peace Prize.

My 12 year old self didn't think too much of those words.  How incredibly privileged was I to have a father who just wanted his children's dreams realized?  That's what he wanted to do.  I don't think he wrote each word, believing it would happen verbatim.  If you look very, very closely, he really wrote this:

Andrea will not listen when others question her dreams or hopes. 
Finding that she has the tenacity and skill, L will succeed at whatever she sets out to do.
J will find what he was made to do and he will do it well.
Despite what other people think about T, he will live a life of character and influence.  

I plan to hold onto my dreams; they will not become less important as I work, age, procreate, wander, and fail.  They will evolve, develop, and certainly won't include gymnastics anymore.  They will not end in gold medals or a published book, but will be fulfilled when my heart is full and my character solid.  So today I choose to make my hopes the most significant thing, because they just might take me places... 

Friday, December 26, 2008

Give me an "L"....give me an "A"....give me...

Eh, I'm too lazy to even spell it out. =)

Today has been simply amazing.  I've been intentionally lazy.  Incredibly lazy.  Usually, I don't do anything and feel guilty about it.  Last night I set the expectation that I was going to be lazy and accomplish nothing.  I've been highly successful.  

We had an exhausting last two days, emotionally and physically.  Many parts of the family to see, parents, step-parents, grandparents, and more.  I decided I'd rather host Christmas at my house and make most of the meal than worry about the planning and timing of a side dish or two for three different get-togethers.  I made part of dinner for Christmas Eve, all of breakfast (then transported it) for Christmas morning and finally two side dishes for Christmas dinner.

On the drive back home last night, I was able to decompress.  And by that, I mean cry.  B and I were the only family around for his mom this year, after her divorce a few weeks ago and her other son living out of state.  It made me feel some pressure to make things unique and memorable for her.  Yesterday, we were also around my grandfather, who is very near gone.  All the change that is happening in life right now is wearing me out.  Then an aunt asked about when we were going to have kids....I was fine on the outside but that's when I broke into pieces on the inside.  

I needed a day to recover and start over.  So today has been a day of rest, vegetation, and quiet.  (Good lord, my family is LOUD.)  Tomorrow I'm looking forward to accomplishments, plans, and work.  It will be an amazing day as well.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What would you do if you had no fear?

Inadequacy.  The fear that I am not good enough keeps me from doing many things.  It keeps me from living life.  

I think these are good reasons to do something:
  • one wants to do them
  • they are the right thing to do
  • the result will be worth the effort

I quickly convince myself that I don't want to do something I don't think I can master.  I need to begin making efforts, at least giving a new thing a shot.  The hard part will be doing this without thinking disparaging thoughts about myself the whole way.

Yesterday, it was something small.  I've never attempted to use chopsticks when eating Chinese food simply because I didn't think I could do it(perfectly).  I'd make a mess, not actually eat any food, and I can use a fork anyway.  I decided to go ahead and try.  At worst, I return to The Fork.  With some tips from B and trying again and again, I finally finished my entire plate of honey-crusted shrimp and rice with chopsticks only.  

I didn't use the chopsticks perfectly.  More importantly, if I had put the chopsticks down and decided I preferred a fork, it would have been okay.  It's all about the effort, the attempt, the courage and humility to try.  This is what I'm practicing.  It is time to stop fearing chopsticks, among other things.