Webster’s Dictionary defines a dream as:
1) a series of thoughts, images, or emotions occurring during sleep
2)an experience of waking life having the characteristics of a dream
3) something notable for its beauty, excellence, or enjoyable quality
4) a strongly desired goal or purpose
Most of us have had dreams in our life both in the sleeping sense and the strongly desired goal. Some people can even be characterized as “dreamers”- people whose visions and goals are so high that they seem unattainable. Some reach their aspirations, some do not.
For me, having a dream is an important part of who I am. I have always set goals- some of them short term, some of them lofty. I come from a family of dreamers. My great grandparents dreamed of escaping the nightmare that awaited them as Jews in Italy. My grandfather dreamed of building his own sailboat. My grandmother dreamed of writing a memoir. My mom (Cara Mamma the Elder) dreams of leading groups of people on cooking tours through Italy. My dad (Papi the Brain) dreams of being a conductor at the Metropolitan Opera House or using his boat to cross the Atlantic Ocean (These are the dreams that I think my parents have..I could be wrong. Oh wait, I am rarely wrong.)
My dreams… I dreamed as a young girl of becoming a news reporter (I would still love this) or an astronaut (hard to do when science is not your forte’) –and then of becoming a teacher (phew, I was able to do this one!). I dreamed later on about becoming a mom (a bit challenging, but I can check the done box there too). I dreamed of running a marathon (also challenging- and also done).
The key to each of those dreams was family, love, and passion. My grandmother’s memoir could not have been published had it not been for the love of her family. My dream of running a marathon would not have come true had it not been for the encouraging voice of Cara Mamma the Elder or Papi the Brain as I recounted the miserable training runs round and round a lake, in tears.
The key to a dream I think is the feeling that despite all obstacles, you can be successful. There are so many potential road blocks on the path to any dream: family, finances, skills, you name….it can be a little bump or a huge mountain to overcome. For me, the key to my dreams has been my family and friends. Sometimes a dream can be accomplished without the help of others, but in many (and I would argue) most cases, lofty dreams require the support of those around you. You need a shoulder to cry on when things are not going your way, or a sounding board to problem solve with.
I was lucky to have everything I needed around me to help me reach my goals. In the novel, Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok, Kimberly and her mom had a dream of coming to America to create a better life, but were faced with obstacles of family, language, and finances. Kimberly’s dreams at first were not encouraged or nurtured by some, but step by step, she made her way. The obstacles that Kimberly and her mom faced reminded me of the bumps in my road of life. I am a strong believer in the idea that things happen for a reason, so maybe the obstacles are designed to make us want our dream even more. Maybe obstacles help distinguish between dreams that are real and dreams that are more about fanciful wishes. Maybe, but in all honesty, crying as I circled the lake on those early Sunday mornings, did not feel all that good. I am not sure that the tears made me stronger. What made me stronger was me. My belief in myself propelled me to go back each Sunday. Sometimes, the answer is simple.
As Kwok writes, it is as simple as taking “a deep breath” and taking the step.
What is your dream? What obstacles do you face?
I received Girl in Translation from the Silicon Valley Mom’s Blog Book Club.