Here’s the Thing: What’s in a dream?

In childhood we want to stuff our face with candy, but we need veggies, protein, and calcium to grow properly. Very boring. As a teenager we need structure and goals, but we want freedom and fun. That is probably why teenagers are my spirit animal.

As adults we want a house, car, and a pet (or child) that loves us. If you want independence, usually you need a full time job. And around and around we go. The dust is settling and I’m wondering what it will look like to finally achieve some dream goals outside of that box. What does that look like?

You have people like my husband’s parents and my parents. Right when I thought they would settle down and be baking bread all day, they weave in and out of their middle age swinging.

They create new businesses, new career paths, take college courses, enjoy intense hobbies and find lifelong friends. They live youthful and it’s inspiring to watch. They text their buddies to keep each other in the loop. I’m like, put your phone down and look into my eyes when you speak, Grandpa. Don’t feed into peer pressure. Make good choices.

I have these amazing examples of people in my life that show me age knows no bounds. Maybe after years of working hard, dedication, and oftentimes survival, all that time will pay off and we can think about things beyond what’s right in front of us. What would that look like? Does that feel like admitting to an unsatisfactory life? Like, maybe I shouldn’t want more. But that’s ridiculous. You always have to start somewhere and I refuse to pigeon-hole myself into a corner.

I do have a specific “dream” in mind that I’ll keep vague. Through the years I’ve mainly flourished in the creative arts. I’m no mathematician, but I can throw a great party. Who would you rather hang out with? If you said the mathematician then move on. Five times five is pineapple.

In my case, like many women that furthered their education, I chose to raise a family. I get really smug when people say that ladies in my boat “ended up” as a mother and college was a waste. Maybe instead of declaring things like that just ask about how we use it to our advantage.

We did it and now offer our kids a doctor mom, teacher mom, and in my case, a visual merchandising mom that still uses her degree on an everyday level.

My home is visually fun, I enjoy decorating with our school’s PTA, and I’ve made visually appealing fliers for local organizations. We keep sharp, my friends. And you know what? Now that my kids are grown I’m absolutely reverting back to my degree and because I’ve been implementing it into our daily lives, after twelve years my degree doesn’t feel rusty at all.

I don’t know what possessed me to get married and have kids, but here we are. I worked for Nordstrom and Pottery Barn in Seattle and had my foot in the door as a paid visual merchandising intern, but home is home and Alaska is everything. Soon after that choice was made my daily life was spit-up on my shirt, days without taking a shower, and being excited that my newlywed husband is stuck at a job that couldn’t really handle a three person family.

Then we grew into a four person family, I was finally comfortable to ask my in-laws for help, and life felt a little more even-kilter. Currently, everyone has grown a lot, the kids are both in school, our job security isn’t a stressful topic, and we’ve attained a comfortable balance in life.

Granted we have a few more years until we have a teenager, but you know. We’re keeping pace. So naturally I’m not surprised my thoughts are going beyond my family and boomeranging right back to what I might actually want in life.

Here’s the thing: Like trying a new weight loss program, beginning in a new relationship, heading off to college, or having your first baby, starting a new dream feels just like that. Unknown territory, but hopeful. Staying positive and not being paralyzed by facts and statistics. Not being quite sure what will happen, but having enough drive to make it a positive experience.

We’re all stronger than we think. New beginnings mean you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone. We realize no reward comes without risk. Stress, disappointment, and failure are not monsters that dictate your life. They are just tools to learn from. Learn from your experiences. It’s ok to think, “what’s next?”

Maybe my dream will take a year or two or not at all. Instead of worrying, let’s be like Grandpa, weaving in and out of life swinging.

Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at columnkasi@gmail.com.

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