This post originally appeared at Meanderings and Muses, the wonderful blog of Kaye Barley. Because it's almost 2012, and a lot of people are thinking about what they want to accomplish next year, I thought I'd re-post it here.
Happy New Year.
DREAM A LITTLE
One day, I quit dreaming—and it took me over forty years to figure it out.
At some point, it became easier to turn my back on a dream, to let it fade, then to not be perfect each step on the way toward making that dream a reality. (Perfection is really a stupid concept, but that’s another topic.)
What I had, when I quit dreaming, were flat goals. Goals that belonged to other people. Goals I committed to for some reason: to keep my job; to make a loved one happy; because everyone else had a similar goal. They weren’t wrong, they just weren’t mine.
A few weeks ago, while writing my morning pages (if you haven’t read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, what are you waiting for?), I recognized the little girl who used to dream (with a certain amount of fearlessness) had stopped, and I began work to get her back.
I heard this as recently as last week: “Unless it’s specific, with a timeline, it’s not a goal. It’s just a dream.”
Just a dream.
A little belittling to dreams, if you ask me.
I’m not saying my life for forty years consisted of dull days and a series of tasks. Far from it. But I am saying I missed the richness—the possibility—dreams provide.
How do you keep a soul in your goals? Inspiration in your perspiration?
I’ve decided a dream is a little like a new idea for a novel. I toss it around for a while. Turn it over. Is it something I can build a whole story around—a life around? If it feels good, grabs me, then I begin to plot it out. Or, for those of you are more of a “live life by the seat of your pants” kind of person, dive in until your dream begins to take shape. If the idea has staying power, it’s full speed ahead.
The best goals begin as dreams. The best dreams are your dreams. Dreams that fill your soul. They demand you go after them. It’s your pursuit that makes the dream stronger and turns it into (gasp!) a goal.
Before you kick yourself for not accomplishing everything on your list in 2011, consider whether those things were your goals or someone else’s. And before you begin to contemplate what you would like to have happen in 2012, dream a little.
CR: Just finished reading an ARC from Debbi Mack. It was terrific. Be looking for Riptide in February!
It's all better with friends.