A friend of mine is going through a really hard time. A lot of old sadness and anger refuses to be pushed down any longer and she is feeling a lot of tough emotions. Part of the issue for her is that she has had, so she says, quite specific dreams and desires about her life and that's not what has transpired. She is angry about putting in so much effort towards those specifics and coming up empty-handed.
Listening to her talk about this last night got me thinking about my own life. My dreams have never been very specific. I wanted to experience a lot of different things. I wanted to work in different kinds of businesses. I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to have romance. I wanted to travel. I did some of all of that. Doing some of it I was happy. Doing some of it I wasn't.
Travel was interesting but often lonely and tiring. I now know that vacation to me is more about being with friends in a beautiful place and sharing creative ideas. Romance was thrilling, even more so when I was having an affair with somebody unavailable or I was the unavailable one. But in the end I didn't choose men very wisely and have ended up alone now for many years, a healthier choice for me. Sometimes I'm sad about that, sometimes I'm not. I was a college professor for 16 years but I was relieved to get out from under the politics of that institution 18 years ago and I'm much happier teaching writing in non-academic settings and editing people's books.
I often say at meetings that I have a life today I could never have imagined for myself. And thank the Higher Power that's true. My own imaginings were far more limited. I have a studio where I do art 3-4 mornings a week. I'm writing books that people enjoy reading. I have a lot of artist and writer friends who share my enthusiasm for the creative adventure.I have many people who care about me and good relationships with my family after years of distance. Most importantly, I'm sober and healing. It has served me well to have general dreams, and to hold those dreams loosely.