Monday, October 31, 2011

Dream BIG, Baby!

*This is a reprint of one of my columns that ran in the Kansas City Star in October. Due to a technical issue, it was never posted online. I am reprinting it here because it tells you were I am in November. And maybe it encourages you to follow your dreams.*

The Value of Turning a Someday Into a Now

Dream big!”

“Don’t stop! Reach for your goal!”

We want nothing but the best for our children, right? We support and encourage them in their interests. Helping our kids reach for their dreams is one of the things parents do.

What about our dreams? I’m not talking about something that might put more money in our pockets- not a work related Go For The Gold-but a personal goal.  Something that validates our existence in some non-parental way.  Something that says, “I worked my butt off, and the prize is not of monetary value, but it confirms that I turned a Someday into a Now.”

Maybe it’s going back to college and getting a degree for the sole satisfaction of completion, or learning purely for the joy of learning.

Maybe it’s rebuilding a car that reminds you of your childhood.

Maybe it’s running a marathon.

I have a friend named Julie, who is the mom of two young children. A few years ago, she decided that she liked running. She dreamed big and completed the Chicago Marathon.

What was her most rewarding part of this seemingly individual challenge?  It had to do with her kids. She said it was seeing, “the awe and admiration on their little faces when they finally understood what I was up to.”

When I was a kid, I remember my dad saying that he was going to build a dinghy to tow behind his sailboat. I was really impressed that he was going to BUILD a boat! Himself! In our garage! And he did!

Later, I remember having to cut that dinghy loose in a storm and watch it sink. It was as heartbreaking as it sounds. But what did Dad do? He built another one! (Well, he bought one first, THEN built another one- boat building takes some time.)

Making those beautiful little boats was a personal challenge for my dad. But watching them be built? Watching Dad start his dream all over again? Those are memories I cherish.

Just like Julie’s kids will be able to cherish the memory of Mom running and completing- with a better time- her second Chicago Marathon.

Because sometimes things that we do for ourselves that challenge and reward us, we want to do again.
My thing is NaNoWriMo- National Novel Writing Month. 

What is NaNoWriMo?  Within the 30 days of November, the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel. It’s not about quality as much as it is about finishing.  It’s not about writing a novel that gets published, although some have. It’s about pushing yourself to see if you can write one. 

Last year, 200,500 people from around the globe officially participated in NaNoWriMo. Of those participants, only 37,500 got to the finish line. The boat launch. The graduation day.

I was one of them.

Alright, maybe that doesn’t make sense to you. I can’t even run a mile without my lungs exploding so I can’t understand the appeal of running 26.2 of them. But, like a marathon runner, it’s about attempting, pushing through the pain and self- doubt to completion.

And in a few weeks, I will be attempting it again.  I know that my kids are watching, at least one with those eyes of awe and admiration. How do I know?

NaNoWriMo has a Young Writers Program. The goals are less in number, but equal in challenge.

Last year my teen daughter learned that winning NaNoWriMo is completing NaNoWriMo.

And she won.

This year I will look at her with mirrored awe and admiration as we sit down, crack our knuckles and do it again.

Dream big, Baby, dream big.

This is my NaNoWriMo profile reminds me of two of the characters in the story I'm writing this year.
If you are participating in NaNoWriMo '11, buddy me up! My screen name is EssephVee.

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