Today marks my last post here on 8 Women Dream. My year of dreaming is up and I’ve been planning my departure for awhile now, and thought I would share what I’ve experienced. It’s no coincidence that I have a list of 8 things I’ve learned from 8 Women Dream.
Lesson #1: Write it down.
I’ve never been a list maker, and although I’ve been devoted to journaling for extended stretches of my life, it’s always been sporadic. After two years of writing regularly every week, I realize that not writing regularly is part of what separates me from my dreams. If you ever stop to pay attention to what goes through your mind in any five-minute stretch, you’ll probably know what I mean. It’s like this cartoon that recently made the rounds on Facebook, except it’s not limited to trying to sleep:
Lesson #2: The late, lamented Ray Bradbury was right.
He said that what made him a writer was not talent, but the practice of writing every single day, and of leaving off at a point where he knew exactly where to start the next day. Unfortunately for me, 8 Women Dream only needed me to write every week. That was definitely an improvement over never writing, but it wasn’t enough to make me an habitual writer. I now know from personal experience that it’s got to be every day. And every day is a big commitment.
Lesson #3: Dreaming is a creative act.
In a live performance orecorded on her album Miles of Aisles, Joni MItchell listened to the crowd for a moment as they called out favorite songs. Then she said aloud: “I bet no one ever said to Vincent Van Gogh, ‘paint a Starry Night again, man.’ He painted it, and that was it.” She was musing on the fact that no creative act is repeatable. You can’t just do it again. Hence my dream has evolved and changed over the two years I’ve been here, and I’m okay with that. It’s not about achieving something for me. To be perfectly trite about it, it’s the journey.
Lesson #4. Dreaming by itself is not engaging to other people.
Who cares whether I talk to my husband about our finances, or buy local eggs, or what I think about money and credit? No one, unless I speak to something that connects with what interests other people. (Or unless, like Penelope Trunk, I sprinkle my financial musings with personal anecdotes that make you feel like you’re watching a train wreck, and you can’t make yourself look away.) To cite an example of an obviously compelling dreamer, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ability to engage people in his dream came both from his personal magnetism but also his ability to articulate with a whole lot of people were feeling and thinking.
Lesson #5. A dream of turning into someone else is not an achievable dream.
I am not a detail-oriented person. If you know me personally, you can stop laughing now. Suffice to say I’m very much a big picture kind of girl. That is at the root of my “difficulty” with money. So when I dreamed of getting my financial life under control, it was really a dream that I would transform into a clone of Suze Orman. News flash – I will never be Suze Orman, Similarly, she will never be me. Dreaming about being someone else is actually a painful experience and a form of self-abuse.
Lesson #6. A dream is a surface manifestation of a deeper effort underway.
Per Lesson #5, on the surface, my dream appeared to be about becoming someone other than myself. But in truth, it eventually brought me back to myself. But I didn’t know that until I’d done some pretty deep digging. I found out that I like myself much better when I’m not trying to be anything other than what I am. And actually, I think other people probably like me better that way too. Just like our mothers always told us, be yourself. Some people will resonate and like you, and the people who don’t will move on down the road. And that’s as it should be.
Lesson #7. Procrastination is not a strength.
I already knew that intellectually, but writing a blog gave me a visceral experience of the truth of it. Let me tell you: if you wait to finish your post until an hour before it goes live, you are guaranteed to have technical difficulties. The server will crash. The power will go out. One of the kids will have an attack of appendicitis (that didn’t actually happen). It’s just like if you go ONE TIME to the grocery store wearing a ratty sweatshirt and no lipstick, with your hair sticking up, you’ll see every living soul you know. Unless you give fate a wide berth, it will punish you.
Lesson #8. Writing for a top blog like 8 Women Dream has been a great experience.
I’ve learned so much about myself from my sister dreamers and from people who have thoughtfully read my words and left comments. As I move forward from this point, I’ll always check in to see how everyone’s doing on the path to achieving their dreams.
Thank you all!