A few weeks ago I had a dream that Sears was having a going-out-of-business sale, and I was running up and down the escalators, trying to snap up last-minute bargains. Filled with excitement because of the incredible deals, I filled my arms with things, things, and more things, as I maneuvered through aisles and knocked other shoppers out of the way.
When I woke up, I felt depressed. When did my dreams, that realm of unlimited possibility, become so small, so seemingly trivial? In my dream life, I could instantly create anything I wanted, and here I was, spending a night dreaming about shopping bargains. At Sears. How pathetic!
I wondered if my dream world hinted at parallels in my waking life. Had I, over the years, become less ambitious? Did I shrink my dreams in an effort to close the gap between my wild fantasies and my current reality?
I used to aspire to world travel, buying homes in multiple cities, and building a media empire, among other lofty things. But my file folder of magazine clippings that were meant to inspire me got buried underneath the day-to-day work that has kept me occupied for a long time and that has, for the most part, kept me content.
Now don't get me wrong. I like my life. And I find tremendous value in appreciating what I have now and where I am—appreciating the present is something that I continuously work on because I have found it to be, at the very least, calming and, at the very best, transformative. But I began to realize that the line between contentment and complacency can be very thin.
The problem with having big goals, of course, is that there's the very real possibility that you might not achieve them. And that can dampen your spirit. It can cause you to question yourself. It can make you shrink, make you think small, make you believe that going-out-of-business sales at Sears are the best you can do.
Well, you know what? Fuck that. Fuck. That. Say it out loud, people. FUCK. THAT.
John Steinbeck wrote, "It is the nature of man to rise to greatness if greatness is expected of him." Some may feel that that line of thinking just sets you up for failure. But, as longtime readers may remember, I don't believe in failure.
What if it's okay to dream big? And what if it's okay if those dreams don't transpire on our timetable? And what if that's actually our cue to dream bigger?
Again, looking towards a bright future should not be at the exclusion of appreciating the present. It may seem like a paradox, but it's not. Life is change. Growth is evolution. Dreaming big encourages us to move forward. And there's a lot to be said for momentum.
So, let me get things started. Here are my big dreams for 2009.
• I finish a new original screenplay and sell it. I've had three different screenplays optioned, and I wrote another one as a work-for-hire, but I've yet to make an outright sale of an original script. The last original screenplay I finished was about three years ago. I'm currently working on Morph—I'm on page 99 of the seventh draft.
• I finish a new play and get it slated for production. It's been about four years since I finished a new full-length play and about that long since my last world premiere of a multi-character script. I'm currently working on The Four Tastes—I'm on page 16 of the first draft. (I already have two productions slated for 2009, but they're older plays; and I have a couple one-acts touring schools.)
• I continue to write Bamboo Nation at the same pace I do now, and I quadruple my readership. About 3,600 people per month visit Bamboo Nation, resulting in about 11,000 page views. I'd like to get that to 14,400 people/44,000 page views.
• I write and publish a book version of Bamboo Nation. You'd buy that shit, wouldn't you?!
• Zac Efron fathers my children.
Okay. Now it's your turn. I've seen some of your New Year's Resolutions, and they're all fine and dandy, but I want you to dream big. Dream bigger. What are you aiming for, personally, in 2009?
I know many of us never share our big dreams in a public forum—hell, sometimes it's difficult to admit them to ourselves. But getting them out in the open forces you to take them seriously, gives them a life of their own, nudges you to take the necessary actions to ensure their survival. So please share.
For those of you afraid to share your big dreams in public, it's okay. You know what I'm willing to do for you? E-mail them to me. I'll read them and file them away. I won't badger you about them, but at least they'll be out in the open, out in the ether.
And if you're unwilling to do that, then I encourage you to write them down and tuck them away someplace that you'll remember.
I'm rooting for you as much as you're rooting for me. You know why? You, dear readers, have made last year the best year ever for Bamboo Nation. This blog has become incredibly important to me in ways you will never know, and your attention, support, and friendship are deeply appreciated. Whether I know you or not, whether you're in contact with me regularly or just lurk in the background, you all—in ways that are subtle and overt—contribute to the life of this blog and, by extension, contribute to my life. And I thank you.
My baby boy, Pork Chop, dressed up like a fairy princess to wish you well and sprinkle fairy dust on your dreams.