Saturday, July 7, 2012

"At 17, had a better dream. Now I'm 33, and it isn't me."

--Counting Crows, "All My Friends"

via Disney
When you're 17, you dream all sorts of wild dreams. When I was 17, I was imagining that I could be a singer on Broadway despite the fact that I couldn't carry a tune in a 20-gallon bucket. I was imagining that I might meet Adam Duritz - who wrote the song I quoted -  and inspire him to write a song with my name in it. I did meet him at 19, but to-date, my name has not appeared in a Counting Crows song. I imagined I might be famous for writing the modern great American novel. So far, the best I can say is that I've exchanged tweets with Steven Weber. And DSW.  And have a book in one library in America.

It's difficult to let go of those adolescent visions of oneself. To forgive shortcomings even when the initial expectations are so far beyond the realm of possibility. I can't help it - I'm so disappointed that I'll never perform on the stage at the Fox Theatre in a Broadway medley or a rock band. And I'll likely never hear a Counting Crows song inspired by me.

There are other suppositions in those teenage years - marriage, children, and all the trimmings. And those haven't come to pass either. Despite notions to the contrary and the 29 dimensions of compatability touted by Dr. Neil Clark Warren that make you feel like if you just apply yourself and put yourself out there, the magic will happen, it's not that simple. In some ways, making that happen on a certain timeline is just as outrageous as expecting rockstardom and fame. And yet, they're so much easier to feel discouraged over for having failed to attain them.

I write these things not to illicit pity or advice or assurances that the "right one" will come along at the "right time." I've heard those words enough that they're tattooed on the inside of my brain. I write them because I feel like wanting those things has eclipsed a lot of other things.

I've been waiting to travel, anticipating some great European tour with my husband. And in saving that experience for that mythical future person, I'm denying myself the experience I deserve to have as an individual. I will, with this blog as my witness, get my passport this year. And perhaps 2013 will be the year I finally make it across the pond to London.

And there's writing...whether or not I'm ever famous for it, I should do it. It's my God-given talent, and I ought to figure out something to do with it. For you readers out there, that may mean more frequent posts from me. But it also means that I've told my dad that I want to take him up to Lookout Mountain one day soon and talk about all the old legends and stories he told me growing up. Because I'm enamored with them, and there's something there that I should pursue. Whether it becomes a book or some sketched out stories that live in Microsoft Word in perpetuity, it's something more than I've been doing.

Here's to 33. My wish is for it to be the year of doing and not waiting. Of really making things that I want happen. Perhaps I'm not who I thought I'd be when I was 17. Perhaps those dreams weren't really the right ones. But perhaps at 33, I'll find the ones that are.


Andria said...

Live! Be! Do! Dream! Write!

Ezra Freelove said...

London and England are a good choice for a first international trip. No new language to pickup, but things are different enough to feel like a whole other world.

My grandmother had a best friend with whom she would travel the world. Kind of like what you did with Couch to 5K. Harder to back out when it might disappoint a friend.

Claire said...

I loved this post on so many levels, Ashley. I'm looking forward to hearing about your new dreams. I definitely think a pilgrimage to Jane Austen's hometown is in order on your British excursion, too.

Nikster said...

You are gonna grab life by the...horns! Public declaration of your intentions makes them all accountability-oriented (And, as your account-abil-i-buddy, I will ask how you are.). Your adoring public will will check in, and will cheer you on. Love you!

Megan J said...

Let's book our tickets : )

ashley said...

Claire - Austenland will definitely be upon my list.

MJ - You may find yourself on the other side of the world with me. ;)

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