I have small dreams.
I have big ones, too, but the ones I cherish most are the tiny ones.
- I want to feel strong in my left shoulder again.
- I want to have a nearly empty closet
- I want to grow tomatoes in my front yard.
- I want to write a letter, by hand, every week.
- I want to fill a journal.
- I want to reach the end of the day and feel happily exhausted.
I cherish the small dreams because they are achievable. Because even in the midst of life with a small child, I can move myself toward them. I don’t have to sacrifice a year or a month or even a weekend away from my family. I can spend 15 minutes here and 10 minutes there.
- I can hit the gym for 30 minutes on the weight machines doing the grocery shopping on a Sunday afternoon.
- I can spend an rainy afternoon pulling out and boxing up most of my clothes while my daughter plays dress up with the off casts.
- I can start tomato seeds in my kitchen today.
- I can set a box of cards next to my favorite spot on the couch and write a note while my love is putting our daughter to bed.
- I can draw a picture during Bean’s tumbling class, or while I wait for her to so slowly eat her lunch.
- I can choose, each day, what will best fill my heart.
Sometimes dreams feel small because they are unconventional, but the distance from where you are to where you want to go feels huge.
Back when I was a manager at Apple, my dream of staying home with my babies and raising chickens wasn’t something I talked about a lot. It felt small, not something I should want. I had the big dream already – I was a manager in an important division, I was paid well – I had everything I was told I should want. Except that I didn’t want that.
I wanted babies and chickens, and time to live slowly and simply. I wanted to cook our meals and mend our clothes. I didn’t want to have to pay someone else to do those things because I didn’t have time to do them myself. At the time I had no idea how to get to the small life I dreamed of. And yet, here I am, smack in the middle of that dream achieved.
You get there by taking a step. And then another step. And then another.
Small dreams are practice for large dreams. Small dreams are steps, sometimes, to large dreams.
Small dreams might lead you to a whole new life.
We have a dream of traveling the world. This is not a small dream.
We’d love spend a month or a year at a time traveling outside the US. We don’t quite know yet how to make it happen, but we are taking small steps, and coming up with smaller dreams to get us moving in that direction.
We want to buy an off-road camper and circumnavigate Australia. So we started by borrowing our friend’s Rav4 and driving north from Perth and into the bush for a couple of days when we were there visiting couple of years ago.
Last month I read Tsh Oxenreider’s new book, Notes From a Blue Bike. It is all about her journey to live her life intentionally and simply. And underneath it all is that heartbeat of nursing your small dreams, one by one.
- Do you want to feed your family in cycle with the seasons? More locally, more thoughtfully? Take a small step.
- Do you want to be more involved in your children’s education? Take a small step.
- Do you want to travel with your family? Take a small step.
Although I already live much of what she is offering in these stories, it was so nourishing to read her experiences, lessons, and advice. It is so good to know there are others out there who are chasing dreams that might look small to others but that feel huge (and essential) to them.
If you are one of those people, I encourage you to read this book. It releases today, Tuesday.
What is your small dream? Write it down. Give it power.