Wednesday, December 31, 2008

all together now: dream

I've had a lot on my mind lately. For one, I have no idea what this new year will bring. I feel equal parts anticipation mixed with trepidation. Not fear, exactly. But curiosity. I know that many things I have taken for granted are in position to start shifting. This is not a bad state of affairs, but in fact, an excellent time to be more fully in touch with what is important. With this thought in mind, I've been sleeping like a baby for weeks now, which is unusual when the old brain is boiling.

I'm an ambitious person. I have big dreams, and an expectation that my dreams will come true... if not exactly in the way I dreamed them. There is always the persistent question; will you be able to make your dreams happen? This is the way of the world. When things are going good, your dreams seem within reach. When things are going shitty, dreams seem tenuous. But in reality, your dreams are always just that: dreams. Whether or not your life is good or shitty, your dreams have still not become events that can be placed under the category of reality. So my question is, does a dream's actualization depend on factors happening out there in reality, or do they depend more on the dreamer and their state of mind?

I'm reading a terrific novel right now, called "Netherland". I love the title, because it implies this subconscious underworld that we all move in, even as we go about our day-to-day on the surface of the planet. I'm not sure is this is what the author intended, but that's what I get from it. Also, the protagonist is from The Hague, which is also very interesting, since this book takes place in New York City immediately after 9/11. So the title has many facets and underpinnings, which I'm not going to go into right now. The book is partly about the big, even grandiose, ambitions of one of its characters, Chuck. He is, in his little world, a mover and a shaker. In one scene, the main character has just told Chuck that his wife is seeing another man. Chuck asks, "What do you want to do about it?" Our protagonist, rather helplessly, says what many of us say when we are dealing with this kind of situation: "What can I do?" Chuck says:

Not can do: first figure out out what you want to do. It's Project Management 101: establish objectives, the establish means of achieving objectives.

To summarize the rest of the interaction, Chuck goes on to say that if you do not follow up on what you want, you are in danger of having regrets. And his bottom line is, of course, no regrets. I'm sharing this little bit of the book with you because I really think we all need a little Project Management 101 in this new year of 2009, and we all need some Dream Management too. I have the sense that, while we have achieved some big dreams, like _______ (fill in the blank here), we are being disappointed by our failures in smaller dreams, like_______ (you know what to do). So while we all try to figure out our resolutions for 2009, let's do our homework first: What do you want to do?