It’s a week of royal wedding dreams heard around the world. Cinderella marrying her prince. It’s a classic dream isn’t it?
The only problem with fairy tale dreams is no one says,
“and they lived happily-ever-after until they both started working 60 hour weeks; purchased a slightly-out-of-their-price-range home; had three kids and the princess still finds herself doing the bulk of the housework.
and the Queen moves in for six months.
While the princess remains the only one who bothers to pick up shoes, dirty socks, wet towels, and turn off the lights after everyone was already in bed.”
To be fair to the men out there . . . Prince probably married one kind of girl, and then she grew into into a pain of a princess.
Not very fair to him either.
With dreams, you must be very careful what you dream for.
Because if you work at it long enough you will achieve it.
You should prepare yourself that your dream may not look anything like what you envisioned when you first decided it was something you wanted.
In this case, it’s either one of three things: you either picked the wrong dream; you didn’t see the dream coming; or you stopped being grateful for your dream.
I happened to pick the wrong dream (which ultimately lead me to the right dream).
The year was 1991.
I was 30.
My dream was to get married and have a baby.
I was married April 6, 1991 and my son Brian was born in April of 1995.
This should be the end of my royal wedding dream story, right?
There I was, almost 31 years old in the cool spring of 1991 when I found myself happily walking down the isle in a wedding gown hand-sewn by my mother. She had purchased the lace in France ten years earlier. The trip to France was part of my mother’s first big European vacation after my dad died. She came back a healed mother and put the lace she purchased in a special place with the other heirlooms she was saving for my wedding day.
My dream guy?
A rugby-playing loan officer who wanted babies. How perfect was that? It was my dream, right?
He had great, thick jet-black hair and a sense of humor that could rival any Englishman. We enjoyed some great laughs.
There I was living my own personal royal wedding dream-come-true. Our wedding guests had such a grand time at the reception that the hotel had to ask them to move the party because they were still dancing, drinking and having fun into the night. My ex husband and I ran off to our hotel to eat because neither one of us had anything to eat in 24 hours.
We ended up eating cheeseburgers naked on the hotel bed with my wedding veil still on my head.
I have to admit, it was a great time.
But by October 31, 1998, just seven years and one boy later (okay two boys if you count my ex), we divorced with all the anger and venom two freckled crazy Irish descendants can muster.
What in the hell happened to the dream?
I confused action with emotion and thought they were somehow related.
Case in point:
When I look back on my early years growing up I remember how much I loved riding my bike — everywhere. In fact, I rode a bike of some form nearly every single day from age 3 until I was 23.
Judging by my great love of biking, one might draw the conclusion that my dream should be to own a bicycle shop. The thought might even bring up feelings of excitement. Maybe I’d look into being a business owner and explore what it takes to run a successful bicycle shop.
It’s quite possible I might be a success at it . . . but I’d be oh so miserably unhappy.
Why? I don’t like working retail, even though I love people. I’d hate selling bicycles to the general public.
What I’d fail to realize in this dream scenario is what I really love about bicycles. What I love is the feeling that riding on a bicycle gives me. The feeling of the wind blowing through my hair, with the sound of the bike ridding across the pavement, while visually taking in the environment around me.
This does not include mountain biking unless there are no hills, no mud and no rattle snakes.
Bicycle riding puts me in touch with a core feeling for me — it’s freedom.
Many of my friends will laugh and say “Duh-oh, Catherine.” They know I like being independent, free to make my own choices and free to do what I want to do. Riding a bicycle is an action that brings about a certain emotion, but it is the feeling — the emotion — that I should look for in a dream.Â My dreams must include the ability to feel free.
There are exceptions to our dream needs . . . having my son is my one exception to my need to feel free.
Which leads me to Theory 2:
Dreams you don’t see coming can be better than the ones you planned.
I love having my son around. He’s this blue-eyed, kind-hearted, funny grown-up in a 16-year-old body. He’s the dream I got out of what I thought was my real dream back in 1991. I had no idea that having this kid would be such a great dream for me. I could gush away here, but you get the idea.
Interesting that he’s a better dream than I could have thought of on my own. . .
I got married because I wanted a family, but I didn’t know anything about what it takes to create a successful marriage — or marry the right partner — or how much I would love living on my own. I didn’t know I’d love being my son’s mother so much.
I love being a mom. That was a dream shock to me.
My parents had a good marriage and they loved each other dearly, but just because I watched a healthy marriage — doesn’t mean I really understand what it takes to make a successful dream marriage.
I stopped being grateful for what I thought I wanted.
I didn’t pick the right guy for me, much like Lady Diana back in the 1980’s didn’t pick the right guy for her. But I did achieve my dream of getting married and having a family.
Diana thought the action of marrying Prince Charles was going to turn out a certain way according to her idea of what it must be like to be a princess bride. She had a dream based on a certain action: getting married to a Prince. She probably ignored any misgivings about her relationship with Charles and forged ahead right into what she believed to be her dream.
But was it really her dream? Did her relationship with Charles bring her the feelings she was looking to feel?
Or did she just want a family like I did?Â Did she just want the feelings of security?Â Judging by some of her later interviews and her behavior, I’d venture a guess that freedom was a core feeling for her and she buried it to marry Charles.
The problem with my dream of getting married and starting a family was the fact that I was doing it because I wanted to settle down. I wanted the feeling of security that having people to go home to who promised to do so until one of us died would give me.
My dream was for security and love, but I made it about being married to a certain guy. When he failed to provide the security I was looking for, I began to resent his presence in my life.
It was like my marriage was the equivalent of me choosing to run a bicycle store instead of riding a bike just for fun. The feelings I desperately wanted to feel had nothing to to with the person I married — and it took me until 2003 to really figure out where I went wrong with that particular dream.
But I should have been more grateful.
Because marrying this man who reminded me to quit taking myself so seriously . . . brought me my son. I could forgive my ex three lifetimes for making my son dream possible. And the annoying things my son loves to do have been taught to my son by my ex, which I shall remind you, I married when I was clear on the reality that he was a rugby player.
Our son is the best of my ex, and the best of me, and I should be more grateful
Because I am.
Now when I dream I am careful to look at what feeling I am looking to create and start there.
Publishing on a blog gives me the feeling of accomplishment and participation, while feeding my need to write. It is the perfect answer to my dream of being a published author — and I feel free.
I like being on my own as a single parent. I love that I create my own security. I don’t push my dreams off on to a man to fulfill.
And Kate? Will she be creating her own dreams now . . . or looking at her Prince to create them for her?
Will it be emotion or action?Â Does she understand what she needs to feel in order to be happy?
And you? What about you? Are you dreaming the right dream?
Catherine’s dream is to be a motivator and published writer. She is testing her theories on motivation with this blog and the seven other women who have volunteered to be a part of her dream project. Catherine also writes about her life as a mom at the blog A Week In The Life Of A Redhead. She would also like to be invited to speak at TED as the next Erma Bombeck. Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in when needed.