I am guilty of being a “someday” dreamer.
I have no shortage of wild, beautiful, and probably mostly attainable dreams. My mind is always full of ideas, hopes, and inspirations. I know how I would like life to look. I can picture it all clearly in my head, and in the midst of the daydream, I think THIS IS IT. This can happen. I will make this happen.
But in nearly three decades of life, there’s something unpleasant I’ve discovered about myself. For all the thousands of times I’ve said “someday”, in many cases that someday never came. I never accomplished those wild dreams. A lot of times, I never even tried.
To be honest, I am not a very motivated person. I tend to be the laid-back, take-life-as-it-comes type. While this can be a good quality in some situations, in my case it simply means that I have let countless dreams slip through my fingers, because I have not put in the hard work.
For most of my life, I didn’t let this flaw stop me from trying anyways. I would come up with a brilliant idea, and jump in with gusto, only to give it up a few weeks later when the magic had disappeared a little, and the reality of the nitty-gritty had set in. Being a solid optimist, this really didn’t bother me, as I always figured a better dream would come along, and eventually I would get my big break. Something would click.
Then the depression set in. The deep, life-sucking darkness that took over my life for several years.
The depression was caused by many life circumstances, and I plan to write about it in detail at some point. Those who have struggled with mental illness like this know how it affects every area of life. For me, one of the most devastating affects was the way it shook my lifelong optimism. All of a sudden, nothing seemed attainable. I could hardly keep decent food on the table for my children, much less accomplish a lifelong goal like writing a book or living internationally.
I began to scoff at my former self and her dreams. What an idealistic child I had been!
I was embarrassed by all I had not accomplished. I was bitter towards others who had been stumbling blocks in my way. I blamed them, I blamed myself. Oh, how my soul ached. The burden was so heavy. Worst of all, I began to doubt my own worth. I felt that I had been little good to anyone (funny how lies from the pit of hell can make a person think that years of faithful marriage, bringing new souls into the world, and fostering and adopting medically-needy children is all of a sudden “little good”).
That long, intense journey is worthy of many posts of it’s own, so I won’t share all the details here. I’ll just jump right ahead and share the happy ending. After years of both my husband and myself struggling with deep anxiety and depression, we felt like 2018 was going to be “The Year of Breakthroughs”. And, by the never-ending grace of God, it has been. At every turn, we breathe in fresh air–great gulps of oxygen that heal and nourish our worn-out souls.
Oh, reader, if I could only explain in words the relief my mind has felt at being set free from the gripping fear and darkness. God is so abundant in His mercy.
As the shackles of hopelessness began to fall away, a new sort of dream started to take root in my heart. I began to dream of being a finisher. A completer. An accomplisher. With full acknowledgment of the character flaws within myself that will make this more challenging, I started taking leaps. OK, sometimes leaps, and sometimes just tiny tiptoes in the right direction.
As my mind awakened, my husband became my biggest motivator.
Jordan has always believed in me. He somehow sees more in me than I have ever seen in myself. From the early days of our relationship, when 17-year-old me told him all about my plans to be a writer, he has had absolutely zero doubt that I would be. He has told me that nothing makes him happier than seeing me come alive with new dreams.
In recent years, Jordan has become the part of my brain that seems to be missing. The motivation I need to just do it. Start it. Keep going once I start. Recognize that dreams take work — real, hard, nitty-gritty work. Jordan sees that this type of motivation doesn’t come naturally to me, so lately he has come alongside and literally taken the first step with me, sometimes surprising me with the simplicity of that one action.
Early this year, we took the kids to a children’s museum in a town an hour or so away. After exhausting ourselves and our kids with a full day of exploring, learning, and playing, we stopped at a favorite downtown coffeeshop for a little caffeine to get us through till bedtime. Jordan ran in to get the coffee, and when he came back, he said there was a mural I had to see. We drove back around the block, and he pointed it out, painted on the brick side of an old building.
“Day One or One Day. You decide.”
People, those few words changed my life. It felt like the culmination of a lifetime of trying to figure this out. From my young life of grand dreams but few actions, to the past few dark years of nearly giving up dreaming all together. This stunningly simple quote put it all into perspective. I could continue to say “One day I will…” and “Someday we should…”. Or I could change my entire vocabulary. My entire life.
And so I am choosing Day One. We–my husband, my family, myself–we are choosing to make this day one.
We are choosing to stop saying “someday”, replacing it with “today”. We are looking at all the things we thought we would do when the kids are older or when we’re empty-nesters, and deciding we can make those things happen now. I am looking at the habits I’ve been hoping to break for years, and deciding I can start to break them today. The things I’ve been wanting to change about our house or our lifestyle or my own character–I can work towards those changes now.
I don’t have to be a “someday” dreamer anymore. I can be a “today” accomplisher.
This mindset change did not happen automatically. Old habits die hard, sometimes we can’t afford to do things right away, and often it is necessary to look at a dream practically and recognize that it just won’t work in our lives at this time. Those things are okay. Because now that I have a new outlook on life, I feel such hope. Goals that used to seem impossible now look very doable. I’ve stopped doubting my worth and started validating the work I do–even if it doesn’t make any money or touch millions of lives. It matters.
When I decided to start this blog (a dream I had been saving for “someday”), I spent days brainstorming a name and trying to narrow it down to a specific niche. When I remembered that powerful quote that changed everything for me, it became the natural choice for a blog name. This is what it’s all about. Our life, my writing, this journey of ours that I will be sharing. Big or small, life-changing or sweet and simple–the decisions we make are now being filtered through this decision to stop waiting around for life to happen.
Life happens today, friends. This is day one.
Are you a dreamer? How have you accomplished your dreams?
More posts you might like:
Choosing Day One – About Us
How To Not Settle Down – Staying Adventurous After Marriage and Kids
Our Love Story