Dreams can be peculiar things. They can be delicate and fragile or practically indestructible. They can be memorable or forgettable. The dreams we dream randomly at night come and go, generally forgotten by the time we stop yawning the next morning. There are other dreams, though—the ones we dream on purpose, when we are awake. Those dreams are more difficult to forget. They can be your dreams, my dreams, our dreams… sometimes they involve or depend on other people, and sometimes they are for us alone.
I always regretted the fact that I did not have the opportunity to earn a college degree right after high school, but my father’s dreams and my dreams didn’t mesh. Rather than follow someone else’s plan for my life, I went to work. I struck out on my own and spent much of my youth trying to figure out what would make me happy.
A few years later, my father and I finally compromised on school, and I received a technical degree that provided me with a decent income and allowed me to be independent for many years. But it didn’t satisfy my dream. I wanted the full degree—the Bachelor of Something—that I knew I was smart enough to have earned. I always felt like I settled for less than my best by not getting it. I think that to me, it represented validation of what I believed about myself. I wanted someone with authority to confirm that I really am as good at what I do as I think I am. I wanted proof—in a classic walnut frame.
Just as I reached the point of having a chance to make my college dreams come true on my own, I met the man who turned my life upside down. When we married 6 short months later, it soon became clear to me that he saw no dreams but his. I spent nearly 16 years helping his dreams come true, but my dreams never mattered. He never even asked me about my dreams. He simply shoved them into the shadows where they had no hope of surviving, so I gave them up. I let them go. It was easier to burn them than to bury them.
Even when I was single again, like most mothers, my dreams were mostly for my son. For myself, I only wanted…I didn’t know what I wanted. I had to figure that out all over again. When I lost the job I loved—as a technical writer and editor—and was having difficulty finding a new one without a Bachelor’s degree, the next step became clear. My cherished dream rose again, like the mythical phoenix from the ashes.
It hasn’t been easy, but that dream is finally coming true. I had planned to graduate in December 2015, but a few weeks ago, I discovered that if I planned carefully I could graduate in May instead! I hope that achieving this dream will lead to the realization of others that are dear to my heart.
I can dream, can’t I?