When I sat down to write this article, I tried to remember what were some of my childhood dreams? Now that I am in the later years of life, did I realize those dreams? Is there still time to see what I hoped for to become reality? The answers I found did not come easy to me. As a child, my dreams were probably rather simple, dreaming of things I wished I had or places I wanted to go- just simple childhood dreams. A new puppy or a trip to Disneyland, perhaps just a new pink dress. By my Junior High years, my father had become very ill and spent three-months in ICU, my dreams were visions of my dad being home, healthy and our family being the way it used to be before his illness.
By my High School years, I had dreams of singing, maybe even record a song someday. Oh, I did sing and even for a while with a little garage band but I never saw my name in lights, and rightfully so, as I did not have the drive to fight that hard for it, but I did keep singing just for me.
About to leave High School, we all were given a career aptitude test to help guide us. The results of my test left me laughing, I was told I should be either a Social Worker or a Mechanic. WHAT? How could the skills be so different? I decided just to figure out what I wanted to do and decided I wanted to join the Peace Corp. When I told my mom she replied to me “You do know many places in the Peace Corp will not have running water, there will be no need for make-up or hair curlers and you may be in jungles with snakes and such? Thus ended my dreams of the Peace Corp. Not to mention, I really wanted to be a mom, so running off to a remote jungle might not be my plan.
Later, I modeled a bit, did sales (make-up and clothes of course) and I did become a mom- in fact four times! I knew from the first moment, being a mom was really my dream and although my second child only lived a short few day, he lived long enough to be loved. My three surviving sons filled my life and made me know that I picked what was right for me, being a mom is the best career I could have ever chosen.
And then after they were grown, a dream from many years ago came back to me. After working in the nonprofit world for 30 years, I found myself working in Africa for a brief time and in Latin America working with the poorest of the poor for 12 years. Yes, I found myself in homes with dirt floors with no running water but met incredible people surviving and thriving in the most difficult situations. I could not have done what they did and still be joyful. Although late, I was blessed for my dreams to have been realized.
Now as someone who has lived many years, through many life events, marriage, children, deaths, wars and more, I still have dreams. Not unlike the well-known words of Dr. Martin Luther King, I also dream of a time when we can all recognize the value of each human being. A time to see people for who they are, not the color of their skin. A time when a person’s value is not in the money they have or do not have, money is no measure of value in a human being. I dream of a time, when every life is valued. A time when every child is given the same opportunity to dream and become whatever they are meant to be.
Most will say there will never be a “Utopia” where everyone is treated equally but that is after all what dreams are- just what we wish to be. I guess my final dream will be that others will come together and at least try to create a better world for the generations that will follow us…just imagine every person feeling the freedom to dream and live the life they wish. And maybe one of my old dreams will resurface and I will sing the old Coca Cola words. “I’d like to buy the world a home and furnish it with love…I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.”And for me, until then, I’ll just keep dreaming until the end.