This post contains coarse language which may be offensive to some readers.
I used to dream big. Until I grew up. Adulthood is where my dreams died.
Lately, I've had inklings of creative momentum percolate through my brain. I can't deny this desire to be more than a rat in a race.
But it seems so hard to extricate myself from the consumerist box. Convenient as it is, it’s trapped me in purposeful ignorance, knowing distraction. I get annoyed at shoppers who leave their cart in the middle of an aisle at Costco. I get impatient if I have to wait at too many red lights. Does it really matter? Trivial. Some people don't even have indoor plumbing or enough food to eat.
I get asked for money often. From telemarketers. From people knocking at my door. From panhandlers. Sometimes I donate, usually I don't. It's hard enough to make ends meet. Just leave me alone is what I often feel. I can't give to everyone. Don't make eye contact with street people is an attitude I'm guilty of.
I think of a walk I took downtown, emerging from skyscrapers' shadows to a beautiful autumn sun. A homeless man approached me. I made an effort to look him in the eye. Acknowledge his humanity.
“Could you spare any change, man?”
I usually don't carry cash in this tap/swipe/PIN world. “Sorry, I don't have any,” I replied, offering a handshake. “You gonna be alright, man?”
He looked at me, worked-in ball cap, sallow eyes and said with resignation: “Yeah, I'll figure it out.”
I wondered what he was going through. How he arrived at that point in his life. Could have been me. Or you. Any of us. Who knows?
I sit too much. I sit in front of a screen all day at work. I sit when I write. I sit when I read. Sedentary sloth. I started running again. I go early in the morning. Get it over and done with. Keep turning over those knees. One time, I ran under the light of a supermoon. A hazy glow around a big full moon and this feeling came out—like I was dreaming. Like I was nine years old. I wonder about things.
How have my kids grown up so quickly? How did I get to be in my forties? It feels like yesterday when I walked home from school with my little brother, whipping snowballs at passing cars. It feels like yesterday when a motorist stopped, gave us an earful and put us in our place.
I wonder why we're here.
My cat jumps on my lap and purrs as I type. She's cuddly and goofy—past the kitten stage but still very playful. I assign human-like qualities to her behaviour. She's a lovely companion. I place her on the floor as she distracts me from writing. She jumps up. I put her back. “Okay, Willow,” I say, “let me write.” She stays on the floor for now. She eyes me, hops up again and kneads her paws in my lap. “Okay, Willow,” I repeat, “just let me type.” She rests on my lap, keeping me warm and lets me think.
I sigh. Drink some tea. Gotta piss. I hear the analog clocks tick, keeping time in syncopated rhythm. The furnace kicks in. I get up. Empty my bladder.
Getting back to dreaming big. No one ever made anything of themselves by sitting on the sidelines. That novel's not gonna write itself. That short story needs some polishing. Hmm … I need to write. No matter what. What's that? Dream big? Maybe I could.
Keep writing. Finish that novel. Enter that contest. Keep pitching those editors.
A tiny voice says: “Live realistically. Get back in that box.”
Fuckin' box. Screw the box. Don't tell me what I can't do. Don't tell me it's against the odds. Don't tell me to colour inside the lines. Don't tell me to paint by the numbers.
Sit up straight. My back hurts. Too much sitting, again. Get up and stretch. Take a break. Let the creative juices percolate. Drip, drip. Get outside. Talk to someone. Network. Go live your life.
I want to dream big. Like when I was a kid. Before I was told to stop looking out that window, to stop daydreaming. Before I was told to sit up straight and mind my manners.
I want to write. To inspire people with stories that make us want to share our humanity. To be kinder, gentler to one another. To make people feel like, Whoa—that was awesome! and go tell all their friends to read that damned book.
So I'll start to dream big again, one step at a time. Keep turning over those knees.
Adulthood is where my dreams have returned.