Archive for 'dreams'

The price of dreams
by Jessa Slade on June 6th, 2011

Currently working on: Listening to the thunder of an approaching storm (literally and figuratively)
Mood: Antsy

I recently read an article about the regrets of the dying. The article was in response to a blog post by a palliative care worker who compiled a top five regrets list from her conversations with the dying. Both articles — and several more I found on the web after a search; the topic apparently captured the blogosphere’s imagination — were interesting and thoughtful. And all seemed to miss a crucial point:

Everybody will have some regrets.

It’s inevitable, I think. Even for someone with all the opportunities in the world, there isn’t enough time to explore every option. And for every option chosen, another option is left behind. Anyone with even a little curiosity is going to wonder about the roads not taken, and at least occasionally that wondering will be tinged with regret.

The top regret listed was not having “the courage to live a life true to myself” and not “honour[ing] even a half of their dreams.”

Sounds so easy to follow your dreams. Like the only reason those dying people hadn’t followed their dreams was because nobody had showed them a top five list of things they were going to kick themselves for later if only they had the strength and flexibility.

Maybe it will be that easy for some. Maybe they’ll read that list and say, I won’t let that happen to me. But dreams don’t come cheap.

Which is kind of funny when you consider that dreams are free every night when you sleep.

Dreams (at least the kind that cause deathbed maunderings of regret) are demanding. They take time — and, as mentioned earlier, there is never enough of that. They take resources, focus, effort. They take from other dreams. And they may or may not reward all that time and effort. The potential of the dream may be the only reward for the pursuit. And the pursuit of one dream — by its nature — will likely negate the possibility of pursuing something else.

I am so glad I’ve had the chance to pursue my dreams. I’ve even captured a few of them. But they came at a price, and I think rather than hoping for a life with no regrets at all, I will just find regrets I can live with. And die with.

A Million Tiny Dreams
by Annette McCleave on January 19th, 2010

At any other time, I’d have had a lot of fun with this topic—my first million dollars. But I confess that I’m having a harder time dreaming of fun stuff after the Haiti earthquake. Like many writers, I’m a highly empathetic person—I need to be to get into the heads of my characters and make them come to life on the page.

But that empathy is knocking me for a loop right now.

I find it all too easy to imagine what it would be like to experience the devastation Haiti is currently living through. Losing loved ones, feeling helpless and lost, desperately struggling to get food and water for my family. I’ve remained riveted to the news casts, cried over some of the video and pictures, and felt ill over the impotence of the people on the ground trying to help. The situation so terribly hard on all of the people there.

It makes me feel incredibly lucky to have the things I have (and take for granted)—fresh running water, shelter, food, and safety for my daughter.

I do love to dream, though. I believe in the power of those dreams and the importance of occasional mental escape. Life can be very hard. Overwhelming, sometimes. Dreams are a facet of hope—and hope is all some people have. Dreaming of a better life, be it a simple vision or one of being rich, can make the current situation more bearable and lead us past the grief.

Here’s to powerful dreams and a better life for all.

Walking the Line
by Annette McCleave on August 4th, 2009

Who hasn’t heard a story about an actor or actress who worked as a waiter for years before they got their ‘big break’? That’s the way our world works. Artists, writers, musicians, and even athletes work behind the scenes on their passion, making ends meet via other jobs. If that other job is a BIG job, carrying significant responsibility, it can be a double-edged sword: draining the writer of creativity, yet providing security.


I worked for years in a day job that consumed my life. I loved the work, loved the people I worked with, and took pride in my every accomplishment. It definitely wasn’t a sacrifice to work that job.

Wait, that’s not accurate. It wasn’t a sacrifice I recognized at the time.

Truth is, every day that I chose to work at my day job and not on my writing, I was sacrificing my commitment to being a writer. Now, before you leap in to say working at your day job isn’t really a choice, let me add that I worked many, many hours outside of the normal 9-5 routine. When you have a career with lots of responsibility, that’s often expected of you. The work is there, and it doesn’t get done without you. So you do it.


For a long time, I simply thought of writing as a hobby. I sank all my extra energy into the day job. It wasn’t until my brother passed away, without his dreams fulfilled, that I called that choice into question.

I re-examined my life and decided that being a writer was important to me. Vital, even. It was the one thing that kept me sane. Writing was a blessing, an escape, a creative spa. My stories were often the last thing I thought about before drifting off to sleep, and during particularly troubled times, I would always turn to writing for relief.

Despite that, though, deciding to be a writer wasn’t an easy decision for me to make. Like many of you, I had a family, a mortgage, and other financial responsibilities. I had a variety of electronic devices that kept me chained to my day job even when I was at home. Case in point: when my boss handed me my Blackberry, it was on condition it be left on 24×7. He wasn’t kidding—he once called me in the middle of my sister’s wedding. The more pathetic thing? I answered. :shock:


Deciding to be a writer changed my perspective. I began—slowly at first—to carve out time for my writing. Weekend time, then early morning time. It takes many months to write a book this way (or it did for me), but I did finish it. When I look back at my path to publication, I have to say that the decision to BE a writer, in spite of my day job, had the single biggest impact on making my dream come true.

Day jobs are a fact of life for most of us. Is your day job your dream job? If not, how do you protect and nurture your dreams?