To Sleep, Perchance to Dream…Am I Where I Want to be in Life?

“To sleep, perchance to Dream…”

Borrowing a line from Hamlet*, albeit out of context, this very thought lingered in my mind the other night. Writing in my journal as I try to do every night before sleep (reality is it’s every few nights and insomnia battles the sleep), I began thinking about my dreams, my hopes, my fears. Am I where I want to be in life? Am I doing what I want to do? What of my future? What is my dream? What do I hope to aspire to? It’s questions that every one of us asks at some point (or several points) in our lives.

Hamlet asks, “To Die, to sleep, is that all? Aye all…” Depressing thought. But then he offers hope, in his own neurotic way:

No, to sleep, to dream, aye marry there it goes,
For in that dream of death, when we awake,
And borne before an everlasting Judge,
From whence no passenger ever returned,
The undiscovered country, at whose sight
The happy smile, and the accursed damned.
But for this, the joyful hope of this,
Who’d bear the scorns and flattery of the world,
Scorned by the right rich, the rich cursed of the poor?
The widow being oppressed, the orphan wronged,
The taste of hunger, or a tyrants reign,
And thousand more calamities besides,
To grunt and sweat under this weary life,
When that he may his full Quietus make,
With a bare bodkin, who would this endure,
But for a hope something after death?

To hope for something after death, after all the wearying ways of life. But while Hamlet was focused on the afterlife, I’m more concerned about the here and now. What am I accomplishing now so that I can go sweetly into the everlasting night? At first, I was depressed and crushed that I didn’t think I was living my dream.

I dreamed of opening a cheese shop and last year, went through all the steps necessary to pursue it, even to the point of securing a location. But I had to make a financial choice between having children or the cheese shop right now. Choosing to have children is the greater dream on my horizon. The cheese shop is now on indefinite hold.

Beyond having children and eating cheese, writing, reading, and art are my first loves. I started talking before I was one year old (to my mother’s dismay as I’ve never stopped since). I started reading at an extremely early age, precocious by nature, and devoured whatever I could get my hands on. Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames were girlish delights. But no romance. Never romance. It wasn’t my thing (and still isn’t). I wanted to be the tough girl who could solve crime and mysteries. Or to help others in their time of need.

My brother willingly played the “criminal,” and I was the lawyer trying to save the day. I forced my friends to be my students, to play “school,” while I lectured from a podium and scrawled on a chalkboard. I wanted to be an artist, designing fashion, and to walk the catwalk with my name up in lights. I wrote teenage-angst-filled poetry, expressing myself in writing. And always journaling, filling book after book with my innermost thoughts. I dreamed of being a writer,  having books that everyone would want to read and buy.

I still have some of those dreams although in a more grown-up fashion. I still want to be a writer with many published books. I still want to have children. I love to teach and create art. When I think about it now, I realize I am achieving those dreams, just maybe not in the exact way that I thought I would.

I am a writer. I blog several times a week. I’ve been published in a few literary journals. I’m working on a book (make that three books – a fiction mystery crime thriller, a memoir, and a children’s book).

I am an artist. I’ve created tons of art pieces and have shown them in galleries, on streets, and in homes. I craft, I paint, I draw, I create…regardless of the form it takes.

I will be a mother, soon. The plans are in the works. Hopefully next year, I can share some good news!

So I work a full-time job that isn’t in the field I want, I don’t have a published book yet, and I don’t have children yet…someday that will change as I continue to pursue my dreams.

I’m half-way there…the dreams are seen on the horizon.

Don’t give up. Don’t fret. Don’t think your life is wasted. Keep pursuing your dreams, your hopes, and your desires. You WILL accomplish them, in some way, shape, or form. That, I promise.

What are you hopes, dreams, and desires? Have you achieved any of them? How did you do it? If you haven’t, what steps are you taking to get there? I’d love to know! We can all use the encouragement!

*In the first edition of Hamlet in print, the First Quarto, the speech appears as follows (spelling corrected as before):

To be, or not to be, aye there’s the point,
To Die, to sleep, is that all? Aye all:
No, to sleep, to dream, aye marry there it goes,
For in that dream of death, when we awake,
And borne before an everlasting Judge,
From whence no passenger ever returned,
The undiscovered country, at whose sight
The happy smile, and the accursed damned.
But for this, the joyful hope of this,
Who’d bear the scorns and flattery of the world,
Scorned by the right rich, the rich cursed of the poor?
The widow being oppressed, the orphan wronged,
The taste of hunger, or a tyrants reign,
And thousand more calamities besides,
To grunt and sweat under this weary life,
When that he may his full Quietus make,
With a bare bodkin, who would this endure,
But for a hope something after death?
Which puzzles the brain, and doth confound the sense,
Which makes us rather bear those evils we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Ay that, O this conscience makes cowards of us all,
Lady in thy orisons, be all my sins remembered.(1)

Source:

1. Evans, G. Blakemore, et al; Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1997; ISBN 0-395-85822-4, 9780395858226.

One thought on “To Sleep, Perchance to Dream…Am I Where I Want to be in Life?

  1. I am no where near my dreams–my dreams of being a professional artistic photographer were dashed to bits and pieces, when I had to leave my precious 35mm Minolta camera & gear behind [as well as my nearly 30 years of journals!], as I went into a hospital, and then into an assisted-living facility. With all that written, I thankfully, constructed a “new ” dream {though it really was only submerged deeply}–that of writing fiction. I’ve got 2 works “percolating” at this moment!

    Like

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