On second thought, don’t just untuck — unbutton and strip. No one has to see. There is something very powerful about letting those dreams from childhood or even recent-hood come forth and take shape on paper.
Remember, and this is important, no one has to see.
So what are they? If there were no limits on time, money, body shape, talent, or space-time what would you do? Who would you be? I’d be a popstar. I can’t sing, not very well anyway, and I am a good twenty pounds overweight. In fact I’d be a popstar with Hollywood hair and twerking skills (something middle aged and older white suburban women should never attempt, in my opinion).
1. What is your deepest darkest desire?
2. How much money do you make?
3. What do you look like?
4. Where do you live?
5. What is your daily life like for your dream-self?
6. What are you wearing when you accept your Academy Award, Pulitzer, Nobel, blue ribbon for your jellies and jams?
7. Write you acceptance speech.
8. Write your back cover bio.
9. Do not hold back
Now enjoy those visions. Accept them. Revel in them. Don’t try and protect yourself by ratcheting down your dreams. We all do what we have to do to keep everyone fed, dressed, happy, and the litterbox clean. That doesn’t mean you can’t keep your dreams alive. I know I’ll never be a popstar and if I really had the chance I don’t think I would really want to live the paparazzi ridden lifestyle. Somedays Facebook feels like too much exposure.
But what if I had the opportunity and I didn’t take it? What if I took it and failed? Which is better? Which would I want to live with? I’d rather have tried and failed.
Actually, I have, several times in fact. Indulge me in the recounting of my shining moment of failure. It is a long and twisting tale full of luck and chance meetings. I’ll try and keep it short.
Once upon a time I was a child growing up in a small idyllic town near the Poconos where several residents commuted to NYC where they were actors, artists, and writers.
I dreamed of going into the city to write for soap operas and return to relax in town on the weekends. At that time, in the seventies, the soaps were still filmed in NYC. Then I forgot about those dreams.
Years later I would become a theater major, meet a director from NYC during a stint in summer stock, then re-meet him thirteen years later at a college where we were both teaching. He left his teaching position to become the producer of Days of Our Lives in LA. So what the hell? I emailed him. Need a writer?
In the end I had a whirlwind six months of Fed-Ex envelopes containing top secret story lines, learning screenwriting software on the fly, and writing a sample script for a future episode.
I had no real desire to live in LA but as I told my husband, who was very uncertain and not at all supportive, I would jump off that bridge if and when I came to it.
I was shortlisted for the job with two others and it was ultimately given to a veteran soap writer. But the calls from LA! The packages from Burbank! I loved every stressful minute of it. Would I stick my neck out again and ask for another opportunity to possibly fail and even look like a fool to a group of professionals? Yes. Is it easy for me to do? No. It is terrifying.
Untuck. Go dream. If you are really daring – do something in the direction of one impossible dream.