Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dream a Little Dream

via Pinterest

I've had a lot of dreams.

Interestingly -- most haven't come true.  

But here's the thing about dreams.  There's an "s" at the end.  It's a plural word.  And that's important to remember when you feel like one of your dreams is being stomped on or passed over or neglected.

And sometimes, dreams lead to other things that are better than the original dream.

Two personal examples:

I wanted to go to college out of high school.  I went through advanced level classes and college-prep classes with the thought of packing up my things and moving into a dormitory and starting an entirely new life.  Then came the crusher -- not enough in scholarships and no money.  

OK, then. Dream 1 down, but what next? 

I joined the military instead, which was definitely NOT a dream.  But it turned into one of the best dream situations I've ever had.  I met amazing people, lived in a unique country, and met my husband.

Market near where I lived in South Korea.

Friends and I at a club in South Korea.

I didn't know until I was in the middle of living it, but that was a Dream.  

The second example:

After leaving the military and working in the civilian world for a little while, I (literally) went for broke and finally went to college.  My goal -- to be a doctor.

To say I was nearly bested is an understatement.  I'm not a stupid person, but taking 19 credits of virtually all science courses was easily the hardest things I've ever done.  Going to Organic Chemistry, trying to learn in a huge theater setting, was daunting.  I'd look around me at the other hundreds of pre-med students and knew -- a whole heck of a lot of us aren't going to make it.

Then one day, in the middle of a Bacterial Genetics lab, I realized....

I didn't HAVE to be a doctor.  

And I quite literally felt a weight lift off my shoulders.

I felt pretty lucky.  There were a lot of kids I went to school with who had no idea what to do with their life if they DIDN'T become a doctor.  And here I was, knowing I had tons of opportunities ahead of me, and while I was in my last year of college, I knew I could take a year off to regroup and tackle medical school then.  IF I wanted to.  IF I didn't want to get a Master's Degree in another science.  IF I didn't become an EMT.  If, and if, and if.

Finally getting that degree at the University of Virginia.

None of those things happened, and my life yet again went down a different path.  And yet another few paths.  

And here I am now.  Forty-two, and at another Robert Frost crossroads.

What am I trying to say?  Not to have dreams?  Not to follow your dreams?

Of course not.

What I'm trying to say (and remind myself every day) is follow your dreams, but don't let them rule you to where you're miserable if they don't come true.  Dreams are everywhere.  A "failure" can actually be the beginning of a path to a huge Dream.

I'd like to challenge you (any myself!) to make a jar like the photo at the top of this post.  Write down your dreams, no matter how big or how small or how inconceivable they may be to you.  And when you're down, pull out those dreams, and think about where they are now in the path you're taking.

Trees in a state park near where I live.

Has one now become now longer important?  Has one led to the pot of gold at the end of that Dream?  Are there now things you see you can do to make a Dream come true?

I want to find out.


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.


  1. Kudos to you, Lori for having the courage to (1) identify your dreams and (2) follow them! What I have found is that sometimes the journey to discoving and following youe dream IS the dream, after all.

  2. Anonymous12:24 PM

    I am doing that. Right now. What an awesome idea Lori! You're a genius :)

  3. Wow, lovely post! It will make me think deeply,...which is a good thing - I think! ;)

  4. In the "Bridges of Madison County", Clint delivered a line that went something like: The Old Dreams were Good Dreams. They didn't work out, but I am Glad I had them.
    That thought has saved me so many times when I reflect on how things didn't go as I had hoped. I live in my head and am a big dreamer, but can deal with reality. And I often reflect, like you, about what became of paths that were never a part of the dreams. And they were usually positive paths. No Big Bad Wolves waiting for me. My daughter asked me this week if my life is like I imagined it. I said no. I pictured something 180 degrees from what it is, but I always kept my options open. I was not rigid in what my future would be. That has made all the difference. Flexibility is one of the more important traits to possess. I like the dream jar idea. I think each of us in the family will make one. It is something all ages can do. And we will see what dreams come true and what dreams were altered and which ones never had a chance.
    I am ending this mini-book now :-) Didn't mean to write so much.

  5. Wow Lori - what a concept. I like it. That does mean soemthing and I am really going to have to think about it. We all have taken different paths than we thought we would take and some have led to wonderful things and some to dead ends, but they were wonderful paths to follow. I love the idea of writing down dreams and putting them in a jar. I also like your stories about your dreams and how they changed or went on a different path. Thank you for sharing because they mean so much to me and I am sure to a whole lot of other people. Keep dreaming girl and I can't wait to see where your dreams take you!

  6. This is a great perspective on dreams Lori! And in fact now that you have me thinking about it, I bet if I made 2 jars, one with dreams and ones fulfilled I would bet, no I'm sure the last one would be much fuller and not because all of my dreams come true, but like you said there would be dreams fulfilled that I did not realize were dreams until they happened. Thanks Lori, my dream cup is now half full!

  7. Lori,

    Funny thing, I also went back to school to be a doctor and realized it wasn't what I really wanted. It was a valuable experience, though, and made me who I am today.

    This post is just spot-on. Dreams should lift us up, not oppress us or destroy is. We should be flexible, adaptable, and definitely have multiple dreams.

    Exactly what I needed to read today!

    -- Sarah

  8. I had a dream to become an actress, and trained, starting at age 10.
    Then, instead, as an adult, I got married right out of college and had my first of my five sons at age 26. I continued to have and care for my children while becoming a nursery school teacher and a bodybuilder. When I remarried and had our sons who need special ed, I reached a zenith--dream wise. I learned--and so did my husband--that caring for our family is the most important job --that giving love is the most important dream--and that we don't just have to hog it for our own family. We can have plenty for other people and never run out.

    xox jean

  9. What an inspirational post. I am a firm believer that every thing in life happens for a reason and there are always hidden agendas, journeys, and meanings behind everything that crosses our paths. And you are so right - whilst we let one opportunity pass, the next may just be a hidden reality waiting to become a "dream come true".

  10. Wonderful post. Gives me lots to think about. Sometimes it's hard to have a dream because of my fear of failure, but this gives me another way to think about it.

  11. This is another great reminder that sometimes we get what we need. Not necessarily what we want.

    Good thought. - Kathy

  12. Sounds like a good idea, but some of my dreams simply can't happen without a true miracle. I csn only hope.

  13. Another quote I like to remember about this goes something like "you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need"

  14. Reading your posts always leaves me feeling as if I've learned something valuable. Whether it is something new, something I need to be reminded... or just that there is an amazing human being out there kind enough to share a piece of herself with us. Thank you, Lori, for sharing yourself. You always make me think and some days as I struggle to remember I'm more than just a mommy robot, I really need that.

  15. I enjoyed reading this, Lori! Very cool to see some photos of your progress through life and decisions! A nice reminder to keep those dreams alive and add new ones.

  16. Lori - I hear and can completely relate to this post. My life is totally different than I planned it 20 years ago... and yet it's been an exciting adventure and I don't regret the lessons at all. The chorus from the song, "The Way It Goes" by Gloriana (country) has become my new theme. There are other phrases that I've learned at a deeper level, but at a light level, I love these lyrics...

    "Ain’t that the way it goes,
    Always stumbling into something,
    Life’s an open road,
    You gotta take it,
    If you just let go,
    Lose your way to find that one thing
    You’ve been missing…
    You almost missed it all"

  17. That is an awesome idea. That sounds great for a pick-me-up. It is nice to realize you don't HAVE to do something you don't want to anymore, that you can change your life.

  18. Thanks for the post, it's a good reminder that we are not in charge

  19. I believe to deny a dream is to deny a part of ourselves. Dreams are an instant connection to our unconscious. This is a great way to stay connected to our dreams.

  20. Oh Lroi, another great post. And what a wonderful idea that jar is!

  21. oh wow, a good motivator for me. just when I have been feeling my lowest about one of my dreams, this, your reminder, to help me not take it all so seriously and to just let go and let it flow. thanks for this.

  22. Great reminder! (Well, not the part about realizing during Organic Chem that I wasn't cut out for med school, but that is where I met my husband so it was worth it.) I think it's a good attitude to have where you let yourself dream, but you stay open for other opportunities. Thanks, Lori!

  23. When I was in college, I loved to read real life crime stories (Helter Skelter, In Cold Blood etc). Thought I wanted to be in forensics - CSI (before CSI)type crime solving. I could walk into a room and say it was a left hand shooter with a hitch in his gait. THEN, I discovered I had to study a lot of science subjects to do that kind of work. So, instead I became a Sociology major and got a job as a Fed. Never even thought about or dreamed that I could become a jewelery artist or that I even had one creative ounce of energy in me. Is is possible for a dream to find you? Cause honestly I feel like that is how it worked for me.

  24. A "failure" can actually be the beginning of a path to a huge Dream.

    Today I will focus on this (and make a dream jar). Thank You!


  25. Anonymous3:50 PM

    This is such a great post. I am at a BIG "cross roads" stage of life at the moment and I needed to read every word you just wrote! Thank you =)

  26. This is a great post and so what I needed to hear right now...I am starting to see the light at the end of this long tunnel I have been in regard to my personal situation at home. It is getting better...and I am starting to dream again with the intent of making it plural.

    Great to come back and get such an uplifting story...hugs to you!

  27. Having been compelled by these stories, I now need to know the story of how you went from military to med school - to creative type!

    What happened in between? I'd love a post on That story! ;)

  28. Lorithe honest truth is YOU need to write a book about your journey it would be a best seller.
    Thanks for such a thoughtful post. You are an awesome soul a great mother "Man can make his plans, but GOD orders his steps"
    Be blessed to be a blessing

  29. Anonymous5:42 AM

    Behind every great post there's a great woman!

    Sometimes dreams can become obsessions and nightmares but we spent the whole life trying to make them true that we can't define ourserselves without them.
    Life is made of unpredictable things, is full of "what if..." and you are always open to welcome the change. This is the best attitude and also the best thing we can do to enjoy what we met during the journey.


  30. Thank you Lori!! your post is fantastic! you've done a lot of things, (pretty things) and have a lot to do .. i needed to read something like that! thank you!

  31. I really don't think that I could do a dream jar as my dream has always been to have an interesting life and I have. And I am open for more.

  32. Such a lovely post Lori. Great food for thought for me at the moment.


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