30 December, 2008

"I did it!"

When one stops, takes a breath, and works to fulfill a dream… is there something that leaves them with a higher quality of life?
I recently received an e-mail from a woman I have known since kindergarten. We were in the same Brownie troop, if you can believe that. In response to a question I asked her about a tea room, she relayed the following story which resulted in this post.
The woman who owns the tea room is someone she knew from graduate school. At that time, the woman was not happy. She dreamed of opening a tea room but instead, was working to obtain her advanced degree in English/Language Arts. She was unhealthy, dismal, and just not looking forward to her degree or happy where she was. She left the graduate program… and apparently opened her tea room. She pursued her dream. My friend said that the difference in her physical and mental character is amazing. She is… happy!
I love hearing such stories – the stories about the people who take the risk to pursue a dream. It lifts my spirit and gives me this rush of joy. It isn’t that I think – I could do that as my dream is scattered and in flux. It is more a sense of YAY YOU!! I love the story, the risk, and the success that follows (even if that success is that they decide that it wasn’t what they wanted… the success is that they took the risk).
A charmer in California, who may or may not read this post, took a risk in pursuit of his dream. He enjoyed a successful career as an engineer and yet truly wanted to do something else. And thus, he decided to give it a go. Despite any negativity he might have experienced, he took a risk and followed his passions and dreams. That makes my heart soar. What a role model for his kids and his family and friends. I wish him all the best but more – I love that he took the risk.
And there is a Llama in these here parts that took a risk as well. She started her own business. (Imagine that, a Llama who started a business…) She took a chance in making her dream a reality… and it is not only working for her, but she seems to be succeeding in the most amazing ways. She is teaching, creating, and allowing her students to explore a world that was at one time completely foreign. Next time you see a Llama, remember that these are amazing creatures that have the ability to pursue their passions and the strength to endure the risks that life throws at them. I want to celebrate with this Llama… Her kids are seeing her in action – following her passions and touching the lives of others.
Another started all over again, new city, new work, building a new office along with organizing groups and leading meetings. He is making it work despite all the challenges he faces as a single, dating, long distance dad.
There are stories like this in each of our lives – people who take the risks and choose to do something different. A man leaves a successful career to become a handy man. He endures the pay cut and finds great happiness and fulfillment. His dream was not to be a handy man, per say, but to be able to look back on his work at the end of the day and say “Yeah, I did that!” Another man takes great pride in his work as a janitor (yes, I said a janitor) because… he can see that he is making a difference.
I, on the other hand, sit at a computer. I do not see that my work is making a difference (and personally, what I am doing now… that is a good thing) but at the end of the day I can’t turn around and see that I have done much of anything at all. I do not see that I am closer to fulfilling a dream nor can I see the rows upon rows of corn that I have planted. Sometimes this saddens me in the sense that I would like to be doing something I love; I would like to fulfill a dream or take a risk, or even have the chance to know what it is like to look upon the day and say “I did that.” It is that part of me that craves leaving the tower in which I work to take up gardening or farming! I have the courage to take the risk; I simply don’t have a dream or a calling to pursue.
Is that weird? Perhaps that is another post. For now, realize that this post is not about my lack of a specific dream (I have many little ones) but about the celebration of the pursuit of dreams by others. This post is about the taking of the risk and the finding of something greater via that risk.
I am sure that it helps to have a calling; to have a dream that demands fulfillment and motivates despite the challenges. I look in wonder at my daughter who has endured far more criticism and instruction in her short life than I ever did or have… all in pursuit of her dream.
The happiness that comes with taking that risk; that which is felt when you look back over your day and say “I did that,” what feelings those must be and how that must lift the spirit and lighten the heart. I believe there is something to the statement suggesting that if you love your work, it isn’t work. Similarly, if you are following your passion or pursuing a dream, everything experienced is worth while. The journey is wonderful and the goal… well, achieving that dream is amazing. There has to be a positive mental and health response to living this lifestyle.
And so I say Yea You!! You did it! You took the risk; made the jump; and you are working to fulfill your dream!
Happy New Year to all… and may it be a year in which we all work to fulfill dreams, the big and the small!


dadshouse said...

What a nice post for all those people pursuing their dreams! Sounds like you should start a garden. You don't have one right now? (I suppose it's too cold in winter, but in spring/summer/fall?)

Joseph Campbell said "follow your bliss", and I think his advice was good.

Mindy said...

This post really moved me. I love hearing stories of the success of those who followed their dream. I, like you am still trying to define my own, but when I get there I hope I can become one of these stories too. I'm inspired to keep going regardless of the roadblocks I face.

justrun said...

Well said! Here's to a year of not only following dreams but not losing sight of them, either.
Happy 2009 to you!

mama llama said...

Dads' Campbellian reference is one of my two favorite quotations. The other is Jonathan Swift: May you live all the days of your life.

I have taken those mantras and tried to apply them in my life. I vowed, when 20, never to be 50 and say, "I wish I would have ..." Never.

So I guess I'm trying. Starting my own business isn't a dream I always had, but it has evolved into a dream come true and a demonstration of what my potential is when I put my mind to something and decide to, as Nike so eloquently states, "just do it."

It is wonderful to see the risks and the dream pursuits of others. I often live vicariously through the lives of others, as I know some say they live through me. That's healthy, and it gives us all so much hope for what is possible, for goodness, for making that difference...and for personal happiness and fulfillment.

Thank you, TE. Meeting you has also been a dream come true. Congratulations on the closure of another year. I wish you much happiness and many blessings--and so many dreams come true in 2009!

Be well, TE.

Susan said...

What a wonderful post and tribute! I can also relate to what you've written, especially the "being in front of a computer" for work, plus the feeling I had for years that I *should* have a hobby or calling I was passionate about, but didn't. (I also like a lot of different things, but didn't feel a strong pull to any one.)

I found writing through a series of events in my life a couple of years ago in the most unexpected way. I also now appreciate being able to enjoy many different things. I don't know how these dreams will pan out for me, but I know they MUST be a part of my life. You'll find your passion, too, probably when you least expect it. In the meantime, enjoy the ride!

Vinnie Sorce said...

I'm a dreamer at heart but I've had such a bad ten years it's really hard to keep the faith sometimes...