Are you daring to dream? Is that a luxury you cannot afford? As a child, we dreamed of becoming a ballerina or an astronaut. We imagined ourselves as a policeman or fire fighter.
Some of us dreamed of getting married, having children, and taking care of our homes. Some dreamed of being a soldier fighting in a war. The possibilities of our future were unlimited. But as adults?
Not So Much
We ‘settled’ into a 9 to 5 position. We had the requisite 2.5 children, took on a mortgage, and stepped onto the conveyor belt of life. At some point, we stopped dreaming of who we wanted to be, and allowed others to tell us who we should be.
It is a cage in which almost all of us find ourselves. And as we enter, we snap the lock shut. We tell ourselves we like our cage. It is familiar. I am comfortable here. This is a beautiful place. We live here because it is what everyone else is doing. It is ‘home’, because society tells us it is. Our families are proud of us. They glow at the idea we finally ‘outgrew’ our childish dreams. It is ‘safe’…
Yet somehow, deep down, it still doesn’t feel right to live in that cage. Something is missing. Something just doesn’t fit. But we shove those thoughts and feelings down. After all, we are doing ‘the right thing’, aren’t we?
What we often overlook though, is there is a Key that unlocks that cage. It may be old. It may look strange to you. But it is still a key. And the lock it fits may be rusted beyond recognition.
The keyhole may be packed tightly with the dirt and debris of ‘what could have beens’. But with a little oil and a stiff cleaning brush, it can once again be unlocked.
The first step to cleaning out a dirty lock is a good stiff cleaning brush. Our determination is what gives us the push to do something, and to make it work.
We dive into a project through observation and drive. A brush is used to start scraping off the first layer. Painstakingly, we work our way into the middle of the crusty center.
Slowly but surely, we scrape out every piece of dust, dirt, grime and flake that prevents the mechanism from working. Once that is done, we move to the next step.
Time is the Oil
Once the lock is clean, we pour a little oil on it and wait. We give the lubrication a chance to work. To allow the oil time to soak in and loosen the remaining rust.
While we are waiting, we use a bit of sandpaper and a brush on the key. We chip away large portions of dirt, and sand the rust down to bare metal. By the time we finish with the key, the lock is ready.
Dreams are the Key
With anticipation, we insert the key into the lock and slowly turn it. At first, you feel resistance, and you release pressure. You add a drop or two more of penetrating oil, then try again.
Gentle pressure, another turn….and the lock pops open. The door to the cage swings open, and you step back out into that world of childhood possibilities.
At some point in our past, we took all of our dreams and packed them away. There were so many of them, we often had help. Our parents packed a few of the boxes. Our friends helped with what they believed to be encouragement. And society as a whole acted as the main moving company.
The saddest part is that we allowed them to do this. We gave them permission to take our dreams, toss them into boxes, and bury them in a waste disposal site. We willingly stepped into the cage, closed the door and snapped the lock.
And look at you now. You are miserable living in that cage of your own making. You wonder where your dreams are buried. In your heart of hearts, you know those precious, delicate dreams weren’t packed properly, and are more than likely in tiny bits and pieces after all this time. If they even still exist.
Lock and Key
The lock in question is something we do to ourselves. As we grow from childhood, into adolescents, into adulthood, we tend to pay more attention to what is ‘right’ by society standards rather than what is ‘right’ for us. We allow our parents to dictate we are to follow in family footsteps and join the ‘business’.
There is glitz, glamour and money that goes with a certain profession. We allow others to tell us our passion for pottery will never make the money we need to live. Our enjoyment and fascination for numbers slips through our fingers as we trudge through Anatomy to become a doctor.
And when we reach the goal everyone else has set for us, we tell ourselves we are happy with our choices.
But yet, there is something missing. That something keeps getting covered up with the dirt, the grime and the rust of our own making. We may have smiles on our faces, but rarely do they reach into the depths of our hearts.
Had Enough Yet?
If you are tired of living in a cage and keeping those dreams at bay, there is a way to escape. There may be a lock on the door, but if you look around, the key is still there. It may be in a pocket. It may have been buried.
But if you think hard enough about it, you realize you know exactly where it is. If you look even further, you will see you have a brush, lubricating oil and a piece of sandpaper. Maybe it is time to find the key, clean and oil the lock and set yourself free.
Why we don’t Dream Anymore
There are several reasons we do not dare to dream:
This is one of the biggest obstacles we have to dreaming. We may get started, but the shiny object a dream can often become tarnished with what ifs, and the ‘What Would Others Think’ Syndrome (WWOTS).
We dread the idea of being an outcast, or worse yet, labeled as a rebel, a hippy, lazy, unskilled, or any other negative opinions. Oh, no. We just aren’t brave enough to let that happen.
After all, our days are so filled with being a __________ (doctor, lawyer, accountant, teacher…you fill in the blank). Then we have a home to clean, a family to care for, and errands to run. We meet ourselves coming and going, and barely have time to sleep, much less waste our time on silly dreams.
It Costs Too Much
Our budget is already stretched too thin. We have a mortgage, car note, fuel bills, insurance, and regular monthly bills. We really need a second, third, fourth car, because it makes our lives easier for the kids to take themselves to school or work…
My job demands designer clothes. I have to have a housekeeper and yard service, because I don’t have time to do it myself. As it stands, the credit card bill is already overdue, and if I don’t pay the electric bill, we will have to spend money on candles. I have to have that vacation just to get away from the stress of my life…
Someone Else did it For Me
I didn’t have to worry about what I would be when I grew up. My family owns a business, and it was understood I would join…
We were so poor growing up, Mom scrimped and saved to fulfill her dream of having a doctor in the family…
College just wasn’t an option, and I had to have a job, so I took the first one offered. It isn’t a bad job, and it does pay the bills, but…
When I grew up, it was just expected I would become a teacher…
I’m Too Old
I would love to go back to school, but I am way past college age. Age is holding me captive. Studying is too hard and time-consuming…
I Don’t Know How
I have tried, but I just don’t have any idea what to dream about. About the time I get started, something distracts me. Knowing what I want is a question I can’t answer, so dreaming just isn’t worth it. After all, I did everything that was expected of me…
Which One are You?
Let me guess. If you are not already following your passion’s journey, there is a little bit of you in each one of those obstacles. You fear the ‘what ifs’ and have a bad case of the WWOTS.
You are just too busy. Money is tight. You are in the family business or following society’s expectations. Or it has been so long since you did any type of dreaming, you just do not know how to do it anymore.
But the reality is, you can still dream. The dreams you had as a child may not still be valid – – after all, most ballerinas begin training at a very early age. However, as you have grown as an adult, your dreams have evolved. All you need are a few key steps to get on your way.
Daring to Dream
Set aside a stretch of time. This can be at the end of the day, when you take a breather. Curl up in your favorite chair. Allow no distractions, unless it is soothing music.
Although the Mozart Effect has been deemed questionable, classical music does tend to add a certain layer of calm to our souls. Just keep the music low, more as ‘white’ noise. Then allow your mind to drift.
Take a Walk
Exercise is a way to boost your cognitive abilities. It is believed it improves blood flow and helps to relieve anxiety and stress. When you can’t dream, more than likely it is because your mind is cluttered with too many things.
It is time to do a ‘brain dump’ (as my friend Annie at annielewellyn.com calls it). In order to dream, you want to clear your mind of everything else. Especially the reality of your current life.
Follow Your Passion
During your Dream Time, start considering all of those things you think you would like to do some day. Think of it as your Dreaming Bucket List. Are you a creative person? Determine how you enjoy creating.
When the days get stressful, do you find digging in the dirt of a garden soothing? Think about what you enjoy growing – flowers, vegetables, herbs, or something else. Think in broad terms to begin with, and then narrow down your focus.
Grab ‘the Key’
Remember ‘The Key’ I mentioned in the last post? What you are looking for is ‘the Key’. As you work your way through all your options, you will find that one thing that keeps coming back to you. There will be several smaller keys, but you will soon discover there is one in particular that is larger than any others.
In my case, no matter what else I did, or what profession I was in, I always fell back on writing. I would write a story. My newspaper column stemmed from my need to write.
One of my bosses assigned me a column for the company’s newsletter. I even got creative with my Christmas lists, making them into story form. (My Mom still has one or two of those).
I consider writing as my ‘key’ passion. I have others, but it is the ONE that sustains me. Anything and everything else I do stems from that. And yes, even my farm, my crafts and my kitchen skills eventually end up in writing through my website, books and newspaper columns.
What to Search For
When searching for your main key, find the one that makes your heart leap every time you pick it up. It will be the one that sparkles a little brighter, shining through the coating of rust and grime. Once you find it, pick it up and examine it.
Then start searching to see what that key unlocks. Start thinking about all the potential it holds. How can you revive the passion?
Let me help you Dare to Dream
If homemaking, homesteading and living a simple life is The Key that unlocks your passion, then you are in the right place.
Living a Simple Life fits in with all passions and professions. If caring for others through the practice of medicine is your dream, by all means, go for it. Just learn how to do it by combining it with living a simple life.
To learn more about the different aspects of living a Simple Life, just keep reading!