I once dated a guy who made ocassional references to “the dream.” The pieces of his personal dream that we discussed were mostly football-related; that was part of what I liked about him. (Yes, I am a Southern woman, thankyouverymuch.)
“The dream” is different for everyone, I suppose, but I would reckon that most people could offer insight into theirs upon request. I’ve watched my own dream evolve over the years. While I grow as a person, the dream has been altered to incorporate those changes.
When I was in high school, my dream was to become a big-shot New York Times reporter. (I’m not sure why – I’ve never been much for news reporting. I think the appeal was rooted in the notoriety associated with the paper.) I wanted a fancy Manhattan apartment, because of course I’d be able to afford it on my salary. I’d be a busy career woman with no time for romance. In my high school daydreams, I figured I would date now and then, but never find a man worthy of eternal devotion. I didn’t think I was capable of falling in love; my cat would be the primary receipient of my affection. Nieces and nephews would satisfy any mothering instincts I might acquire.
I had no interest in children until I worked as a photographer at Sears Portrait Studio during my senior year of high school. Suprisingly, my time dancing and squeaking in order to coax pleasant expressions from babies changed my heart and subsequently the dream.
Beginning with my first year of college, I longed to become the stereotypical Christian housewife. I planned to go on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ where I would eventually meet Mr. Right (of course). After I gave birth to my children (three by age 30), I would entertain girls from the ministry in my house instead of being on campus full time. I would prepare an elaborate meal before my husband’s return home every night. Because this was the dream, it made sense to me to lure a man into my arms with baked goods. (My friend Apryl once discussed this philosophy of mine with Candace Bushnell. Bushnell said I would never get a man if I kept mothering them. I was mildly offended at the time, but now I think there is some truth to her words. I also think it’s hilarious that Bushnell has discussed my love life.)
Today’s dream is a blend of those two extremes. I’m very career-minded. Journalism is on my mind during at least 30% of my waking hours. I look forward to launching what I hope will be a very successful and fulfilling career, though I also hope it never leads me to the Times as anything but an entertainment or feature writer. (Relevant and Paste are much closer to the front of my mind.) I’d like to make my way to an editorial position eventually, though I don’t know if the title “editor-in-chief” is calling my name. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I think it’s important that my work be a reflection of my faith (though not necessarily evangelical in nature).
I’d like to remain within driving distance of college football games – or better yet, SEC or ACC games. That doesn’t necessarily mean I want to live near my alma maters, but I’d like to be near a town where they would play every other year. Speaking of culture, I’d like to be in a city large enough to offer some options. I love Birmingham in part because it draws a fair number of concerts, a respectable Broadway series and offers other cultural experiences.
One reason I’d prefer that city not to be New York is because I want to raise a family in a more suburban area. I’m not in the same hurry to get married as I was when I was an undergrad. I once told a friend that I’d like to be married by the time I was 22 (yeesh!), but my preferred age is now closer to 30. I’m not sure how many children I’d like (which is just as well, since I don’t exactly have a husband to consult), but I’m inclined to say no more than two. I want to “leave a legacy” by raising children, but I don’t want to give up writing either. (Freelancing sounds like a good option to me… but we’ll see.) Oh, and unlike the CJ of years past, I have no interest in fulfilling the “Campus Crusade for Couples” plan of finding a man on a summer project. I hope not to “pull a Joyce” and come back with a future spouse, but then, we know how that worked out for her. 😉 (And by the way, you really should check out that link. It is HILARIOUS.)
I say all this today fully realizing how much my dreams have changed with time and how they may continue to change as I continue to grow. Maybe I’ll never get married, or maybe I’ll end up ditching journalism and going into vocational ministry. (Okay, I don’t anticipate the latter, but God only knows what the future holds.) I don’t spend much time daydreaming about the future. Instead, I focus my energy in preparing for said future.
The journey’s half the fun. 🙂
Just for Alisa, because she makes fun of me for including pictures with italicized text. You can tell in this picture that I was moving away from dream #2, the Crusade housewife.