I’ve met some folks who say that I’m a dreamer
and I’ve no doubt there’s truth in what they say..
-Isle of Inisfree
Something my mother said a few nights ago really struck me. We were talking about a situation involving my kid sister and her boyfriend, and the dreams that both of them had for their future (which at that moment weren’t really matching up). During this conversation, my mother said that ultimately, at some point in life you just have to grow up and forget about your dreams, and move on to “real life”. That just struck me as an incredibly depressing statement. It’s no secret that I’ve always been a dreamer, my grandmother was one and she had a huge impact on the first 13 years of my life. My grandmother was in her 70s and she still talked about her dreams. They were as alive for her then as they were when she was in her 20s. That was something that always impressed me, her ability to dream no matter what, even when it was quite clear that she’d never achieve those dreams. Now, some people may see that as foolhardy, hanging onto dreams that will never come true, and admittedly, they do have a point in the practical sense. But I just can’t seem to bring myself to believe that we should just give up our dreams. I find the idea of a life without dreams extremely depressing and not worth living. Then again, I’m a dreamer…
My mother’s statement has been rolling around in my mind since that night. I often wonder about it, in the sense that she has always seemed to be supportive of our (her children) dreams. Outwardly she has always been supportive of my writing and photography, and whatever else takes my fancy. She supported me when I broke the news to her 7 years ago that I would not be going to college right out of high school, the college that I had two scholarships to. She supported me through my “wilderness” years where I pretty much floundered around as I tried to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do with the rest of my life (while the rest of my family scratched their heads and got a tad worried). She supported me when I decided to get my certificate in photography (which was what I was going to go to college for anyway). She supported me when I started writing for a few blogs and websites, and DIDN’T use that new certification in photography. She supported me when I decided to go back to college to pursue a double major in Psychology and Christian Ministries and was ecstatic when I achieved a 4.0 my first semester. She even supported me when I decided to take YET ANOTHER detour and take a break from school once again. AND she supported me yet again when I decided that I wasn’t cut out for psychology after all and decided to take this year as an exploration year to chase after that lifelong dream of mine: Writing… ultimately I suppose if you had to put me in a box, it’d have to be the “artist” box, and believe me, I use that term very lightly in reference to myself. Through everything, my mother supported me wholeheartedly….. At least that’s what I thought. It seemed like she did. Her words told me she did, but then she came out with that statement that night a few days ago and it left me wondering….Does she really support me? Or does she think I should give up the dreams and start doing something practical?
It’s hard to explain yourself to others, especially when they don’t look at life the same way you do. My parents have always been very practical people, the “you need a plan” kind of people. Don’t get me wrong, being practical isn’t a bad thing at all, in fact most of the time it’s downright necessary, and you definitely need some sort of a plan for life…. But that’s where my parents and I part ways on the ol’ outlook on life. I believe in being practical and having a plan, but I also believe in chasing and believing in your dreams. I’d rather spend the rest of my life scraping out a living chasing a dream, than to spend it doing something I hate or don’t enjoy. It’s a fate worse than death to me. That may sound ridiculous and naïve to some (I’m looking at you planners and realists). I consider myself quite practical and rational in most ways, but I do have quite a bit of dreamer in me that tends to be more dominant. I’m not much of a sharer by nature (which is why this blog is totally a step out of the ol’ comfort zone), if someone at a family reunion or at church asks me what I’m doing, I’ll most likely answer with a quick “nothing” or “not much”, rather than have to stand there and try to explain…. No I’m not kidding. This drives my mother crazy, to the point where if she’s with me, she’ll actually try and explain what I’m doing to whoever asked. It’s comical really. It’s been brought to my attention a lot lately that my family has absolutely no clue what I’ve been doing these last few years and what my plans are, to the point where they’re totally surprised when they stumble upon something I am doing or am planning to do. That’s absolutely my fault. Again, I’m not a sharer. I prefer to stick to myself. I’m not very good at boasting about my accomplishments and what not, I feel weird about it. Not to mention the fact that whenever you do start talking about such things, there’s always that inevitable “so what are your long term plans?” and then of course the disapproval or getting shot down thing. So I just make it a rule to keep my mouth shut most of the time, it saves time.
I brought up the thing about my mother answering for me, simply because I’ve always found it odd, her need to “explain me”. She does it a lot, and I’m sure she doesn’t even realize she’s doing it. You can tell that she’s trying her best to explain it in such a way that sounds like I’m being a normal human being and accomplishing loads, when I’m really not (normal that is). I’m quite positive that she wishes she had a normal kid who went off to college, got a degree, is currently working in the field of said degree, and is now either married with kids already or at least on the verge of being married….. Alas, I’m not. The topics of marriage and kids come up quite regularly these days. My mother married when she was 18, and has been a housewife and mother for roughly 26 years now. *Now before anyone freaks out, I’m in no way disrespecting or looking down on being a housewife or a mom, in fact it’s the hardest job out there and I have a great respect for those who do it, I’m just giving you background* I’m on the verge of turning 25 and have yet to get married or have children. There are definitely a few barbs (though most are not meant to be barbs, rather funny jabs) thrown my way on a regular basis because of this. The older I get, the harder it is to let those jabs roll off. But that’s a subject for a whole different post!
Anyway back to the subject at hand. I find myself wondering whether my parents really do support me in my dreams or if they would rather I’d drop them and just go out and be normal. My father is more straight forward, I know he’s totally worried that I’m going to be a loser and flounder the rest of my life, though I believe he wants to be supportive of my endeavors, it’s just that his practical nature and the way that he was raised is hard to argue with. But my mother, she’s harder to read. She’s supportive to my face, but I often wonder if she feels the same way in private/behind my back. It sucks when you don’t think the people you’re closest to support you. I can live without understanding, but it’s always nice to know someone supports you. I’d rather someone be straight forward and say “hey, I think you’re wasting your time” than pretend to support me, but in reality doesn’t. Like I said, it’s hard to read my mother. She and I are definitely birds of a different feather. I’ve always felt more like my dad, or at least closer in the sense that I think I’m more like him to a degree. I feel there’s an understanding between us, or at least I feel I understand him more. I love my mother dearly don’t get me wrong, I’m just not very good at reading her.
The truth of the matter is I feel that God has been taking me on this journey of exploration these past 7 years, and He’s not quite done yet. I know without a single doubt that I was not meant to go to college right out of high school. I’ve learned so much about myself and what I want in life over the last few years. I know I love photography, but I’m not sure I can make a living at it. I thought I could go get a degree in psychology because I’ve always been good with helping others and have a desire to do so. The degree in Christian Ministries would also allow me to help others and work in a field I feel passionate about. But here’s the thing, just because you’re passionate about something, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re cut out for it. I’ve tried the practical route. I’ve tried to make my own plans in life, but never thought to consult God while making those plans. But here’s the really amazing thing, which at the time I thought was downright awful: God kept throwing up road blocks and making dead ends to every single one of my plans and routes. He gave me a hellish summer to prove to me that I was not cut out to work in psychology full time, but with that, He also dropped a few surprises that reminded me of my real passion. He put a dream on my heart that I can’t ignore. It’s been there since I was a child. I always go back to it, and I find that every time I go back to it, another avenue opens up. It’s not practical right now, it won’t get me rich, heck it won’t even support me right now, but for a reason that only God knows, He wants me on this path. I just finally decided to listen and follow. None of my plans worked out, so maybe His will. ;) That’s why I’ve decided to take this year (2017) and just follow His lead. I’m not going to make my own plans or try to force things, I’m just going to walk down the path He has provided and see where it takes me. It’s not easy to trust and have faith when you can’t see the end result, BUT God is always faithful… You can take that to the bank. So I’m going to keep dreaming for a while longer, with God’s help, it just may pan out! ;) After all, why would He make me a dreamer with some big dreams if He didn’t intend to make good on them?
“If you don’t jump, you’ll never know if you can fly”- Miranda Lambert
Born and raised in Upstate NY, Liz is a freelance writer. She has written for websites, blogs, and magazines for the last 10 years. She works as a freelance writer and editor, as well as a proofreader and beta reader for several authors, all the while working on her first book.