Ever find yourself excited about an off the wall idea or dream, only to have someone squash the dream with a simple arch of the eyebrow? We have all been there at some point in life. Many have their reasons for plucking the dream from the clouds. A friend may claim they are looking out for YOUR best interest, a parent reminisces about the ridiculous plans they once had, or maybe a work rival pokes holes in your idea to entice that small inkling of insecurity to make it’s entrance. Why do we let our dreams go? Is letting go of a dream part of the growing up process or does it get too hard to hold on?
When I was a girl, I had dreams of being a professional ice skater, a lounge singer, and a professional flutist in the Disney Orchestra. Though I may not be living those dreams exactly, the dreams have taken on a different growth of their own.
My ice skating dream took shape when I was a young girl. I use to ice skate in the local city pond in a small town along the Maine coast. I remember going to the pond with my brothers and my hands shaking with excitement as I laced up my white skates. Sliding across the ice was like flying. I perfected skating backwards, but always feared that I would fall and break a bone or crash blindly into someone. I will always remember skating on that city pond in Brunswick. It’s a lovely memory that I visit from time to time. For some reason, I never pursued the dream of ice skating professionally. When I really think about it, I know it is partially due to the immense hours of rigorous training that would be required, which I spent finessing my skills on the flute. Of course, the cost was a huge factor. Frankly, I was not a fan of those frilly sequin outfits. I eventually out grew those white ice skates when my family moved to the West coast. Sometimes, I catch myself watching the kids twirl around at the Lloyd Center Mall skating ring, sparking memories of my time in Maine. Though that dream never took shape, I find that the memories from that dream are just as fulfilling and still part of my childhood. As an adult, I am not afraid to admit that watching professional ice-skating is now one of my guilty pleasures. Watching keeps the memory of the dream alive, but also creates acceptance that it was never meant to be.
My other two dreams can be morphed into one: music. My adversion to smoke quicktly extinguished my visions of being a lounge singer in a smoky bar. Pursuing a spot in the Disney Orchestra took a nosedive early on in my junior high school years. As jazz came into my life, I decided I didn’t want to be limited to just classical music. I had the opportunity to play alto saxophone in my 8th grade jazz band. One month before school started, I taught myself the basics. As co-chair for lead alto, my friend and I dueled over the featured alto sax solo on a “Whole New World.” It was quite the deal back then, but we eventually took turns. I became more involved in playing jazz and figuring out exactly what John Coltrane was trying to say. Jazz was a foreign language to me. Its pulsing notes represented emotions and places, intertwining into a phrase that was a continuously changing puzzle. My ears eventually started to understand, though the theory to this day does not always connect with my hands. I still study jazz here and there; it led me to another destination, indie rock music. Huh? Yes, indie music.
If you would have told me a few years ago that I would be playing flute it numerous rock bands, I would have said you were crazy. I am a recovering classical and jazz snob. I fully admit it. It was definitely a result of studying at a traditional music school through college. Ingesting other types of music has opened up my playing to new levels and allowed my musical ear to grow in ways that I never considered. For me, playing flute in the indie genre is a much better reality than the Disney Orchestra could have been for me.
So though my dreams might not be exactly as my 7 year old self envisioned, my grown up versions fit perfectly with my 33 year old self. I often remind myself that I might be living someone else’s dream, so I should cherish the reality that I am living everyday. What were your childhood dreams? How have they changed to fit who you are? Or, if you are living your childhood dream, is it what you thought it would be?