On Dreams

Okay, I need to vent just real quick. I am speaking specifically to the dream nay-sayer — not the young ones, the old ones. The people who are in their 40’s or 50’s or more, whose own dreams haven’t worked out for them.

I want you to shut up.

Specifically, I want you not to be the older person in this hypothetical situation:

Dreamer: Actually, I’m putting a little money aside every month. In 10 years or so, I’m going to buy a boat/ motorcycle/ RV, sell all my stuff, and travel around the world.

Dream-killer: That’s a nice idea, but you know, life gets in the way. Things will change — you need to be prepared for the reality of life.

What the eff? What is that?  What is that? Is that, “Hi, my goals and dreams didn’t work out for me, so I’m going to shit all over yours?”  Or do they honestly believe anything other than the status quo doesn’t work?

Look, I know some dreams are . . . unusual. Improbable. I know how it sounds when I say, “Yeah, when my son turns 18, my husband and I are selling the house and going on a nation-wide motorcycle trip.” I know it’s not the status quo, and I know life sometimes throws a curve ball (believe me, I know — in the past 10 years, I’ve had an unplanned pregnancy, a parent die, my house flood, and a planned pregnancy that miscarried.)

The thing is, when someone says something akin to, “This is my dream goal, this is what I’m doing to achieve it,” that is not the appropriate time to laugh and say, “That’s a nice plan, but it’s not going to happen.”

Dreamers are not stupid, not all of us. I can’t fully generalize, but there are practical-minded dreamers out there, and plenty of them. We know our dreams are not going to be easy or simple to achieve. We know it’s not a matter of waking up one morning and saying, “Well, dream time. Goodbye, nine-to-five!” We know we have to pay our dues to get to that point, and that life will throw us curve balls we will need to overcome.

So I just want all the nay-sayers, all those people who act like we’re starry-eyed idiots who haven’t given this any thought, to zip their lips. I know what your problem is: you’ve never achieved your own dreams, for whatever reason. Or maybe you did, and they didn’t turn out quite like you’d planned. But that is no reason to go around being all negative nelly about other people’s plans and dreams.


To quote the lessons of my youth: A dream is wish your heart makes; and dreams are what make life worth living.

Even if I never actually achieve my dreams, isn’t it better to have dreamed and tried and failed, then to have never dreamed, or tried at all?

Happy Festivus!

We didn’t really get into the holiday season this year. I don’t know why. John has always been a little anti-Christmas, anyway, for as long as I’ve known him. Very Grinch: Not a fan of holiday music, not a fan of wrapping gifts, always seems unexcited and blah about giving/ receiving gifts. I do not know why this is; I once quizzed him about his childhood Christmas’s, and he reported that they were, you know, Christmas. Tree, presents, etc. Nothing traumatic or terribly disappointing in his past; just a general malaise regarding the holiday season. He tells me he liked it as a kid, but all kids do.
I had an existential crisis maybe two years ago, when I realized with a sense of shock and surprise that Christmas as a consumerist holiday held no meaning or importance to me. I couldn’t justify celebrating it without the belief to back it up. Then I remembered my history: Right, Christmas is a makeover of pagan holidays that celebrate the solstice and longer days. I can totally get behind that — I absolutely friggin’ hate winter and these long nights. And although I love working and am incredibly grateful to have a job, I now understand why office works get so growly in the winter — it’s difficult when you never see the sunlight. You’re in the office before the sun rises, and it sets before 5 pm in the winter, so you’re leaving after the sun has set. Obviously, I’m incredibly psyched about the onset of longer days.
So usually the whole impetus for the holiday season is on Kidling and I. But with the new job and working 10 hr days for 3 of the past 4 weeks, I was just too tired to worry about decorating and whatnot. Plus the truck didn’t work, no way to pick up a tree. And Kidling didn’t seem to notice or care — he didn’t even mention getting a tree until the 23rd of December, and when he finally asked we just said, “Sorry, no way to get it home,” and he didn’t seem the least bothered.
So last night I wrapped the gifts. John and I hadn’t bothered to shop for each other, but we’d gotten some video games, a book, and 2 months of membership at Club Penguin for Kidling. We’d also bought some gift cards for John’s family, who are having us come over for Christmas dinner. Plus, my dad had sent a gift for Austin — when I opened it to wrap it, there was also a mini gift for us, which surprised me since dad had told me he wouldn’t be able to send us a gift. Also, they were pre-wrapped, which was also nice, since dad said they probably wouldn’t be.
I hung the Club Penguin cards from Kidling’s doorknob with Christmas ribbon (no decorations or tree, so no stockings). After he woke up, he came into our room and sat on the bed to open the gifts with us. He was really pleased and excited about his haul, even though it was significantly smaller than in years past. He gave us a stuffed sock snowman he’d made at school, which is just adorable. The mini gift from dad was a $25 B&N gift card (yay!) and a $15 Starbucks gift card (shock and surprise!). The Starbucks one was particularly surprising and thoughtful, given that dad does not approve of our coffee-drinking ways. We were really pleased and surprised to get that.
John and I are trying to stave off this cold that keeps menacing us, so I made some more chicken noodle soup with lots of fresh garlic, ginger and hot sauce in it. I’m also making a late breakfast. It’s 12:01 now, and we haven’t gotten any notification about when John’s bil is planning on picking us up, so we’re just kind of vegging and not doing anything. Can’t really make any plans at this point.

the heart wants what it wants . . .

When I was a kid, I wanted an American Girl doll. Oh, how I wanted one. Sometimes it felt physically painful, how much I wanted one. I had an American Girl catalogue, and I used to pore over it for hours on end. I couldn’t decide between Samantha or Felicity, and I pondered this question as though it had as much weight as deciding to have a real child.

I mean, Samantha was my original favorite, the clear winner. Victorian! Gorgeous brown hair! And those outfits . . . a girl could only dream of such outfits today! Then Felicity was released, and suddenly my love of Johnny Tremain/ history/ the Revolutionary War came up against my yearning for a beautiful, elaborate doll with lots of gorgeous clothing and a whole book series.

Of course, I never got one. I mean, have you looked at the price of those dolls? They’re insane! As an adult, I look at these dolls and feel a fleeting, yearning wisp of emotion, a pale echo of the sheer want I once had. There’s a part of me, screaming over the echo of years, saying, “Get one! Get one now!” And the rest of me kind of laughs and says, “Uh, why? What on earth would I do with it? That is an insane amount of money to spend for pretty.”

I bring this up because I get the same feeling — not the yearning, but the weirdly years-old echo of it — when I look at this cover from Barnes and Noble, for the Nook:

See how pretty?! It’s the Jane Street Cover in Bright Pink and Marmalade. The outside (obviously) is bright pink, the inside is a lovely orangey-gold color. Those words on the front? She kept her nose in a book . . . They match the whimsical phrase on the back: and her head in the clouds

Isn’t it darling? So pretty and pink and whimsical and perfect. I wantsssss it, my precioussss . . . and then I look at the price ($125), and I just goggle. There is absolutely no way to justify that expense. I was easily able to justify the Nook, and I soon after bought a lovely leather cover in the $25 – $30 range (their lowest-prices covers). I buy an e-book about twice a month. But there’s no way I could possibly purchase that — or even accept it as a gift — and not feel like a wasteful, horrid, selfish person. I look at that beautiful cover, and it doesn’t matter how much I like it, it just feels selfish and thoughtless and pointless to spend $125 on something that’s essentially just . . . pretty.

It’s really too bad. It’s such a pretty cover. I just wouldn’t like to be that person . . . the person who blew a $125 on something so essentially useless. It’s the same feeling I get when I look at Felicity or Samantha, but somehow it’s weirder, more intense. Like, with Felicity and Samantha, that expense could have been justified, once. When I was young and I would have gotten hours and hours of play out of them. But I can’t think of any world or any circumstance where paying $125 for a leather e-book cover is remotely justifiable, and I find myself a little sad that it’s even a possibility, which taints even my pleasure in admiring the prettiness of it.