Dreams Deferred

When I lived abroad for the first time (in London during my Junior year in college), my world cracked open like a coconut. Hidden underneath the mundane exterior was something sweet, rich, and juicy. The world was at my fingertips. I promised myself then I would never settle for less than I dreamed of, less than I deserved. I began to understand that the size of my dreams is limited only by my imagination.

That was the first of many trips abroad; traveling is the perfect incubator for dreams – each morning awakes with possibility, each meal becomes an adventure. I never get stuck in rut because I am never in one place long enough to dig one. Eventually, though, I grow tired and crave routine, long for the familiar.

Today, that daily routine of my life is becoming a pair of velvet handcuffs; at first it brought comfort but it could easily trap me in time and place. Freeing myself has become an added step on the journey to my goals. However, my dream of writing a book requires a routine that allows the regular practice of putting thoughts into words and onto paper. On days when the writing is hard and feel like walking through knee-high sludge, I long to travel. Flee to a land of shiny, newness. Wake up in a new place where all my energy goes to navigating the complex journies from city to city, morning to night, meal to meal.

But I know that is only a distraction; it would be a lateral move, not a forward one. So my life is here, teetering on the thin line between a restless holding pattern before getting out ahead and the comfortable complacency that will dilute my dreams with television and weekend getaways.

This morning on my drive to work, I was singing along with an old favorite of the Indigo Girls: Prince of Darkness. They described so well the place where dreams become deferred:

The dreams came in like needy children, tugging at my sleeve
I said I have no way of feeding you, so leave…
My heart beat like the wings of wild birds in a cage
My greatest hope my greatest cause to grieve

In order to avoid slipping to that place, starving my dreams until they will leave me alone, I looked deep into the pulp of that coconut, and this is what I see…

I write for a living: stories, articles, memoirs, fiction, poetry, love letters and grants. I write when, where and as often as I want. My writing brings the mobility and money to travel. I live in a home full of love, in a community that values family and community. I spend a lot of time learning and teaching. I eat organic, fresh, vegetarian food. I run and bike every day. There is a lot of sunshine. I understand, in my core, that they only thing that stands between my and my next big dream is aligning my belief and my actions.

I am grateful for the invigorating power of dreams.

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