How many times have you said that? To someone else or even just to yourself?
My friend B: “I’m just one lottery win away from buying my dream home on Turks & Caicos …
My friend K: “I’m just one lottery win away from buying the Corvette I’ve always wanted …
My friend G: I’m just one lottery win away from paying off my mortgage …
My friend S: “I’m just one lottery win away from buying your trailer at Hope Bay …”
I get it. We all have fantasies. We all have dreams. We all have desires, wishes and hopes. And I guess most of us buy lottery tickets.
Well … except me. I never have. I used to belong to a pool at work and all I had to do was hand over a twenty every now and then and I was good to go. (Nowhere as it turns out. We never won anything). I was also once in a lottery “duo” with that same friend B. All I had to do was hand over a twenty every now and then and she assured me we would one day be vacationing in her dream home on Turk & Caicos. Which I was welcome to purchase with her if I so desired.
I do. I desire a vacation home on Turks & Caicos. I just figure if I desire such a thing I am going to have to formulate a lottery-free plan to get it. Sure, people win big with lotteries every day. I’ve just never been the kind of girl to leave my big dreams to chance. If I REALLY want something I will wrack (wreck?) my brain with as much creative, outside-the-box thinking I can muster to get it. It doesn’t always work but I will sure-as-shootin’ try.
Case in point: I always wanted to do a Christmas album with all of my talented musical friends. I have loads of talented musical friends and I love Christmas music but I truly had no money to accomplish such a thing. Studio time costs money. Talent costs money. Pressing and releasing a record costs money. So … at first I said, “When I win the lottery I will do a Christmas album.” And then I gave my head a shake and said, “I want to do a Christmas album now so HOW can I make that happen?”
I decided to do the record for charity. Three of them, in fact. I enlisted corporate sponsors and for their (healthy) donation to the project they were allowed to choose the charity to which their donation would go. The funds for that donation would come from CD sales. They would get their name on the record cover and the money they “invested” would pay all my costs. I asked all those talented friends to work “for free” because ALL proceeds were going to worthwhile causes. And they did. “Vickie van Dyke & Friends – Simply Christmas” was born and exists to this day (at all the usual outlets) and ALL proceeds still go to charity. I never cared about MAKING money. I cared about spending money I did not have and I cared about fulfilling a creative dream.
I did not wait to win the lottery. I dreamed it, I developed it and then I did it.
DREAM IT. DEVELOP IT. DO IT.
My pal C had her own development strategy. She always wanted to have a summer home on the water. Being a big believer in those “dream boards”, she posted a photo of a waterfront cottage in front of her desk so that every day when she sat down she would be reminded of her goal. She and her hubby both worked hard and when they retired, they sold their big-city house, bought a condo and finally purchased their own piece of summer paradise.
Is it a palace, a dump or a tiny fixer-upper? I have no idea. They haven’t invited me (yet). What I do know is it is their happy place. They will most certainly make it “their own” in time and they will be – quite literally – living the dream.
My other pal H had a different kind of dream. She wanted to retire, move west, be close to family and look after her granddaughter a few times a week. Sounds simple enough, right? Maybe for some but H didn’t have much spare cash (moving is expensive), she was still grieving her husband’s death and her nerves were somewhat fragile. Did that stop her?
No. H organized every last duck one by one, step by step, dollar by dollar, and when it was all lined up thanks to her determination and exhausting effort, she landed in Winnipeg ready to start living HER dream.
DREAM IT. DEVELOP IT. DO IT.
W is not quite so motivated. W complains constantly about her life (especially during these Covid times). W is negative and needy. I mean, she was negative and needy before the pandemic hit but now she is pretty much immobilized by inertia. She blames everybody (else) for everything. Her only dream is that when she wins the lottery she is going to take a cruise around the world.
And yes, of course you can dream about that kind of stuff. But how you develop it and then do it?
Why not dream about taking a cruise to the Caribbean and then actually develop THAT dream? Maybe THAT is a more manageable dream? Why not dream about renting a cottage on a lake this summer and make THAT happen? Why not dream about being the most positive, upbeat person you have ever met and make THAT happen?
THAT won’t cost a penny and I guarantee your life will change tenfold.
We can all have dreams that are fantasies and nothing more. Yes, I concede that George Clooney is never going to invite me to Lake Como, I am not going to be the next Carole King, my book (Confessions of a Potty-Mouthed Chef: How To Cheat, Eat and Be Happy – you should read it!) is never going to made into a Netflix series and I will most likely never win the lottery. (Sorry B, you’ll have to buy that house on Turks & Caicos without me).
But I DID dream about living on the water and now I do. I DID dream about Lake Huron sunsets and now I see them from my living room window. I DID dream about having a Golden Doodle (15 years ago, before they were the rage) and when I saw my first Sheepadoodle 5 years ago I dreamed about him too. Now I have both.
I have enjoyed ridiculous fantasies along the way (next blog?) and I have also adjusted my dreams along the way to make them more realize-able. I am actually astonished when I start listing the dreams I have dreamed that I would have never thought stood a chance of coming true … but did.
- I wrote a cabaret-style musical 20 years ago. Five years ago, seemingly out of the blue, 6 of the most talented people I know helped me produce a fabulous little workshop production of it. (“My Romance” – available on YouTube.)
- I left a marriage that I couldn’t figure out how to figure out a life that I could figure out … and live honestly. Hard to believe I’m a writer I know, but here we are …
- I recorded ANOTHER album (Vickie van Dyke & Davor Jordanovski – “Under The Influence”) of jazz standards because it was on my bucket list. My mother (may she rest in peace) financed this one, and ALL proceeds continue to go to Hospice Wellington where she died.
- I started writing this blog (almost 9 years ago) and when I started I had 7 followers. Now I am closing in on 150 (plus all my lovely Facebook friends who take the time to read and comment).
And yes. I did dream about writing a book AND publishing it and now it is out there for all the word to see.
Is it a best seller. Nope.
Was it endorsed by Elizabeth Gilbert or Glennon Doyle?
Is it a worthwhile book and am I glad I wrote it?
DREAM IT. DEVELOP IT. DO IT.
You really and truly DO need all three steps. Dreaming is easy. Developing takes a lot of work and creative thinking. And DOING it? Well, that’s the most difficult part.
Also the most rewarding. Because when YOU do it, YOU win. It’s not fate, it’s not chance and it’s not a fucking lottery.
Who knows? Maybe my book WILL become a Netflix series? Maybe George Clooney will produce it and star in it and then of course invite me to Lake Como? Maybe my next album of original songs will propel me into the Carole King stratosphere? And maybe one day B and I will own a vacation home on Turks & Caicos?
I hope we do. But you know what else I hope?
I hope we earn it. I hope we DREAM IT. DEVELOP IT. AND DO IT.
Can you imagine how much more meaningful it will be?