I typically don’t compare myself to others (I’ve heard that’s an “only child” thing. We don’t compete because we never learned how to); but I’m trippin’ a bit right now. From what I can garner, everyone seems so amped about their New Year’s Resolutions. Folks are posting pictures of their green smoothies, videos of workouts, vision boards, financial goals, debt payoff-plans, relationship promises, etc. while I just sit here, unbathed, in my workout clothes, eating an entire bowl of popcorn, writing to you.
I’m all about fresh starts, do-overs, new chances, possibilities. I love New Year’s Resolutions: the opportunity to try again because I’m a hopeful fuck-up (I may screw-up, but I’m hopeful that eventually good habits will stick). I’m usually the one who eagerly is writing my goals and my mini-goals by the first of the year; but this year I feel somewhat in a fog. It’s as if I only have a blurry vision of what I want.
I’ve been trying to figure out what my deal is. While many folks are boasting a successful “Day 3 or 4” of their new way of living, I can’t even nail down what I want my “new way” to be. Am I fully satisfied with where I am in life? No. While I’m grateful for my blessings; I believe that there is more in store for me. Am I simply lazy? I do think I’m in a bit of a “Obama is leaving office, I gained a lot of weight over the holidays, it’s cold and rainy” kinda funk; but I wouldn’t call it laziness. I tend to be able to work through my funks with the skill of an experienced garbage man.
So, I’ve concluded that I need to take a moment to dream (and I don’t mean take a nap). I mean that I really need to take a moment to do nothing but dream — to envision — what it is that I want to be when I grow up, or at least this time next year?
Dreaming used to come so easily. Remember? We would easily slip into fantasies — imagining ourselves teaching in front of a class, or performing at the Olympics, or being a doctor, or receiving our first Academy Award. It almost seemed real. Then this adulthood-thing came down on us and we got so focused on surviving that we lost sight of “thriving and striving.” Life become about the day-to-day dance of simply making it.
But life is more than that. We are designed for more than the monotonous chore of simply making it — of that I am sure. Frankly, I believe that it is difficult for us Black folks to dream. Dreaming was always seen as a luxury — something for rich folks or White folks to do. Black folks were just happy to make it. Right? My mother, who thought I was pretty special as most mothers do, simply wanted me to get a dependable job with benefits. That’s it — a steady paycheck and health insurance was all that my mother dared hope for me – because that was making it, and what else could you want for a Brown, Southern girl?
I remember my good friend talking about the advice that her family gave her when she was going through her divorce after her husband cheated multiple times. Most of them advised her to stay. At root was their belief that a Black woman was just lucky to have a man (a good man was a stretch—a dream man—impossible).
But Brown girls and boys are deserving of all this universe’s possibilities. And we are capable of achieving them. We are living potential, limitless possibility and unrealized dreams. We just have to give ourselves permission to dream.