Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dreaming and Cleaning

As my 40th birthday is gearing up to sucker punch me in the stomach, I'm finding myself pondering the dark and cobwebby corners of my life.

Yet another place I haven't cleaned in quite some time. If I was being honest with you, I'd tell you that I really haven't done a good cleaning since the big 3-0. But admitting that in a public forum would be stupid.

So what have I found as I've been dusting out the cobwebs of my mind? A whole lot of stuff. I am apparently a bit of a pack rat in my mental life as well.

I suppose that's why God invented 40th birthdays. Well, in today's world. Statistically, 200 years ago God invented 40th birthdays for my children to remember to put a spring of flowers on my grave to mark the anniversary of my death. And that, my friends, can really put everything into perspective for a person who's whining about turning 40 when she actually should be thanking God for modern medicine and well, heck, the discovery of a thing called germs.

But about this cleaning of my cranium.

There's a lot of stuff up there in the 'future dreams and aspirations' corner. I couldn't believe what I've found. Just when I think I found the last of it, more unattained dreams appear out of nowhere.

Lest you think I'm about to publish these unmet aspirations, fear not. I may be old, but I'm not as stupid as I look. Telling you that my dream of traveling to Prince Edward Island so I could kneel at the window in Anne's room in the house of Green Gables, pretending that a storm is raging and realizing that I really do love Gilbert...yet he's dying....SOB! a dream from about 25 years ago, so I don't even know why that's still up here anyways. Should have gotten rid of it when I took that last load of stuff out.

The point is that I've had a lot of dreams that I thought would be realized by my 40th birthday. And they haven't. I'm discovering things I haven't thought about in years. 40th birthdays seem to have a way of doing that. All of a sudden, life seems to be gaining speed at an atrocious speed and I'm starting to get a bit carsick.

The other thing I'm discovering is that I dreamed about a lot of 'things', like a big fancy house or a 10 year old minivan. And I'm finding that letting go of these dreams is pretty easy. They aren't really that important to me anymore and it's easy to toss them out my left ear and keep on sorting.

It's the personal things and accomplishments that I lament over. I find myself mulling over them at length, thinking about when those dreams started and why I haven't fulfilled them. Where life has taken me and the reasons they remain a dream not realized.

I've had to throw out a dream or two. Let's face it. I'm never going to be doctor. Some dreams I've polished up, taken a hammer to, and banged out their dents. Some I've picked up, smiled at and lovingly put back on the shelf, knowing that it's yet not their time but they will one day have their day in the sun.

I've pulled a few out and placed them on my 'to do' list. Given myself a stern talking to and told myself there will be no beer at the end of the day if I don't start working on them. I'm a mom. I know how to motivate a person.

And I'm learning to be grateful for some dreams left unfulfilled. Now that I'm old and wise, I can look back and see that some unfulfilled dreams have led me down new paths that have allowed other dreams to flourish.

So I'm off to make waffles for my brood. Which is pretty fantastic. I just remembered that for years I had a dream of standing in a kitchen in our own home, listening to music as I made brunch for the family. Peace. Sun streaming through the window. Coffee brewing. A simple moment in time that for years I never though would happen.

I think that's what I'll do next. Make a list of dreams fulfilled.

I know it will be a long list.

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