“A dream written down with a date becomes a GOAL. A goal broken down into steps becomes a PLAN. A plan backed by ACTION makes your dreams come true.” — Greg Reid
I was pulling on a jacket, grabbing my gloves, and reaching for the leash. My sister’s dog looked up and then did the funny little sit, his furry butt not quite touching the floor, that he does when he is ready to go out and a little impatient waiting for me. I clipped the leash on and we went for a quick walk, just for a late afternoon break around the neighborhood, the perimeter walk, as my sister calls it. I was thinking about my own weight, but mostly cute Jupiter’s waiting for me. Once we got outside, we had to wait for another dog and his human to pass on the icy sidewalk before we could begin.
It got me to thinking about waiting. We often are waiting, in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, waiting at a stoplight or in a long line of traffic or waiting for the bus. Flashback to the early days of the pandemic, I recall the long lines outside of the grocery store, when building occupation limits were scaled back and strictly enforced. I remember my mother waiting for us in the car before my sister and I emerged from the house in the mornings before junior high and high school. I can remember the long wait as a child before a day I was looking forward to: my birthday, Christmas, or the first day of summer. Waiting can span minutes, days, months or whole lifetimes. My mind, though, went to the other things we are waiting for, those that we don’t even give voice to. What are those things you’re waiting for?
Have you ever made a list of the things you’re waiting for? I would bet that a lot of the things on that list come down to you. Are you waiting on yourself? Have you wait listed your dreams? Have you even dared to admit some of those dreams by jotting them down on a piece of paper? If putting them down in your journal feels too personal or too official, scavenge for the back of an envelope or an old receipt. Give yourself a few minutes and write down the things that you want to do. I don’t like the term or even the concept of a bucket list, as if death was the only reason for living, or the deadline for checking off items that you dream of doing. Anyway, whatever you want to call it, make that list of some of your dreams. It doesn’t have to be an exhaustive list, but at least list the first few that come to mind.
Upon further examination, what is keeping them in the waiting cue? What is keeping you from doing those things?
If your list is anything like mine, you probably have some big things and some small things on your list. You might also be able to divide your list into a few more categories. Make that list of categories, which are really excuses if you think about it. List all the reasons and excuses why your dreams are waiting. This is your wait list. Yeah, that list can be uncomfortable. I will share some of my waiting list. Yikes.
It would be fun to do, but I don’t really know if I want to do it.
It would be great, but it’s going to take years of saving money before I can do it.
I don’t have the skill set or knowledge to do it.
I’m afraid to do it.
I don’t want to do it by myself.
I am waiting until circumstances are better
I don’t have time to do it.
I don’t deserve to get to do that.
What will people think?
What will my family think?
My friends will think I’m crazy.
I’m too old to do it.
I don’t really know what this would entail for it to become reality.
I’m worried about putting myself out there.
There are people who are starving, homeless, at war, and I shouldn’t want these big, cool dreams.
That’s such a silly little thing, it shouldn’t be on my dream list.
I’m always coming up with these big ideas and never following through with them.
I’m not ________ enough (fill in the blank: cool, young, pretty, thin, strong, talented, good, whatever).
Okay, sheesh. This is my wait list.
Now here’s some time for self-reflection. Do you want to turn a dream into a goal? You need a date. Do you want that to become reality? Then you need a plan. If it’s a big deal, it might take some time to plan and plot out.
I am picking two dreams, and turning them into plans. One is actually quite simple and could be accomplished by the end of this week. The other will take some time, some savings, and some dedication, but there was a little step that I could take today, and I did it.
I am losing my wait list. I am getting rid of the excuses and reminding myself that almost anything is possible. I will be journaling and meditating to examine the roots of that wait list, and processing that to begin to let it go.
I feel lighter now that I am losing the wait.