I am My Own Dream Catcher

Dreamcatcher Image, by Christina StumphToday I took a risk and it scared the crap out of me.

For the most part, I don’t consider myself much of a risk taker. I’m a methodical planner. I hope for the best, but  prepare for the worst. But the reality is we can be as prepared as possible, and it doesn’t mean a thing. ANYTHING can happen. There are no guarantees. There is no 100%.

I used to let fear of rejection rule my destiny. I was caught in a paralyzing cycle of wanting, dreaming, and preparing, followed by never taking action, and then always wondering “what if.” It’s depressing, and nothing ever happens.

And then I worked my ass off (and I still am) to learn an art and start and grow a business. And then my fear of rejection turned into a fear of rejection with a side of emotional investment. Being rejected when it’s tied to whether or not you can put food on the table is no joke. Add being rejected after you feel like you have built somewhat of a personal relationship with people, and it’s enough to make you want to go fetal.

Now I have learned, albeit the hard way, to have a thick skin. As I said to one of my friends lately, for every 100 people you please, one will never be pleased. Not everyone is meant to get along or see eye to eye. That’s just life, babe, so get out there and chase your dreams! MAKE it happen!

Which is exactly why I took a risk today.

Someone whom I, and many people who will read this, admire greatly posted on Facebook that she is looking for freelance designers. At first I was giddy with excitement. It could be me! And so I started to respond. And the fear took over. What if she thinks my work sucks? I deleted my comment. And then I re-wrote it. And deleted it. And then I thought, what is the worst that could happen? She’ll say “no thank you.” And I’ll survive, knowing that I took a risk. I put myself out there, and that is something to be proud of.

And I’ll never have to worry about “what if.”

So, with shaky hands and a hopeful heart, I responded.

Because I am my own dream catcher.

How would your life be different if you had, or had NOT taken a risk?

Eight Hopes and Dreams for Two Kids

It occurred to me around Mother’s Day that I have never really sat down and thought about my hopes and dreams for my kids. Of course, I want the obvious things that we all want for our kids – health, happiness, etc, but I’ve never participated in any deeper reflection, because, frankly, in general, it’s just not what I do. But I am making an effort to more fully enjoy life and appreciate all that I have, which I think requires reflection, so here we go.

1. Most of all, I wish for you both to experience true love. Even if you can’t keep it, although I hope you do, I want to know how it feels to love someone so deeply, you would go to the ends of the Earth for them.

2. I know this sounds really crazy, but I hope that you experience heartbreak, and I know you will. It will come in the form of disapointment at not getting chosen first in gym class. It will come in the form of teen angst when the boy or girl you like doesn’t like you back. It will come in the form of anger when we can’t send you to private college and we make you start at the community college. I promise you will survive, even though you think your chest has been cracked open. You will even be better because of it! And you know I am always going to be here to lend an ear. And probably also unsolicited advice.

3. This is another crazy one, but I hope you experience some struggle. Not the kind that kills your soul and makes you heartless and jaded, but the kind that makes you stronger, and better able to appreciate the beauty and joy that surrounds you. If you work for what you have you will never be sorry.

4. Speaking of beauty and joy, I hope that you truly appreciate the beauty of your life. Find beauty in the mundane, in the quirky, and in the grief. It is how you will get through life and move on.

5. I hope you are able to exhibit self control and the ability to step back and just breath. Enjoy without over-indulging. Make good choices in the face of pressure. Sometimes the most effective thing we can do is nothing.

6. Have the strength to chase your dreams and never give up. Also have the strength to realize sometimes dreams change, and that’s okay. If it’s your dream (not my dream, your grandparents’ dream, or your significant others’ dream) chase it, and help those you love chase their dreams too.

7. Although it is great to have your family and a significant other for support, make sure you have the ability to be self-sufficient. Get an education. Get a job. Don’t depend on other people without some sort of a backup plan. Shit happens, and you need to be prepared to take care of yourself.

8. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you. Okay, it does matter what *I* think of you! I think you are great. You were put on this planet, in this time, for a reason. Be kind to yourself so you can fulfill all you were meant to be.

What are your hopes and dreams for your kids?