The first post for the new year means it’s time for a new theme – the lens through which I plan for the year ahead. I’m not big on making resolutions, but I do like to set some goals.
My theme for 2013 was CELEBRATE, which I defined as “to make the effort and take the time to have some fun and bring some joy into our lives.” Whether that was through cooking favorite holiday recipes or making time for a Sunday Night Family Sit-down Dinner or making assorted seasonal crafts with my 11-year old to mark our way through the year, the goal for last year was to escape my usual bah humbug practicality and light eight days of Hanukkah candles even if it meant three extra days of scraping wax. The results of “celebrate” were mixed but at least I tried. (I knew my Christmas dinner was a success when my teenager groaned and proclaimed “the pie is winning.”)
My theme for 2014 is DREAM. This is the year for me to remember that my leading lady mantra of “take charge of your future, make a plan, and see it through” requires a supporting foundation of possibilities and what-could-be. As Carl Sandberg wrote in 1922, “Nothing happens unless first a dream.” I tend to get mired in the day-to-day, in staring at my color-coded budget and shifting dollars around like one of those traffic jam puzzles where if you shift one car a little bit one way, the whole puzzle can be solved in a few moves. But it isn’t enough for me to just move the pieces around, I need a purpose, a bigger picture – I need a dream (or several!).
Last February I watched for the first time the YouTube video of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech. This was one of those milestone historical events that I knew culturally but didn’t really know personally – like reading the Cliff’s Notes for a canonical novel. I was blown away by the power of his oratory and the power of his words. The video is 17 minutes long and I can’t recommend it strongly enough. Pour a fresh cup of coffee, pop some popcorn – whatever it takes – but if you haven’t experienced this speech, then I think you should.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Dr. King was dreaming really big dreams, of course, not unlike another dreamer – John Lennon and “Imagine.”
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one
My dreams are smaller – owning my own home, vacation travel to a far-off land, bringing music back into my life through symphony tickets and maybe learning to play an(other) instrument. And, yes, some big dreams too – like winning millions in the lottery and doing Great Works for my extended family, my community, and causes that tug at my heart and my conscience. Small or large, the point is that when I lie in bed at night and examine my life, I want to imagine a future of possibility and fulfillment and contentment. I know I’ve got the rent covered this month, that’s no longer the concern. Now I’m free to dream a little dream of what could be, just for me.