Time is Running Out
Did you ever have a bigger than life dream when you were a kid? This is an actual page from ten year old me’s prized “Writer’s Notebook.” It was given to me as a gift in 1990, and I wrote in it often back then as I was learning the importance and power of writing down your dreams. It contains my life’s challenges, inspirations, my own poetry, songs, and any other big girl thoughts that little girl me wanted to get down onto paper that she deemed important enough to go into this notebook. In other words, it embodied everything I was, and wanted to be at the age of ten. This notebook was so sacred, that through the past twenty three years, and at least fifteen moves over four states, it has managed to tag along with me. Its been years since I’ve written anything in it, but this early page above resonates with me each and every time I look at it. Here I am, my ten year old self, before me on the page as if she existed just yesterday. My handwriting is naïve and unsure, my spelling mediocre, but my thoughts were formed with maturity and intention, and my outlook was determined. What I didn’t have was the ability back in 1990 to share this page of my innermost hopes and dreams with all of cyberspace. I couldn’t have created a Youtube video, made an instagram picture, or tweeted out to the social media universe about my lofty goal to write a book, and have it published by age thirteen (that would be where 1993 comes in).. because none of that existed yet. In 1990 when my pen met this paper, it forever released my dreams out into the universe, but figuratively speaking, not in the literal way we now almost compulsively release our inner most thoughts in staccato like sputterings out into cyberspace just to see the effect. Almost like dipping a toe in the water, we want to see what the reaction will be as the water ripples. Our inner thoughts and feelings become the rocks we use to skip the water. Our contributions to share who we are with others over the internet are more about satisfying a curiosity, derived from a desire to be a part of something, than an organic support system built on mutual vulnerability about our truest selves, the ten year old selves that want to write books and have them published. I sometimes wonder if I would have still pursued my love for writing into college, and still write a bit as I do today, such as creating this blog, if I had been given a platform back then, like our children have today, to dip my toes in the water for all to see.
Today the vast majority of our peers, and even those we deem to be “friends” are virtual strangers hiding behind the cloak of internet-anonymity. This “removed engagement” as I call it, is enabling a strange phenomenon to occur in this social media age. We are all so interested in being a part of the “community machine” we are using our hopes, dreams, most vulnerable pieces of ourselves as sacrificial offerings to belong. You see, I may still be as naïve as that ten year old girl, but something in me stirs when I see this page of my own long ago dreams. It reminds me that first and foremost, life is fleeting. Its much too short to waste time on things that don’t matter, people that don’t matter, and most of all opinions that don’t matter in your life. But, seeing this also makes me smile because I am one of the lucky ones. I grew up with my love of writing firmly intact in my heart, and I believe in large part that is because I was spared a childhood overwhelmed by the wired world we live in today that feeds on belonging like pack animals, to a cyber-reality. My children’s hopes and dreams are at risk of being offered up to the “machine” and thus lost in cyberspace if they are not met with authentic support from those who’s opinions really matter. When was the last time you sat down with your kids, in a tech-free zone, and had them each write down their innermost hopes goals, dreams on a piece of paper? Without the fear of judgment that comes attached to publicizing them in cyberspace, I wonder what you might hear. What if you made a pact to support those dreams, so they could either grow or evolve, authentically. Its powerful to think of taking back your influence from the “community machine” and the possibilities that await your child from encouragement by those who love and support them genuinely.