(Writers Block) Dream a little bigger, darling

This article originally ran in issue 78:8 of the Moody Standard, on February 20, 2013 as an installment of the author’s bi-monthly column, “Writer’s Block” .

I’ve never been much of a dreamer. I’ve never had my head in the clouds, never been a castles-in-the-sky kind of girl. I didn’t grow up daydreaming about celebrity crushes or my future wedding dress, and over the past few years, I’ve started to notice more and more that I’m not a dreamer.

Now, I’m usually wary of quotations, since many of them get overused: especially of the “Live, love, laugh!” variety. But once in a while, something resonates. Recently, I was struck by the quote “Dare to dream a little bigger, darling.” I liked it. It had a ring to it, used the beautiful word “darling” and was part of a typographically-pleasing image on Pinterest.

I saved the photo and jotted down the quote. But as much as I liked it, it nagged at me. “Dare to dream a little bigger.” But what if I don’t feel like I dream at all? What if I’m so caught up in getting through the here and now that all my thoughts about the future are really only about the first few months following May?

A subtle fear crops up when I think about dreaming, or my perceived lack of it. It’s the fear of settling, of my future being less, somehow, because I’m incapable of dreaming. It’s a fear of never reaching my dreams — because they don’t exist.

But as much as I wish I could Google “how to dream,” maybe I’m better off redefining what’s ideal. While I don’t have big, specific, grand dreams, I do have ambitions. While I don’t have a clear vision of exactly what job I want to be doing in ten years, I do have a desire to find a place where I’ll be doing something I love.

Can I change, become a dreamer in the most-often used sense? Could I sit down tomorrow and dream about what I’ll be doing three years from now? Form that elusive five-year-plan in my mind and start chasing it? Dream bigger?

Unless I can do a Google search and find instructions, probably not. Not tomorrow, at least. Big dreams — of career and travel and successes and love —just aren’t in my DNA. But little ones are. I do have dreams and ambitions, they’re the kind for next week, for two months from now, for June.

Will I ever be a long-term, big-picture dreamer? Probably not. Will I learn how to dream bigger? Maybe. I’d like to. But for right now, I’ll be learning to pursue my short-term dreams and my right-now ambitions — and seeing where they lead me. I’ll be remembering that God has plans and a future for me, even if I’m
not a dreamer.

If you find yourself fretting about being what you aren’t, join me and stop. If you’re not a dreamer, accept it. And if you are, don’t ever feel bad about your inclination to peer around the sky above the clouds.

And, after all, the quote above was from “Inception,” and actually about bigger guns — so maybe I’ll just go to the shooting range.