Dream Crushing

I used to know someone who seemed to delight in crushing others’ dreams. When I was young, she approached my mother, all concerned, because I talked about wanting to be a teacher, when the week before I wanted to be something else. My mother responded, “She’s a kid. She’s supposed to try different ideas on for size. Let her be.” (That was probably one of my mother’s finest moments. Thanks, Ma.)

This person went on to have children of her own, and it broke my heart the way she used to deprive them of all hope. When one of her kids said she wanted to be a singer, she was told that you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than become famous.

While that may be true, the message she was sending was, “Why even try? You won’t be good enough.” Because of that, that girl grew up and singing isn’t a part of her life. She might have been famous. Or she might have sung in the church choir and made lifelong friends that way. Or she might have become a music teacher. So many paths were cut off from her life thanks to her mudslide of a mother.

When another one of her kids showed aptitude in one area above all others, she tried her best to discourage him, because it wouldn’t be an easy career. But he lived and breathed it. He did manage to get halfway into it, but never went the distance. I often wonder where he’d be if he had gotten just the tiniest bit of encouragement from the woman he admired most.

It’s so much easier to crush someone than to lift that person up. When you crush, gravity is on your side. But I hope you’ll resist the urge.

Watching people fly, even if it’s away from you,  even if the destination remains just out of reach for them, is much more satisfying than having to scrape them off the sole of your shoe.

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Pragmatism

I was just reading a book about clutter reduction which actually had some extremely helpful advice. But then the author advocated a certain way of folding one’s clothes because she says that when clothes are in a drawer, they are resting, and it’s impossible to rest if you’re all wadded up. Also, if you don’t show your clothes that you respect them, it hurts their feelings.

Oh, please. I refuse to live my life in fear of offending inanimate objects. It’s not going to happen.

Practicality and pragmatism are my watchwords.

While I consider myself a spiritual person, and I’ve seen many things that can’t easily be explained, I genuinely believe that I need to take care of myself, first and foremost, rather than expecting some higher power to step in on my behalf.

Even though I do seem to have a lot of friends whose birthdays fall within range of certain astrological signs and not others, and I enjoy reading the horoscopes on occasion, I refuse to believe that every person on the planet needs to rigidly adhere to one of twelve possible predictions every day. Humans are way too complex to be pigeonholed like that.

My dogs are my best friends, but they’re still dogs. I once told a dog sitter the times they are accustomed to being fed, and she became very concerned because she couldn’t guarantee that she’d be able to make the 3 pm feeding. She thought I’d be upset if she fed them at 5 instead. But I said, “They’re dogs. They’ll have to get over it, won’t they?”

Speaking of dogs, a friend of mine has to go way out of his way to obtain a rare brand of dog food, as it is the only thing his poodle will eat. Oh, really? I bet that dog’s stubborn resolve would only last a day or two. You’ll eat what I give you, Pookie.

I have another friend who irons her underwear. Why is this important in life? Why?

And don’t even get me started about bureaucracies. The stupidity that abounds in them is enough to make me want to pull my hair out by the roots. “Because that’s how it has always been done” is not a valid response to my inquiries.

I enjoy flights of fancy as much as the next person, but I only allow things to influence the way I live my life if they make sense. So my undies will just have to suffer from wounded egos and remain wadded up in my drawer. Life’s just too freakin’ short.

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