Another successful dreamer….

I was dragging.  The clean laundry laid on my unmade bed.  The red suitcase on the floor  waited for me to unpack it.  I had Pandora playing on my computer and was trudging through organizing Christmas bags, boxes, and bows when my phone rang.  I was delighted to see it was my friend Carolyn, with whom I’d been playing phone tag for weeks.

Carolyn left her job in NYC in October to follow her dream of becoming a comedy screen writer in LA.  But following your dream can be hard.  Carolyn’s moved from friend’s house to friend’s house.  Last we talked, we laughed over our shared experiences of living out of our cars, spending too much time trying to figure out where the supermarket was in the town we were in, and where we’d stay when we moved on from this friend’s house.

But in between all that, Carolyn’s performed in a couple Mortified shows and made connections.  It’s amazing who knows someone who can help you once you put a dream out there.  Like the lawyer at the cubicle job you hated in NYC who has a friend who’s in the business out in LA.  It seems every time I talk to Carolyn, she’s made three more connections.

Today, though, she wondered about her writing.  All this “free time” wasn’t really that free when you, in essence, have no place to call home nor any consistency in your life. We brainstormed ideas for alternative living arrangements so that the worry of where to live could be taken off her plate and therefore give her some writing time.   “I e-mailed the director of a writing residency program I did ten years ago to see if they have a spot,” she told me, but she wasn’t too optimistic.

I gave her as much encouragement as I could, having been in her shoes many times before.  She generously thanked me, as she always does.  I told her that the words I’m often speaking to her are the ones I need to be reminded of myself, so it goes both ways.

A short while later, my phone rang.  It was Carolyn again.  “You’re not going to believe this,” she said.  That writing residency program in New Mexico?  They just had a cancellation.  The director had been thinking about her – they’d found a picture from the last time she was there and had it up on their table for the last few months.  The open spot would give her a cottage in which to live for twelve weeks, and they would welcome her to come take it.  Coincidence?  Nope.  That’s just Carolyn – putting a dream out there.  Instead of waiting for life to fall into her lap, she chases all her leads.  And then something works.

Congratulations, Carolyn.  Happy writing:)

Dream Big

“What’s your dream?” she asked me.  I explained that I want to have an organizing business.  That it will be in NY in the warmer months and NC in the cooler months.  “Dream bigger,” she said.  I thought that was big enough, but I added that I’d like the business to give me the time and money to travel.  But that was a cop out – I already live a life that gives me the money and time to travel.  “Bigger,” she said.  I was stumped.  “Think about it and get back to me,” she offered.

I didn’t specifically sit and ponder the idea.  I knew that it would come to me eventually though.  And it did.  I was taking a class and the question we had for homework was, “If money were no object, what would you do to with your talents for the kingdom of God?”  Don’t let the God thing stop you if you’re not into that.  The crux of the question is how are you going to use your talents in this world?  Our instructor specified that the question didn’t say that we had all the money in the world, it just said that if money were no object.  In other words, if you didn’t have to work to pay your bills.

I love these questions.  I didn’t have to think about my answer.  My heart told me and I put it down on paper.  I wrote this:

I would travel around the country visiting friends.  Seeing where they live – through their eyes.  Spending a couple weeks, maybe longer.  Help them declutter and give their stuff away.

When I shared my answer with the class, the instructor said simply, “You could do that.”  Yup.  She was right.  I could.

Then it all kind of came together.  My college teaching was over for the semester and I had opted not to teach over the summer.  My high school tutoring was coming to a close in a few weeks.  And the only work I had that would continue into the summer was a consulting gig that I could easily walk away from – not abandoning my client, but I had just figured out that all they hired me to accomplish was nearly complete.   In fact, I had just had a meeting with them and they said, “What else would you like to do for us?”  How great is my life that I have work where they don’t tell me what to do, but ask me what I’d like to do?  Well, I fed them an answer, but was really thinking, “I don’t want to do anything else with you.  I accomplished what I came here to do and it’s time to move on.”  Such is the curse of consulting – though you sell yourself as a temporary solution, they always want you to stay forever.

I haven’t left them yet, but I liked that the option was there.  And then it continued to come together.  The tiny house.  On wheels.  With a garden in the bed of the truck from which I’d pull it.  I’d drive the thing around the country helping people to declutter and simplify.  The friends in Pennsylvania who said I could park it in their backyard and help declutter an office.  The friends in Rhode Island who want to hire me to help in their houses, and a local librarian in their area that wants me to give my decluttering talks while I’m out there.  My mentor who said, “Oh yes – that would definitely work,” and then proceeded to give me even more ideas, encouragement, and support.

So what’s your dream?  Go ahead.  Think about it.  Then dream bigger.