Chasing a Dream: Courage and Challenge

Since my dream chase began some two years ago, people have asked me—often—how I had the courage to quit one life in pursuit of another.  I haven’t ever actually thought of it as courage—that’s just the word other people use.  And as I was journaling this morning, that thought was foremost in my mind, so I thought I’d share a bit of my ruminations and journal writing with you.

Recognizing I’m A Cry Baby

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a “cry baby.”  I have had to be tough in difficult times and from an early age, so I usually tried to hide away my very tender heart and my tendency to cry at every little thing under an exterior of gruff and bitchy.  I mean, I have told few people how hard I sobbed when I went to visit the portable wall—the replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall with the names of the soldiers inscribed upon the panels.  You see, I have worn my P.O.W./M.I.A. bracelet for 45 years.  I never knew the hero whose name is inscribed upon it (Capt. John H. Crews III, who went missing May 22, 1968 see here).  I was not in love with him, was not a close friend, and never made a smile light up his handsome face.  I have ONLY worn the bracelet in support of our troops and in recognition of his sacrifice.  I did not expect the rush of emotion when I approached the panel of the wall (Panel 65E, Line 7). I stood there and sobbed.  I could not do a rubbing—I was crying too hard.  Standing there alone in the grass beside the wall—I had not yet even approached the wall to touch the inscription.  I was sobbing so hard that a man approached me and asked, “Honey, was that your husband?”  I shook my head, answering only, “No, just a friend.”  The man placed his arms around me and I stood there and sobbed… for all the names inscribed upon that wall, for the many tears that have been shed by family members and friends… for a hero who gave his life. Going to war?  That was courage.  What I did?  The excitement of challenge that I had never before considered took courage.

Moving Forward

So now that you know what a crybaby I am, let me discuss the dream chase.  It was difficult.  Every step of the way was difficult.  I’ve said before that even as I moved forward—selling my home, quitting my job, packing boxes, disposing of almost everything I owned—I would say to myself, “I can’t do this, it’s too hard.”  I know—that sounds ludicrous.  It’s not like we were in covered wagons trekking across the mountains and worried about attacks or robberies.  We were just moving from one major metropolis to another.  We were just driving across the country and settling in—we weren’t blazing trails in an undiscovered faraway land.  But during each step, I’d say, “I can’t do this, it’s too hard.”  But I kept putting one foot in front of the other, kept making plans, and doing what had to be done.  Even when I got here and Robert had gone to China and I was left with our moving pod to unpack and a new home to settle into, I was still saying, “I can’t do this, it’s too hard.  And I cried.  I cried because I was tired.  I cried because I had no one to talk to.  I cried because I was alone.  I cried because I didn’t know where anything was:  I didn’t even know the way to McDonald’s!

We weren't trekking across the country in covered wagons, we were just driving from one metropolis to another and stopped to see the sights.

We weren’t trekking across the country in covered wagons, we were just driving from one metropolis to another and stopped to see the sights.

Things Settled Down

Eventually, things settled down.  I loved our new home, I loved California, I loved the weather, I loved being here.  I was not prepared to be a crybaby for a full year, but it took that long for the exhaustion and the emotional upheaval to settle down so I could stop crying.  As I look back on it, it did take courage.  It took dedication and drive and a determination to live the dreams I’d harbored for many years.  It took facing risks and letting go of security and a strong conviction that I deserved to live the life I’d only dared to dream of.  It still does, but it’s a life that I love.


So… while doing what I did was a big challenge and I cried almost constantly for a year, it has turned out to be such a wonderful adventure.  People have begun to share with me what they dream of… writing country music… writing a novel…. teaching…  running a bed and breakfast… and so many other things.  My challenge to those of you reading this is this:  GET OFF YOUR INTENTIONS AND DO IT.  I promise you that it will be one of the most gratifying things you ever did.  NOBODY but you stands in the way of your pursuit of your own dreams.  NOBODY but you can give you the satisfaction of going for it.  If the one thing that stops you is FEAR, look it in the face and claim your courage.  If you have the dream—if there’s a longing inside that you have squelched for far too long—give yourself the gift of possibility.  It may be the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done.

DREAM BIG!  It doesn’t hurt in the least.

Thanks for being here.


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