GOOOOOOOALS!

1240872301-28052011175241I watch a soccer match maybe once every four years (Olympics, people, Olympics), and I’m always struck by how insanely boring it can be when the teams aren’t scoring. Seeing as they don’t generally score that often most times I sit there thinking about other things while they kick the black and white ball around in the background. I would probably be doing the same thing if I was physically at the match too, which is why I’m very glad I’ve never been invited to be at one.

But when they do score it’s dramatic, no more so than when the announcer gets amped up, raises his voice, and draws out the word like it’s a knife and he’s liberating it from its scabbard. “GOOOOOOOOOOAL!” he says, and I look up from my ruminations to find guys dancing around shirtless. Uh, when did that happen, and why did I miss the most dramatic thing that’s probably going to happen this whole match? Luckily for me usually after that pronouncement (that scream, really) they replay the actual goal and I can pretend I saw it from the start. “Yeah, I was there when Ronaldo scored.”

goal imageI think maybe I do that in life too sometimes. Each day follows the one that came before, and they begin to blur together, so I mentally check out and go through the motions. Before I know it a week, a month, an entire year has passed by and I don’t know where it went. In the process I missed out on the major moments that could have helped me reach my own goals, and there’s no announcer with a booming voice to alert me to what I missed so I could get a do-over. So I guess I should just try and stay alert all the time, to imagine life is a football game and if I miss the snap I’m going to fumble the ball.

And setting my goals is important in making all of that a reality, in not losing my focus like I’ve done so many times before. So I’ve done that, and I have three solid writing goals for this year. I’m going to use them to keep myself inspired and headed in the right direction, and maybe after I accomplish each one I’ll ramp up my soccer announcer voice so I can find a way to stretch out that infamous word. I’m just not taking my shirt off. Sorry ladies.

Sam

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A Little Resolve: Part 2

New-Years-Resolutions-Quotes-Images-1011“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

On the first day of this year I wrote a treatise on why implementation is so much more important than resolution, especially when it comes to things you want to improve or change over a standard course of time. I know for myself that’s always been the hardest part, the idea of sticking with the plans I make for the year and getting them done. It’s also easier to decide on two major issues and focus on them instead of a long list that is easy to avoid because it’s so large.

At the beginning of this year I wanted to 1) publish another novel, and 2) spend more time with my children. Last year I published my first novel and I was so excited to have it out in the world that I wanted to buckle down again and produce another work that would make me proud. By February I had gone through several massive edits, decided on my cover art, and completed my first resolution. It took serious dedication, which meant setting a goal each and every day, and then accomplishing it.

While it was a labor of love to get through that manuscript, to edit it, and to finally produce it, my second resolution was even more difficult because it wasn’t really quantifiable. There was really no final physical product, just an approximation based on past time spent and ongoing time spent. So I made it relatively quantifiable by making more plans with my kids. I scheduled more playdates, played more games, and created more activities where we were all stars and extras at the same time.

You-have-to-dream-before__quotes-by-Abdul-Kalam-79But unlike the resolutions to lose weight and to be better organized that most people tend to favor, the two I chose were attainable with attention and focus, and they have long-term sustainability because they bring me great joy day in and day out. Don’t get me wrong, though. I am still committed to working out, but I’m not resolving to do it because I know I’ll get frustrated when I miss a week if I do that. I know I’ll get it done most weeks, but if a week passes without exercising I’ll still survive. And if things get a little cluttered in my personal space it’s all good. I can organize them in my own spare time, when I feel like it, not because there’s a metaphorical gun to my head saying I have to do it.

So, make your resolutions ones you’ll appreciate rather than ones you think you should have because everyone else is choosing them. Have attainable goals and a set outline of how to achieve each one of them. Set yourself a schedule and stick to it. And keep those resolutions simple, that’s the real key. The simpler they are the easier it will be for you to want to accomplish them. Stop wishing this year, and start really planning. You never know where it will take you.

Sam

Premonitions

“Oh, my life is changing every day, in every possible way. And oh, my dreams. It’s never quite as it seems. Never quite as it seems.” -The Cranberries

_dreams_by_devilish_premonitionI had this dream last night, and in it some people had broken into my car. I don’t remember where it was parked, but something tells me it was at the mall, in one of the outside slots, where the eighteen-wheelers like to park across several spots at the same time. I’m not sure why it had to be there, but of course that made it more appealing for thieves. And I couldn’t recall if I had locked the car or not, if it was a passive break-in or an active one, but I sensed that somehow I had locked it and they had smashed in the back window with a crowbar or some other such implement.

I’m not even sure where I was when this was happening, but I showed up moments after the thieves left. I could even see their own car pulling away, but I didn’t have my keys so I couldn’t follow them. They were driving away but looking back, taunting me because I didn’t have my keys. Then one of them, a sandy-haired youth, tossed the ring of keys out of a back window, and then they were gone. Just disappeared, car and all. I went to grab the keys but they weren’t mine. In fact, they were a set that kids play with, the large plastic multi-colored keys. And I remember feeling stupid that I hadn’t realized I had brought them instead of my actual car keys. Of course they belonged to the baby, but if you had asked me what baby I wouldn’t have been able to tell you.

Then I went back to check out the car, to see what other damage they had done besides bashing the back window in. The passenger side doors were wide open, open even wider than they can actually go, and the car looked pretty immaculate inside. Nothing seemed out of place at first glance. They had even brushed the glass off of the back seat and I could see the shards glittering against the pavement. Then I noticed that my iPod was missing, and I broke down in huge, gasping sobs, knowing that my world was over. Continue reading “Premonitions”

Sam’s Friday Top 5: Dreams

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As human beings, we have a plethora of dreams on any given night. Some we would characterize as nightmares, and some we would just call pleasant diversions. Often there are many that we don’t even remember, but usually a common theme comes through in our dreams. Have you noticed that in yours? Common themes are oftentimes things that are on our minds, that we’re focused on when we’re conscious. Then when we sleep they’re still there, waiting to attack our subconscious brain functions, or our dreams. I have several reoccurring dreams, and themes, that just keep coming back to my mind when I’m asleep. Here are my top 5:

5. I’m eaten by a bear.

Generally I’m with a group of friends (Hey, it’s a dream. I can have friends in my dream) around a campfire in the woods, when suddenly this huge grizzly bear comes out of the thick canopy of trees, just barges out into the clearing and everyone scatters. Everyone except me. I’m always sitting there transfixed until the bear just comes right up to me and eats me. Each time it’s different, but the end result is the same. I’m eaten by a bear. And I’m not sure if it’s trying to tell me that I’m afraid of bears, or the woods, or what, but it’s quite visceral, and I always wake up from this dream sweating.

4. I’m jumping off a building.

I know. You’d think this would be a nightmare, but it’s not. It’s actually one of my better dreams. I’m on top of a very high building, but somehow not a skyscraper. I have no idea why my subconscious makes the distinction, but it does. And I’m looking down, thinking about how high it is, when suddenly I jump right off the edge, as if I have wings. But I don’t have wings, and I’m plummeting to the ground, but it’s a good feeling, like this rush of air just pushing past me. I feel really calm throughout, but I never touch down. I usually wake up when I’m about halfway down. As with the bear dream, I have no clue why this one comes to me either, but I know I’m afraid of heights, so it’s kind of ironic.

3. I’m getting a root canal.

Don’t ask me how this one shows up. I don’t even know what really goes into getting a root canal. I’ve never had one (Phew!), and I’ve never seen one being done, but somehow my subconscious seems to focus on it. I’m sitting in the dentist’s chair for a routine visit, and it’s almost over when he looks into my mouth, frowns at the nurse, and tells me I need an immediate root canal or I’ll die. I freak out and try to get out of the chair, but they strap me down “asylum”-style and they have their way with me anyway. When it’s over I have no life left in me, but they always tell me it went just fine and they let me go home. But I don’t leave. I always just sit there drooling. Hmmmm. Odd. I really don’t want to ever have to get a root canal.

2. I’m going on a date.

This one is pleasant, but strange. No one has any faces in these dreams, and it’s always a different girl each time. I have no idea how I know it’s a different girl when none of them have faces, but I just know it. Anyway, each time is also a different place. Sometimes we go out to eat. Other times it’s a movie (and I always remember which movie we saw when I wake up). Still other times we go for a walk on the beach, or we fly kites, or various other adventures. At the end of each and every single date, I know I get this weird feeling about kissing her goodnight (maybe because she has no lips, or whatever), but I always decide to do it. And always just before we kiss she disappears, and I’m left leaning into empty air. Sometimes I even fall. I didn’t really date much in my life, so maybe that’s why this one is reoccurring. Who knows? It is pleasant, though, even though I never get to kiss anyone.

1. I’m sleeping.

This one is the oddest dream ever, but it’s the one I have most often. I would say that in any given week I probably have this dream at least three times. It’s simple too. I dream that I’m having an out of body experience, looking down at myself sleeping. Sometimes I’m sleeping on the grass outside the house. Other times it’s on the beach (apparently I like beaches in my dreams when I could take or leave them in real life). Still other times I’m sleeping on a futon in a dorm room, or on my house roof. Apparently I can fall asleep just about anywhere in my dreams. A couple of times I even dreamt I was sleeping in my own bed, and it felt so real, the see-through spirit of me floating overhead looking down on me sleeping under the covers. Yikes, I don’t think I should have ever read that Lois Duncan book!

Sam

Friday Top 5 Archive

Revelatory: A Poem

Dreams turning on like overhead lights

Flickering off, then on, then off again

An endless cycle of love, loss, and pain

Eyelids fluttering full-speed

Like a transatlantic train in the night

Twisting and turning in caverns bright

Yet lost to uninitiated eyes

No alibis for the wandering mind

The passing of the misty hours

Drowning in a sea of creation

Then emptying into open space

While the only good thing is time

Time to awaken from the nightmare

Time to readjust to the mundane world

That time when dreaming is done

That time when the only one you’re seeing

is yourself

Like a film of dust on a priceless artwork

Blown by the hand of fate

Revealed by the morning sun

Until the fog lifts, the air clears

Eyes snap open

Letting the new day in.

Sam

The Dreams We Had as Children

Why do so many of us abandon those childhood dreams as we get older, as if they are indeed childish instead of constructively creative? I remember when I was a wee lad, and I would think about sailing away on a hot air balloon to lands far away, not realizing that hot air balloons have the highest death rate of any vehicle specifically built for transportation. And I also wanted a rack for cheese that would sit on the kitchen counter and hold all manner of cheeses, for the convenience factor it would offer. Little did I consider how quickly that same cheese would go bad without proper refrigeration. These and more dreams were perfectly good for me as a child, but as I grew up they were exposed for the inadequacies inherent in them. But was the problem in the dreams, or was it in what I thought had to be the concrete nature of them?https://i2.wp.com/www.netjunkz.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/In-Dreams.jpg

Now that I’m an adult (the term is debatable, but bear with me), I realize that each one of our dreams is representative of so much more, both when we were young and now that we’re older. I didn’t really want to sail off in a hot air balloon, but I did want to get away from all the issues I had at that age. Being a geeky child who had exactly one friend, and preferred to read rather than converse at parties, I don’t think I ever really felt like I fit in with my surroundings or my peers. And while I still don’t feel that way, I feel more like I have taken that metaphorical hot air balloon ride too many times to count, and the trip was in my imagination. That’s what reading has given me, the ability to take a trip far away any time I want, but occasionally I want to set down the balloon in a cornfield and speak with the natives.

So the dreams we have as children shouldn’t quite fade away, but they should be analyzed for their true meaning, or at least for something we can pretend they meant. I mean, one thing we seem to forget about children is that they tell it like it is, and they do the things we wish we could do but we don’t. As we get older, we tend to forget these things, or that we felt them and did them at one point in time. The dreams we have as adults are bridges that can span the gap between our two selves, if we just pay as close attention to them as we did when we were kids, and we try to make them happen. Or something.

Sam

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