It’s twenty minutes before midnight. My birthday is approaching fast. I’ve written a lot lately about stuff that has already happened. Now, I feel like it’s time to write about something that is coming up… and soon. As in, twenty minutes from now.
I’ve always loved birthdays. And I still do. Why? I suppose because we’re trained to love our own birthdays. I mean, hell, from your very first birthday, your parents get you a cake, throw you a party (where eventually you will get to invite all of your friends when you’re old enough to have friends), and you get presents. You are the center of attention and everyone is very nice to you. Well, maybe just because they have to be…. but c’mon, seriously, what’s not to love?!
So it’s my big day. And I’m actually really excited. My sweetheart arrived today from the other side of the planet to be with me. My new friends in Australia (i.e.- my cast mates from Aladdin) are coming to brunch with us tomorrow. And then I’m going to be interviewed in my dressing room for Cosmopolitan magazine. Yes… Cosmo! And the icing on the cake (pun intended), is that I get to dress up as a princess and perform for 2100 people in a hit musical!
I’m aware that life is pretty awesome right now. And that it isn’t always. But right now, things are pretty freakin good.
So what could I wish for this year as I blow out the candles on my cake? What more could I possibly want, crave, yearn for, dream about? And, I wonder, does that make me selfish or greedy to have anything more that I want?
I don’t think it’s greed. I have goals. That’s different. Goals for myself, and my career, and my experience in life. I have dreams of who I want to grow up to be, and how I want to be in the world, and things that I want to do/experience. And goals will keep me growing, learning, and excited about my progress. The brilliant cellist Pablo Casals, when questioned as to why he continued to practice 4-5 hours a day in his nineties, replied “I think I’m making progress.” Having something in your life that continues to challenge your mind and your skill and your focus— that is a major component of happiness and a life that feels full.
Like Pablo Casals, I think it’s important to continue to dream, even if we’ve reached a certain level of success. Having a dream is like seeing a bright star out there in the ether, and knowing that one day you’ll understand what the mysteries of the universe already know. Having a dream means that you are going to continue to work towards it… which requires focus, dedication, creativity, fantasy and faith. All of which will lead us towards growth. I’ve heard before that if we’re not growing, then we are dying. To me, that translates as: If we are not expanding our knowledge of who we are and what we are capable of, then we are coasting/ floating/ becoming blase. If we want to stay young and vibrant, we better find a hobby that encourages our growth. Like learning a new skill, or reading books that make us think and wonder, or writing/journaling/dreaming. Even water that’s flowing in a river, or falling from the sky, has dreams of one day finding its way home.
This upcoming year, I’ve got many dreams. Here are a few:
- Learn guitar and maybe piano
- Write more poetry
- get better at cooking
- publish my first children’s book
- take a surfing lesson in Australia (or several)
- Learn basic Tagalog and basic Sign Language
- begin hand-writing letters to my friends
- Record more music for fun
- swim in the Great Barrier Reef
- Learn how to be better with my finances & saving/scanning receipts
- create a system of “work hours” for myself to respond to emails, pay bills, etc.
I’m sure there are more goals that will pop into my brain over time, but that’s a good start, I think!
I’m grateful for so much in my life. My relationships, my family, my work, my health (and the health of my loved ones). I’m happy and content. And I have goals. And finding that Balance, between being happy with what you have and where you are, and also dreaming about what’s next for you to make your life even more awesome…. therein lies the gift.