Like most kids who devoured James Herriot books, I dreamed of becoming a large-animal veterinarian. I envisioned an adult life whereby I’d heroically heal a few cases of horse laminitis by day, then report to my night gig: singing on Broadway.
As a middle-schooler I realized that math and sciences just weren’t my bag (to put it very mildly). Plus another, more painful realization: I possessed neither the voice nor chutzpah to try out for the school play, let alone Broadway.
By tenth grade, I realized I’d have to choose something — one thing — to really focus on. That one thing turned out to be writing. It was something I did all the time anyway, no matter what. My highly secret journal entries evolved into editorials and reviews for the school paper; when I started making meaningful connections with my peers through words, a speck of confidence was born in me. And it’s been enough to keep me writing daily since then.
Sometimes I wonder whether I gave up too easily on those early dreams of vet medicine and Broadway. Or, maybe early dreams must die away a little, in order to make room for the truer, righter dreams. (In any event, my chest swelled with pure admiration when my veterinarian-friend, Corey, described his first-ever, highly successful cat leg amputation!)
Amazingly, these days I find myself writing fiction full time, ensconced in a little apartment with my soul-mate husband and sweet old hound. More than one friend has remarked that I’m “living the dream.” And I am. Well, for now, anyway; who knows how long it will last.
Too, there are dreams I’ve yet to realize. I’d love to drive coast to coast — just me, my man, and a Jeep — and see California. I’d love to master the art of mitered quilt corners. I’d love to live for an extended time in another country, and achieve fluency in another language. (French would be nice, but I’ll take Italian or Portuguese, too.)
Just like everyone, I’ve got my fair share of nightmares. Sometimes a blank computer screen and blinking cursor can give me a mild panic attack. Same with moths. And, for no logical reason I can identify, really big boats docked in a harbor. Whenever I drive past the Philadelphia Naval Yard, I block my peripheral vision with my hand, so I don’t accidentally glimpse those dormant, steel-colored warships.
But enough of nightmares! Instead I’ll wish you sweet, sweet dreams — those that happen while you sleep, and those cherished goals you strive to make reality.
Please feel free to share your dreams or nightmares below. Maybe you, too, let an old dream die, in order to conquer another?
~ Alicia Bessette
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