Dream On…Dream Until Your Dreams Come True

“We had so many dreams as children. Where do they go when we grow? Are they swallowed up by the mundane things of everyday life? Or do we lose them, leave them behind us in the dust?” – Helen Hollick, The Kingmaking 

I was recommended a book to read called “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch.  In a previous post I mentioned how this book gets you to think of road blocks, or brick walls in a different way.  Rather than stopping you from achieving your goals, it helps to show you just how badly you want them.  What I didn’t mention is what this book really is about.  It’s about achieving your childhood dreams, no matter how ‘out there’ they may be.

I do have to admit that at one point while reading this book I was becoming somewhat discouraged and a bit depressed.  I was really down in the dumps, thinking, “Wow, this guy really has done a lot of what he dreamed of as a child. I haven’t done anything! What a boring life I have lived so far.”

I began to think back to all the things I dreamed of doing when I was a child, and decided to list them all of the ones I could remember.

And boy was I in for a real surprise!  Some of the items on my list have already materialized, and others were in the process of coming to life, and the rest – well, they are something to work towards.

I’ve always wanted to travel the world, and have been sad that I haven’t been able to.  When I started listing off all the countries that I have been to, and some of them more than once, I count up to nine.  Wow, not bad.  My sub goal to this one is to make a similar piece of artworks which lists all the places I want to go, in addition to these (which some I’ve already been to!).

And yes, I did drive a race car.  I realised this dream a couple of years ago during a team-building exercise with my old place of employment.  This was one of the most exciting days of my life!

Playing in a band? Well, this is one of the dreams currently in action.  I’ve decided that I’m going to get up and sing during one of the jazz meet-up nights.  I’m thinking of singing Hallelujah, but I’m not 100% sure.  I can’t believe I’m going to put myself out there, but hey, what do I have to lose?  It’s something to cross off my list!

As some of you know, I’m in the process of planning for my own business, and I’ve been married (and separated), and I have a gorgeous daughter.  I’ll be contributing to medical research in a few weeks.  I’ve owned my home with my ex, and will have my own in the future once this one sells.

Live in a different country?  Well, not sure how that is going to happen right now, but it’s something to strive towards, along with publishing my writing (well, I do have this blog which I’m sharing with the entire world.  That counts, doesn’t it?).  And I’d love to help people in some way.  Not sure how I’m going to go about this.  I’m hoping that my writing can do this in some small way, as well as ‘contributing to medical research.’  I feel it has to be more direct, more in person.  This is something I need to work towards as well.

And Disney…who doesn’t want to go to Disney and meet Mickey Mouse?!  Did that!

Needless to say I was excited to be able to put check marks next to some of the items on the list. And the possibility of having these other dreams come true is making life so interesting and exciting.  To think, that subconsciously I’ve been working towards making these dreams a reality is simply mind-blowing!  What could have happened if I actually did try to make them come true?

I know that some of these dreams are not very big, and some may think they are ‘childish.’  I really don’t care.  These are MY shiny dreams.  I’m taken aback at how even though I hadn’t thought of my dreams for a very long time, they never died.  They lay there dormant for a very long time, but they didn’t go away.  It’s like as if they were still working away materializing on their own, slowly out of sight.

But now what?  Most of my dreams have been accomplished, and some are on their way.  What happens next?  I was chatting with someone the other day and asked him what his childhood dreams are and he said “I’ve accomplished all of them.” I said to him, “Great! What’s next?” and he said “Nothing.”

Well, that didn’t sit well with me.  I don’t think you’re ever too old to dream another dream.  And we mustn’t ever stop dreaming.  I think dreaming is one of the things that keeps us alive, just like food for the body.  For me, I have learned that to stop dreaming means to die – which is what I think I was doing.  I was dying while I was living.

So what makes us stop dreaming?  Until recently, I think what made my dreams seem impossible to achieve was fear.  Fear of not knowing what path my dreams would lead me, fear of being challenged, fear of the hard work involved, fear of what people would think, fear of others not approving.  I had to abandon all of these fears, let go of the blanket of comfort and security which they provided and I had to just put myself right out there.  To actualise your dreams means to work, and I have discovered that there is a formula to this: It takes curiosity, confidence, courage and constancy.  You need all of these to get where you want to be.  You need to work hard.  I did all of this without actually knowing I was doing it.

I don’t want to wake up one day in the future disappointed by the things I didn’t do.  I’ve already gone through that just last week and it felt crummy.  I want to look back on my life and smile.  I want to be one of those elderly people who talk about the good’ol days all the time.  I want to share with my family and friends what I have done, all the exciting things I’ve accomplished, the places I’ve been to, the people I have met, the craziness of my ideas and actions.

And crazy some people may think I am.  They may try to stop me with their words and actions.  They may be offended because I am going against the tide.  But I believe that each of us has a great potential to achieve what we dream and desire.  It’s never too late to have the life that you want.  I now get the saying that the world is too small for people who dream big.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself.  Go forward and make your dreams come true.”  Now that most of my list is checked, I’m off to dream some bigger dreams.

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Packing My Bags

And unfortunately not the kind to go on trips.

I’m packing the ones under my eyes.  I’m so tired, can’t even gather the strength to write about the things I want to. So please forgive me while I nod off and try to imagine myself in the most comfy bed I’ve ever slept in.

Hopefully tonight I will sleep.  Good night folks.

Smartie

They’re Everywhere!!!!

‘Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places, if you look at it right.” – The Grateful Dead

Now isn’t that the truth!!

I know I keep going on and on about my trip to Europe, but kind readers, bare with me.  I find that there is just so much to share with you!!

I already told you about my trip to the medieval abbey Le Mont Saint Michel in my previous post “A Princes, An Order and An Abbey” but I didn’t tell you about what I saw there.

Lightbulbs!  An entire room of lightbulbs.  You should have heard me yell with glee!

And then the next day, while walking around in the city of Rennes, I look into the window of a store, and I see this!!

I just had to go into the store.  You should have seen all the lightbulbs hanging around.

I was in heaven…and I was cold.  This is the store I got my cozy blue scarf that I’m wearing in my post “Mmm….”)

And these ones where in a dance store I went to check out for my daughter.

What is my obsession with lightbulbs?  Let me explain it to you.  What is the purpose of a lightbulb? The answer is easy: it’s to emanate light.  And why do we have light? A number of different reasons: to light an area, lead the way, make the dark less scary.  Mainly, to allow us to see.

So to me, lightbulbs are a reminder to always try to look at the bright side of life.  Yes, I have that song now stuck in my head too….good ol’ Monty Python. Wether it be being in significant debt, having weeds growing in your driveway, losing your job, fighting with your loved one, going through a divorce etc, there is always a bright side to it.

So now, every time I see a lightbulb, and they’re EVERYWHERE I’ve noticed, I am reminded to do an internal check and see where I’m at.

Bet you that you’ll notice them everywhere too now! hehehe….if you come across any interesting ones, do share.  I’ll post them on this blog to share with everyone.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Mmmm……

“It ain’t burnt, Rosemary, it’s blackened.”  ―    Bunny Mathews

I have been thinking about my relationship with food lately.  It’s a love/hate relationship.  I love to bake, I hate to cook, and I love to eat.  I have been told that I know how to cook, and I have also been told that I have no idea what I’m doing in the kitchen.  I’m often made fun of with my cooking.

I know that can bake.  I can make a serious Turtle pecan Cheesecake, and my other desserts can knock your socks off.  I can read a baking  recipe and tell you if it will turn out to be good or not, by looking at the ingredients and how it’s prepared.  And now I have a cute apron to wear when I bake!

Cooking is a different story.  Despite what some people say, I think I can cook – though some people may argue against my point. Looking back, I can see that when I first got married, I had a rocky road ahead of me.  Prior to being married, I didn’t cook a day in my life, and then I was expected to cook gourmet meals – every day.  And I was being constantly compared to my mother and mother-in-law.  Not fair.  Of course I would hate to cook.  Who wouldn’t? And recently I realized just how much I dislike it. And it’s a strong dislike. I think I may do just about anything possible to not cook. There have been times when I’ve jokingly asked my daughter if she would like to make dinner, and her response would be “Mommy, I’m too little to cook.” Of course, she’s right, and there was a bit of truth to the question, but one can hope, no?

If I could, I would live off of Nutella sandwiches all day long – for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The fact that I have a dependant, and I care deeply for her nutritional needs prevents me from doing so.  So I have no choice but to suck it up and move on.

But like I said, recently it hit me in the face how much I don’t like it, and being spoiled and served this yummy food all the time while on vacation doesn’t help the matter.  I’d like to share some of the photos of the DELISH food I had recently:

I had never had French Onion Soup until my trip to Paris.  The day I arrived, I had this one, and all the ones I had afterwards (one each day) none could come close to being this yummy.  Restaurant La Ville De Abbesses is the place to go.

The same restaurant also served Creme Brule’ in the most interesting way, and this too was to die for.

One thing I found interesting in both Italy and France was the lack of veggies.  I love my veggies. Yes, I’m strange, but I can’t help it.  I found out later on that the veggies weren’t growing very well due to the very hot temperatures, but the fruit did well. Look at the gorgeous apricots!

Gelato. Creme glacee.  Need I say more?  Isn’t your mouth-watering yet?

I need a crepe pan. It’s not real cooking, more a dessert. I went to a crepe restaurant in Rennes – La Creperie Saint Georges.  All the menu items contained George.  I had the George Clooney, and he was delicious.  It was a Rapini crepe with goats cheese and tomato, and cucumber sorbet.  YUM!

Italy means pasta.  Nothing beats pasta baked in the oven.  My Mom’s cousin made this and it was lick your lips yummy.

In Rennes, the little Bed and Breakfast I stayed in was wonderful. Symphonie Des Sense was luxurious, and totally spoiled me. How could I possibly go back to making my own breakfast when I was brought this to my room at my arranged wake up time?

So back to making Nutella sandwiches I go.  At least when I’m home alone. If only I could bring this back with me.  Too bad there wasn’t enough room in my luggage.  It would have made my life so much easier.

She Wore An….

“Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, So in the locker, she wanted to stay.” ~ Brian Hyland

I think I wore my first bikini probably when I was four years old.  I imagine that I had a big belly at that time, which most four year olds do, and I looked absolutely dashing!  Sadly, that was probably the last time I wore one too.

I remember one time when I was about seven years old, and my friend’s aunt who was a seamstress made her a cute white bikini with red and orange stripes.  I was jealous of her.  The bikini was beautiful, she looked really good in it and I wanted one just like it.  Her aunt then made one for too, and I looked awful in it.  I was so embarassed that I swore to stick to one pieces from then on. And I did.

I’m pretty sure that I’m not alone in this, but walking around in your intimates at the beach or pool (because really, what’s the difference between a bikini and undearwear besides material?) is nerve wrecking.  It’s the worst thing in the world, right up there with public speaking for some.  I hate it. Every time I walk out onto the beach in one (and pool too) I feel as if everyone stops what they’re doing and stares at me – and not for a good reason either.

So you can probably imagine the shock I experienced when I was stared up and down when going to the beaches in Amalfi and Pescara in Italy. The strange thing is –  I wasn’t stared at because of how my body looks but because I was wearing a one piece bathing suit!  No one wears a one piece bathing suit.  And I mean no one.  Everyone wears a bikini.  Even the grannies who are ninety wear bikinis, revealing all their loose parts.  The pregnant women, the obese women, the fruit shaped women (apple and pear) wear them as well.  Everyone!  And nobody cared about what other people thought.  And they rocked, they wore them with confidence!

I also noticed that the figures we mostly see in magazines and tv were practically non-existant there.  I managed to push aside the fact that I was wearing a one piece and for once in my life, I was able to enjoy walking around in my swimsuit.  I didn’t feel the need to use a cover up.  I went from the sea to the bar to the beach chair and even making a sand castle.  I finally felt free to enjoy being in my own skin!  I was totally comfortable – oh boy!

And then the unthinkable happened.  I decided to buy two bikinis!!  Not one, but two.  And I said I bought them, I didn’t say I wore them.  Actually, I didn’t wear them because I bought them on my last day at the beach, and also because I thought that I would look rather silly in it as I am tanned on my upper and lowere body and it would mean that my midrift would be snow white.  That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

So yesterday my daughter and I decided to go to the outdoor community pool. I reached for my one piece bathing suit and she immediately stopped me.  She wanted me to wear my “cute” bikini with the polka dots on the inside.  Boy was it ever hard to put that on. Not because it didn’t fit, but because the courage I had experienced in Italy drained out of me the minute I stepped onto that plane to come back home.  I knew that at that point if I didn’t put it on, I never would.  So I sucked it up and I put it on.

At the pool, when I walked out of the change room in my bikini I felt that everyone was staring at me.  I talked myself out of running for the change room, and encouraged myself to believe that I don’t care what people think.  I wasn’t there to impress anyone.  I was there to enjoy myself.  And I did enjoy myself.  I didn’t know that being in a bikini is actually liberating.  The water feels different against the skin, against your bare belly, than when you’re in a one piece.

Then nice things began happening.  My daughter said to me that I look cute.  A woman complimented me on my bikini and I noticed a few men staring at me.  This helped me feel more comfortable in it because I don’t have a model’s figure.  I know I’m soft in a few areas.  I looked around and found that those “perfect” figures were non-existant here too.  Was all the fear I felt about wearing a bikini driven by my mind and what I thought I needed to look like in order to wear one?

I’m so thankful for those ladies on the beach in Italy.  Some may think it’s gross to see some of them in bikinis.  I think it’s beautiful.  They prove that no matter what, you have a right to be free.  Society shouldn’t stop you from enjoying life.  No one should dictate what you should or should not wear.  If it wasn’t for them, it wouldn’t have even crossed my mind to wear a two piece.  So girls, pull out you bikini and be free!!  Love what your Mama gave you!

A Princess, An Order and An Abbey

“Every girl pretends she is a princess at one point, no matter how little, her life is like that.”  ~ Alex Flinn, Beastly

When I was a little girl, I sure did pretend that I was a princess.  And then, while doing a professional search on my family’s last name, I found out that way, way back in time, the family name came from a line of Barons.  How cool is that?!!!  So naturally, the princess thing lasted a bit longer than normal.  How many people can say that they come from a noble line?

While in Paris we decided to take a day trip to Normandy to visit Mont Saint Michel which at one point hosted a Benedictine abbey.  To me, it looks like a gothic castle.  It’s a beautiful castle, with big walls surrounding it, narrow walkways and lots of mysteries. My princess dream had awoken once again, and my imagination was running wild.

What has made Mont Saint Michel fascinating is its location and how this castle becomes separated from the mainland at high tide when the causeway is flooded by the sea, and essentially becomes an island.  There are warnings everywhere which advise where to park because if you don’t abide by those rules, and depending how much of the tide has come in, you can kiss your car goodbye.  The dudes who built this place knew what they were doing, and knew how to protect themselves. And of course, this also means that a princess would be protected 🙂

I was pulled into this place, into the mystery of it all.  Not only was it an abbey, but the Order of Saint Michel was also located here.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m talking about Knights.  You know, in shinning armour!!!  They were the highest Order in France at one point, and all the knights met on a yearly basis here.  You need knights around if there is going to be a princess, no?  Imagine them sitting in the Knights Hall.  Those are their crests hanging in from the ceiling.

To add to the energy of my visit, I found this place mysterous as well. There were many locked doors, and so I coulnd’t help myself but to begin peeking into key holes. To my amazement I found blocked stair ways, and hall ways.  Where did they go?  I wanted to know.  I tried going down one flight of stairs, and made it to the bottom.  It was really dark, and then I heard an eerie noise so I chickened out and ran back up the stairs as fast as I could.

There was also a beautiful courtyard, and I would imaging a princess running through the courtyard calling out to her knight.  Important meetings would take place there.  (I did tell you I was getting caught up in all of it, didn’t I?)

The trip was memorable.  I only had one regret.  The bus ride back to town left before the full tide could come in.  I didn’t get to see the beautiful castle become an island.  It would have been amazing to see the ground which I was walking on disappear under the sea water.  There is only one thing that I can do about this.  I guess it means that I just have to go back again, and continue the fairy tale…hehehe

Wanting to Belong

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

I wasn’t one of the ‘cool kids’ when I was in school.  In elementary school, I was teased a lot.  I’m sure we all must have gone through a period of teasing, but I had more than my fair share.  I was overweight, and I was different from the other kids.  I never felt that I truly fit in.  I would day-dream a lot, use my imagination a lot ‘out in the open,’ and I spoke my mind, which set me apart from the rest.  This also made it more difficult to belong.

In high school I became more aware of it, when my ‘friends’ who were cool, merged with the other ‘cool kids’ from other schools.  I didn’t belong to any clique, and I was ok with it – on most days.  I spoke with everyone, was nice to everyone.  I like to think of myself as being like Switzerland – nice and neutral.  Not everyone understood it, and therefore not everyone liked it, or me.  And once again, this made it also difficult to belong.

So one day I decided to not be myself, and be like others so I could fit in.  I found a group who appeared to be willing to accept me, and I did what it took to be a part of this so-called family.  I dumbed myself down, started talking back, rebelled and started being mean to those who were like the real me.  It didn’t feel right being that way, but hey, I was finally wanted!  Of course, this had its consequences.  I hurt people who I cared for, including myself, and I also got suspended.  Luckily, the suspension wasn’t reflected on my school record, but my reputation with the school, and my family was tarnished.  I had to deal with those consequences too.

I find that the pressures to fit in are affecting our kids at a younger age.  My neighbour, who I think is an awesome kid, is being subjected to this pressure and she is in grade 6, and my daughter, who I see a lot of me when I was her age, is having a tough time fitting in with her school peers at grade 1.  Why is that?  What is causing this, and when does a parent intervene, and when does one stand back and let their kid sort it out on their own?

I find that on a regular basis I’m working with my daughter and brainstorming with her to come up with ideas to cope with her school peers.  It’s so difficult to get the message out that it’s best to be true to yourself, and you it really doesn’t matter what others think.  I find at times that I get so frustrated that she cares so much what others think of her, and then I have to remind myself that I, too, at the present time think the same way as well.

There is a bully which lives 5 houses away from us and has decided that she doesn’t like my daughter, and I have caught her a couple of times being downright mean to my daughter.  The bully is 8 years older than my daughter.  One day my daughter came home crying and saying that she yelled at her, told her that she is no longer able to play, and pushed her.  This was after when I saw the bully teasing her and also making fun of her behind her back and covering it up when she saw that I saw.  So I took this into my own hands and approached the bully in front of all her playmates and confronted her.  This worked, for a while.

Last night my awesome neighbour kid was playing with bully from up the road.  When the bully saw my daughter and I come outside with our bikes, she yells at the awesome neighbour kid to hide, because she doesn’t want my daughter to play with them.  I decided that I wouldn’t let it get to me, although I was disappointed that the awesome kid followed along.  The awesome kid and I used to talk all the time too.  Anyway, every time we would ride by, they would go hide.  My daughter was oblivious to all of this.  Then at one point, when we rode around the block and came back, the bully didn’t see us, and the awesome kid was going to say hello, when the bully yelled not to.  I had enough.  I turned to her and said “don’t worry, my daughter and I are enjoying what we are doing.  She doesn’t have time, nor wants to, play with you anyway.  You don’t have to hide every time we ride by anymore.”

My daughter then chased me with her bike while I tried to run away, and then we lay for a while on the front lawn trying to make shapes out of the clouds passing by.  I could see that the awesome kid wanted to join in, as she kept watching.  She knew that I would welcome her, as I always have.  But she never did.

My daughter would periodically ask why I said what I did, and why the two girls would hide all the time.  It’s hard for a 6 year old to understand.  I’m trying my best but it’s hard to put it into such simple terms.  I just feel so sad that at such a young age, these kids are having to go through this.

I’m hoping to be able to speak to the awesome kid alone, and let her know that it’s best to be true to herself, and not have to follow along with other people in order to be liked.  If she does, she may just forget who she really is, and wake up one day and ask, who am I?