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Commentaries & Essays

Dreaming

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Deborah Prum
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I write for a living, which means I sit in front of a computer for hours. For years, I balanced on the edge of a rigid wooden chair. Later, I moved to a tipsy rolling chair. Neither provided back support. Four years ago, I bought a metal chair for a couple of dollars at a yard sale. As the sellers loaded it into my car, they warned me, “You know it’s broken, right?” I assured them it was better than the chair I had at home, which caused a lot of back pain.

Yes, it was a better chair, but a terrible chair nonetheless. Remember those old space travel movies where the astronauts sat in huge padded seats way above their instrument panels? My chair was stuck in the highest position, which meant I had to perch in space, using a wireless keyboard to type and a tall footstool to brace myself in position.  Not surprisingly, I still experienced pain.

Along the same lines, for decades, I’ve refused to spring for a decent winter coat. Instead, I’ve walked around in a red ski jacket that used to belong to a relative’s former husband’s boss’s wife. Initially, when I received that hand-me-down, it looked new, but after years of hard use, the zipper broke. Then, the stitching came loose, causing a large cloud of tiny white feathers to float behind me wherever I walked. I looked like a red duck who had been in a terrible accident.

Why not buy a decent chair and a coat that provides warmth?

Why not, indeed?

In my mind’s eye, I still picture myself as a nine-year-old cavorting on the asphalt playgrounds of my youth. Back then, I believed I had a zillion years ahead of me. But, I’m not nine and my time on earth is finite. Yet, deep inside, I have not embraced that reality.  So, I tend to put off taking care of what I need and I often have to push myself to pursue a dream. I don’t think I’m unusual. Plenty of people are just like me, waiting for the perfect time, not recognizing that the time might be right now.

One day, I went to COSTCO. For sixty dollars, I bought an adjustable rolling chair with excellent back support. I can sit in it for hours, pain-free.

Later, I went to Sears and bought a full-length, down coat with a hood for less than a hundred dollars. (Yes, in the fashion world, Sears is nothing to brag about.) Now, when the wind is howling, I can walk outdoors in relative comfort.

I realize that some people do not have the resources to buy even an inexpensive chair or a coat. That is terrible. But, I did have the resources and somehow kept putting it off, which made no sense at all. What was I waiting for?

In the big scheme of things, a chair and a coat are inconsequential. What about my dreams? For starters, I’d like to see a night sky so filled with stars that I’d feel as if I could climb straight into the heavens. I’d like to come across a pair of manatees while kayaking deep in the Everglades. I’d like to paint a portrait so evocative that it would lift the spirits of the viewer.

What are your dreams? Here’s some advice from surfer-singer, Jack Johnson,

“…And all this living’s much harder than it seems. But girl, don’t let your dreams be dreams.”