When Getting Older Doesn't Naturally Turn into Accidental Success (And Other Sad Stories).

by - 11:19 AM

It's funny how dreams change. I guess, as I get older, they just sort of evolve, get more definitive, and develop key steps. When I was 18, my dreams were very broad -- get rich, be successful, own happiness. I knew I wanted those things, but I didn't have mini-dreams to get me there. I didn't even know what the mini-steps would be, so I just trecked along without a map, always hoping I'd blindly get there.

I guess the difficult thing is that nothing ever feels the way I imagined it would. I turned 25, and it felt nothing like I thought it would. Each milestone I reached, I'd look around, shrug my shoulders and think -- this can't be all there is, right?

And very honestly, I am always scared that someday, I'll realize that, yes, this is all there is. And that's very frightening to me.

Sometimes, I daydream about what I would do if I could just snap my fingers and make anything happen. The first thing I would do, of course, is eat a billion cupcakes and not gain a pound. Next, I imagine that I would be some kind of fabulous writer who earns every penny in her bank account from the words she puts on a page. I'd be a contributing editor to all my favorite magazines, I'd run a wildly popular blog, and I'd travel every single day, because when the internet is your office, so too is the world.

Then, naturally, I'd daydream myself Jeri Hall's body and Giselle Bundchen's hair. And an endless supply of Mcdonald's French fries.

It's nice to dream, isn't it? It's also free. And maybe even a little productive, because besides the meaningless asthetic stuff, it's all within my power to achieve. It's a friendly reminder that every time I shrug my shoulders and look around confused because my life isn't what I thought it would be, then maybe it's time to take action. Because....it's my fault.

You know those big houses with the great views? And the cool jobs? And dreams that come true? Yeah, someone's got to live those lives, and it might as well be me.

Maybe I set myself low standards, but I believe that, because I write, I am a writer. And because I hit the "publish" button, I am a blogger. And if I continue to wish, I'll be a wisher, but until I begin to do, I'll never be a do-er.

Does that even make sense?

Every year, when Ryan and I visit Arizona for vacation, I am reminded that my life is not all I wish for it to be. In fact, last year I wrote this post about my dreams for the future. There are a great number of things I'd still like to see come to fruition in my life, and I don't know if it's the blue skies, the semi-polluted, yet deceptively fresh air, or the big mountain views that suggest that the world is big and you haven't experienced even half of it, yet, but this place always manages to make me feel simultaneously very happy and very discouraged.

I want so much more, and I'm afraid that I'll never have it.
I want a wealth of travel, an understanding of far away places and, most of all,  fulfilling challenge and lasting happiness.

When I daydream about my biggest wishes coming true because my fingers can snap and no obstacle can stand in the way of imaginary magic, I am productive if only in one sense: it causes me to itemize my life dreams. If I had a genie and got three wishes, what would they be? I manage to prioritize in a quick hurry. Well, sort of.

I can quickly prioritize what I wish for in my life, but not the order, and not how to best waste my "wishes" because I have the following conversation with myself --

"Definitely my first wish is to eat anything I want, forever, without gaining any weight.....or actually, weight is within my control anyway, so maybe my first wish is to be stupidly rich. Nah, I can do that on my own too, without a genie. I wish to be a writer. A successful one. A travel writer. Yeah, that. Well, no, I can make that happen without a genie. So okay, definitely I wish to live forever. No, nevermind. That's absurd....."

I begin with stupid and end with stupid, which indicates that wishing for things that you can do without a genie and with a little hard work is....well, stupid.

It's good to dream big. It's better to work big and do big and make big happen.

So, as my vacation wraps up, I'll be itemizing my big dreams and cultivating mini-dreams to develop a reality as magical as my imagination.

No genie required.

Side note: the pictures in this post are from our trip to AZ, but they're kind of the riff-raff pictures that aren't necessarily part of an adventure. I'll share some of those stories in the next few days.

Happy Tuesday!

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