Dream big, even if you have to take little steps to get there
This is the season when many of us make, if not traditional resolutions, at least plans for the year ahead, based on our goals and our dreams.
I always say dream big because dreaming small is a waste of a good dream. And if you're ever going to dream big, January is the time because the entire year is still available for procrastination.
I'm just kidding!
Whatever your goals and plans and dreams this year, don't let yourself be daunted by them so that you give them up before Presidents Day. Dream big and take over the world - or at least the part of the world over which you want to take.
I've never had huge stretches of uninterrupted time in which to pursue my dreams. I started writing when my first child was a baby. I had two more babies after he was born.
Books aren't written in giant leaps. They're written one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page at a time - and that is the same way any goal is accomplished. I could hold a baby with one hand and make plot notes with the other. I'd write down snatches of dialogue, descriptions, whatever.
If I needed two hands, I could still think my notes. By the time I had a few minutes free to sit down at the computer, I could write the next scene of the book pretty quickly - and then jump up and go find whoever was crying.
Some people might say that if you're home alone with three babies all day, there's no way you can write a book, but of course you can. If you can dream it, you can do it. You aren't going to dream about something that isn't, in some form, realistic for you. Nature takes care of that for us - we dream of things for which we have natural inclinations, talents or drives.
This gives us a great boost in our chances of success in our goals. We are guided in our dreams by our inner instincts. Sometimes it's simply our outer expectations we have to shape.
I've always dreamed of being a writer. I may never be a New York Times best-seller, but I'm still a writer. You may never be a movie star, but if you dream of being involved with the stage, you can do it in local plays, community shows, teaching theater or organizing your church holiday production.
You may never plow 500 acres, but if you dream of being a farmer, you can plant a backyard garden, put up preserves in your suburban kitchen, grow vegetable starts in your basement under lights and sell them at the farmers market, or set up a vertical garden on your apartment patio.
You can pursue whatever you dream a little at a time, in just a few minutes stolen from your other daily obligations to plan, practice, and prepare.
Time isn't an excuse. It's just part of the challenge. There are other challenges beyond time for any dream, of course, but they can be confronted the same way: with persistence.
Whatever goals and plans and aspirations fill your imagination as you consider this new year before you, pursue those dreams whenever you can and however you can, in whatever venue or level is open to you.
Pursuing a dream is about the journey. Own every success and every step, however seemingly small. If you can dream it, you can do it.
Suzanne McMinn lives in Roane County, where she writes every day in her blog, chickensintheroad.com.