That one that has nothing to do with sleeping, but everything to do with our waking moments. Our bag of expectations, wants, and desires for our own lives. Those secret plans for our future, sometimes so secret, we aren’t aware of them ourselves. Oh, they might occasionally surface, but we dismiss them for wishful thinking, or just plain fantasy. We often ignore them, telling ourselves that they are meant for someone else, someone far more capable of actually living inside of them, realizing them, bringing them to fruition. We dismiss them as though they are nothing more than fluff. But are they?
Many, many years ago, while I was working as the General Manager of a new/used Bookstore, a woman came in and asked if I knew of two particular books. It turned out that she had already read them and simply wanted to discuss the effect they had had on her life (individuals who work behind the counter in a bookstore often find they also play the role of a neighborhood bartender). She was younger than I, perhaps by fifteen or twenty years, slim, no makeup, dressed in well worn jeans, a soft plaid flannel shirt rolled at the sleeves, and heavy brown work boots. What she really wanted was to talk about her dream and how far she had come in bringing it to fruition. As she told her story, I was amazed at how far away from my own dream I had drifted.
The amazing part of it all was that I had read the two books she was asking about, but somehow hadn’t put it together in the same manner she had done. She spoke about using her time to prepare herself for that dream of hers (becoming the owner and operator of a light-weight airplane), so that when the opportunity arose, she’d be ready to move on it. In other words, she was actively seeking ways to participate in her dream, while I was sort of waiting for mine to magically coalesce around me, form itself ready made, so that all I had to do was step into it.
That could be the reason why so many of us dismiss those fluff fantasies of another me, living another life. One that is exciting, fruitful, and fulfilling. Because we just don’t know how, or where, to begin and it all sounds like a whole lot of work, and its just a dream, after all, beyond the impossible, right? The Airplane Lady (I never did learn her name and never saw her again), left the store but also left a seed that day. I doubt she will ever know what her random planting did for me. I went home that night and began to write on a daily basis. I had no idea where it would take me, but I had to at least begin preparing for that dream I had kept in the fog at the back of my mind.
The first thing I discovered was that I had no idea of what I actually meant by, “I want to be a writer.” I needed a definition. My own definition. The desire to write was solidly there, I had been moving toward it for most of my life, yet didn’t have a clue what it was I wanted, or was capable, of writing. That was obviously the beginning of my journal writing. I had done some of that on a hit and miss basis for many years. That night I actually made a commitment that continues to this day. There is a saying about how it isn’t the particular destination, but the journey itself that is important. The recording of that journey became the most important factor for me. The definition became the destination, and still remains so.
Along the way, I have tried many different paths: poetry, publishing, editing, fiction, non-fiction etc. I have learned a great deal from each of them and recorded those lessons in my daily writing. My journey has not been completed, but I am certainly living inside my dream. A dream that is far more play than work. That may be another one of those reasons that we continue to dismiss those wish filled fantasies. They seem to be only play, not a reality of ongoing effort. Yet, the Airplane Lady had a much better grasp of reality than I did. She was working as an airplane mechanic, surrounded by the stuff of her dreams and loving every moment of that reality. And thanks to her and the little seed she planted, albeit all unknowingly, I am doing the same.
Which brings me to the big questions: What is your dream? What are you doing to prepare yourself to grasp hold of it, if it should ever appear on your horizon? What are the excuses you place in your own path to that dream? Do you think you are too old? Too set in your ways? Too inept to even begin? Can you define exactly what it is you want, wish, or desire? What small step could you take right now, at this moment, to move yourself closer to those wants and desires? Is there something wrong with gathering information? With allowing yourself to explore even small possibilities? What about a dream journal, one that has nothing to do with sleeping, and everything to do with waking up?
The Airplane Lady, whether she knows it or not, remains very high on my list of heroes. I am following in her footsteps, learning to fly my own airplane. This one I have built word by word, learning the mechanics of my own wish filled thinking, getting myself up and moving toward my own dreams. Those pie in the sky things I never thought were possible, yet now, are my reality. There may be only one difference between us. I know I am deliberately throwing those seeds from my airplane window.