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I'm Not Making New Year's Resolutions: I'm Dusting Off My Old Dreams

'I realised that it might be time to dream bigger than our usual, tried-and-failed fresh starts to the year: the gym membership, the healthy lifestyle...'

28/12/2017 10:18 SAST | Updated 28/12/2017 12:14 SAST

So here's the thing — as the New Year approaches, I've been thinking about resolutions and all of the promises that we make to ourselves. I realised that it might just be time to dream bigger than our usual, tried-and-failed fresh starts to the year: the gym membership, the healthy lifestyle, the promise of more "me" time.

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All of these resolutions are well and good, but what I'm talking about are dreams — something in you that you have possibly not even thought of for years and years.

Some aspiration that got buried when you got married, or when you had kids, or when you started your career. Not on purpose, or because any of these life changes are bad — they are all good — but they make life busy.

And what gets the axe when life gets busy? Often, our own dreams do.

So what better time of year to dust off our dreams and ambitions, than the New Year?

Last year around this time, someone reminded me of a dream I had once — a long-buried dream to write.

I had put that dream aside as a quick succession of life changes came about — marriage, career, two kids. Putting it aside wasn't intentional; it just happened. Life happened.

Until recently, I hadn't written a word in 25 years, unless you count academic essays at university.

I've recently realised that it's okay to do something for me.

It's funny, because until someone reminded me to dust off my dream, I hadn't even really realised that it was still there.

I had become too caught up in being a mom, childcare teacher and wife to really think about what I had envisioned for my life before. I absolutely love everything about these different hats I wear — being a mom is the best and most rewarding thing that I've ever done, even though it can be hard as heck sometimes.

But I've recently realised that it's okay to do something for me. It's okay to dust off those old ambitions and dreams and take them out for a spin.

So I did. And I began to write.

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Taking the first step towards your dream does not mean you have to plunge in with both feet and hope for the best.

You can start by dipping your toes in the water first. I started out small.

When I think of writing, in the past I've gotten caught in the idea that in order to do that successfully, I have to write the next award-winning Canadian novel right away — a daunting prospect.

But I didn't even attempt that. Instead, I started with a blog. A parenting blog. And then when I was comfortable with that, I started to send my blogs away to get published.

Soon my dream of being a writer, that at one point I didn't even know I still had, became a reality.

Is there some untapped dream that you have put on the back burner? Is there something that you have put on hold in order to pursue a career or a family?

It doesn't have to be writing, of course; it can be anything. Maybe you are amazing at knitting, sewing, carpentry or pottery. Maybe you can program the crap out of any computer, or maybe you are great at fixing up old cars or restoring furniture.

Maybe your dream is to learn a new language, or to see the world. To travel to different places and meet new people.

This year, I'm not making a resolution that I know I will break anyway.

It's time to take a closer look at ourselves, and see if there is any dream left in us that has been untouched in years.

A dream which, maybe this New Year, you can dust off and bring out into the light of day. And share your dream and your gift with others — as they were meant to be shared.

When you dust off these old dreams, they can be intimidating. And so we sometimes put them back on the shelf straight away, saying, for example, "I don't have the money to travel around the world right now."

That's why taking baby steps towards your dream can be a really good thing. Rather than write the next Canadian novel, I started a blog.

If travelling is your dream, then rather than buying a plane ticket around the world, consider taking a weekend road trip somewhere you have never been to before, and enjoy getting to know a new area in your immediate surroundings — baby steps towards a bigger dream.

This year, I'm not making a resolution that I know I will break anyway. I'm taking more baby steps towards my dream.

We don't have to make our dream a reality all at once, but we can't get there if we don't start. It's okay to start small as you dream big.

Happy New Year, everyone. May this be the year that you unleash your dreams.

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