Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Dream Machine

"When they ask what you do for a living
tell them what you do to live."
-Mia Johnson

I've been getting all too good at letting my job grab hold of me and my precious time lately, and it is beginning to wear down on me. I've been tired and moody and quiet and busy for the past few weeks, and well, it's just not like me. And then I stumbled upon Mia's words while paroozing the internet during a moment of escape one day and it all seemed to click. 

My job is terrible. I run around all day pretending like I know what I'm doing, always trying to please someone else. Some people are kind, but many are hostile and my head is usually swirling with "what if's.." all day as I think about the millions of other things that I would rather be doing. I've always wanted to be a teacher. What if I were doing that right now? I've always wanted to rock climb. What if I were doing that right now? I've always wanted to travel the globe. What if I were doing that right now? And then I look around and I'm still right there, in that office with no windows, desperately trying to stay afloat. But Mia reminded me that my job isn't my life and I need to start to do things that make me feel like I am living; and I've been thinking a whole lot about what those things are lately. 

Mia Johnson asks that we all share what it is we do to live, and when I think about what it is that I do to really live I can't help but think about all the things I've always dreamed about doing. When I was little I set out to be and do so many things. I craved adventure and sought it out, even if it was only a matter of pitching a tent in my living room. It was fun, and it was real, and I was alive. 

This post is already beginning to feel choppy and not as coherent as I'd like, so I think I'll get straight to the point. When I was little I begged my mom for tuxedo saddle shoes. I remember shopping with her and seeing them over and over, and she always refused to buy them. Every year when it was time to start  shopping for pencils and marble notebooks, sweaters and hair clips, I'd wish and hope that this would be the year I would get my shiny black and whites. Every year I went back to school with another pair of ordinary sneakers. When I ask my mom why I couldn't have the shoes back then, she tells me she was worried that all the other kids would make fun of them. That they really weren't as stylish as I had thought they were. But even still, to this day, I've always longed to strut my stuff in a pair of tuxedo oxfords. If I had a pair of saddle shoes today, I'd rock them like no other. I'd close my eyes, walk down the street and pretend that I was that little kid who *finally* got her dream shoes, and I would be so alive in that moment. 

So as I was sitting at my desk in the office with no windows, paroozing the internet and reading Mia Johnson's words, thinking about how strolling around in my saddle shoes would make this childhood dream come alive, I realized something. I am not that little kid who needs her mom to get these shoes for her. I am grown, and I can get them. Myself. I immediately started scouring the internet for a stylish pair of tuxedo oxfords. I've spent the last few days weighing out my decision; which pair is just right? As I searched and searched this dream grew and grew. I realized that I wasn't just buying a pair of shoes. I wasn't just satisfying this childhood craving. I was taking control of this whirlwind life, and I was doing something to live. 

When I finally settled on creating a custom pair of black and whites on the Keds website, realizing this childhood dream had grown into a full blown creative project. How awesome would it be if we all took the time to make one of our childhood dreams come true? How amazing would it be if we could document it? Show it to the world and say "hey look! I'm living!" Day to day life is often rushed through, looked over, and passed by. Sometimes it feels like we are spinning out of control, and just making it through an ordinary day can seem like some crazy miracle. Sometimes we loose sight of what is important, who is important, and why these things are important. But if you take a moment to look back at your hopes and dreams from when you were a child, you will likely find that you had the right idea back then. Maybe you wanted to swim in a bathtub filled with Jello. Maybe you wanted to wear a space suit and rocket to the moon. Maybe you wanted to be a cat. Maybe you wanted to eat ice cream for dinner. Maybe you always wanted to be a teacher or travel the world. Or maybe just wearing a pair of tuxedo oxfords would have made you ecstatic. No matter your big dream was when you were a child, you deserve to see it through now as an adult. You deserve to know what it feels like to live the way you always wanted to. And now, you have the mind and means to make it happen. So get creative. Find a way to make it happen, and do it. 

I've decided that I want to turn this idea into a community art project of a sort. This is me doing something to live. So here is what I am asking. 

-Think about your childhood dreams. What did you want to be? What did you want to see? What did you want to do? It can be as simple as purchasing that coveted pair of shoes, or as complex as finding a way to rocket into space. 
- Get creative. Make it happen. Will I ever be able to be a cat? Well. No. Can I put on cat ears and drink milk from a bowl with my tongue? Yes. Can I take long naps in the sun on lazy afternoons? Sure can. Can I play with yarn? You bet I can. Get the picture? and speaking of pictures...
-Document it. Get a good photo or two of your dream come true. Record the moment when you consciously decided to live this childhood dream. Make a memory, please. 
- Tell your story. Take a few minutes to tell where your dream started, why it hasn't happened yet, and definitely tell us how it felt when you finally fulfilled it. 
- Give it a tag line. Tell your story in one sentence, fifteen words or less. 
- Share your experience. Send off the complete package to me via e-mail. The photo, the story, and the tag line. 

In a few weeks I plan on launching a new blog dedicated solely to this project, and this first batch of dreams from you will be what I launch. And while you'll likely find that living this dream is prize enough, I'd still like to show you how much I appreciate you sharing it with me. So if you'd like to send along a mailing address with your image, story, and tagline I will send you a lovely 5x7 matted version of your dream. Photo and tag line on the front, story printed on the back, and a thank you note from me. I can picture it in my head, it will be lovely. Promise. 

I may have to show up to work everyday to make a living, but this is what I am going to do to live right now. Displaying childhood dreams come true will be an honor. It will be fun. It will be real. And oh how it will make us all feel alive. 

The Daily Sneeze ((or what's making me feel alive today))
- melted chocolate ice cream.
- tuxedo oxfords in the mail.
- small dog.

oh and...
p.s. yes, this does mean I am back to Sneezweeding. for real this time. so please, keep checking back.