Shifting dreams


Its funny, how your dreams change and evolve over time.

It seems like it was only a few sunsets ago that I was dreaming and yearning for motherhood.  More than anything, all I wanted from life was to have my own babies to hold and cherish.  My entire focus was on making that dream come true.  Diapers and stuffed bears and powder and blankies. That seemed like “the good life” to me.

And then for a while, my dreams were about having all five of us take a vacation together. Somewhere new and special.  Somewhere that seemed a little adventurous. That would be “the good life”, wouldn’t it? Taking the kids to Europe? Camping in the Canadian maritimes? We did those things, and they were fabulous.  The good life dreams still seemed elusive.

Along the way, “the good life” started to seem like it would be out there when we finally had enough money to relax a bit. Maybe we’d hit that point when the kids were grown up and our salaries had increased some. Maybe it would come when we finally paid off the mortgage.  I started to dream and wish for “new”.  A new couch, a new dishwasher, one of those new fridges with the automatic ice maker.  I still don’t have everything all shiny and new, but I definitely have enough. I have finally reached the point where an unexpected car repair doesn’t lead me to panic.

This morning I woke up in the pitch dark again.  To the sound of pouring, driving rain. Again.  The room was chilly, and damp. Even the dogs were sound asleep. I rolled to my side, pulling the blankets around my neck. “Just five more minutes,” my brain begged. “Just five.”  I didn’t want to get up in darkness again. I didn’t want to gulp down my coffee while checking my email. I didn’t want to drive for an hour through the flooded highways yet again, dragging my weary bones to work.

Retirement.  Ah, yes.  Won’t that be “the good life”?  To sleep through the darkness, and only get up when the sun is high?  To pull on flannel pants, and keep them on for the whole wet day? That’s my new “good life.”  A cold, driving rain, and me inside with the dogs and a blanket and a good book.

I guess its good to have dreams, right? Its good to be looking forward, to embrace the future with joy.  But I am trying to be careful about it at the same time.

Today I will slog through the traffic, endure the wet leaves and dark highway, strive for patience as the whole world tries to get to work at the same time.  I’ll feel my aching back and neck, and wish for my soft flannel pants.

Then I’ll get to my classroom, flip on the lights, feed the fish and get ready to greet the gang of giggling children who will rush in the door to chat with me.

Maybe this is actually “the good life” right now, and I’m right smack in the middle of it.

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12 thoughts on “Shifting dreams

  1. Not me! My dreams will never change. Just give me a jar of honey and a James Bond movie and I’m happy. And I always will be.

    I’m not going to grow up. Nope. Not me…but when I’m a little taller, everything will be just perfect…

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  2. I think dreaming is healthy, striving for goals we hope to achieve in our life. It is equally as wise to live in the moment we are in, soaking in all of the good this time brings to us. Sounds to me that you do a bit of both, a good balance I’d say!

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  3. You are absolutely right. Our dreams change constantly over the years, but what I’ve found is that even though they do, the new dreams seem just as good as the old ones. Sometimes even better, and more fulfilling.

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  4. I’m so much like you in this regard. But now that I am retired, I am painfully aware that this is the end and if the dreams aren’t happening now they probably won’t ever happen. I feel as if the roller coaster just went over the crest of the last hill and I am swiftly barreling down the steep incline to the exit ramp. So I’m trying to put on the brakes and live each day–relish each moment–because I know that my next dreams are heaven bound.

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  5. As a busy retiree, I am living the so-called “good life” that you dream of, Karen, and I have to say it is pretty good. I get to pull the covers up when it is pouring outside, put on my sweats and sit all day at the computer, writing what I want (instead of what some editor tells me to) to my heart’s content. I am putting together my memoirs right now and it is good. I can only see that happening to you, too. And I also see you relishing and reveling in being a grandmother when those blessings come your way. I have to say it’s probably the best thing that ever happened to me and made turning 60 well worth it. For now, enjoy the “good life” of teaching, too. I do miss those great interactions with the kids that I enjoyed in so many different ways. And when you retire, you can still teach at a senior college (something I am getting involved with here in Maine). Just enjoy every moment and you will continue to see that the good life is all around you, every day…just continue to savor and enjoy it!

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    • Nancye, I have to say, you were one of the people on my mind when I wrote this post! Although we hardly know each other in “real” life, I feel like you are one of the people I look to when I think about retirement. Still growing, still having fun, still embracing every minute. Thanks for the support and encouragement!

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  6. Having lost my dad young I don’t feel I can rely on tomorrow so while I still dream I tend to dream short term.
    Like yourself my dreams have evolved but without them I’d never see how far I’ve come in life. I do enjoy dreaming though.

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