When is a dream a dream, how many should one person have, should you even call them that maybe, and what’s with the mice?

Of Dreams and Mice - Midlife Sentence

You don’t have to tell me that’s too long for a title. My blog platform has this built-in tool that tells me that, and also whether any one piece I write has the appropriate number of subheads and the right sentence structure and whether it has active versus passive language and the appropriate key words. It looks the whole blog over and grades me with a red, yellow, or green light for readability. I’m thinking it also wishes it had another light for “what the hell even is this and how do I grade it?”

(Which is how I’ve come to realize that, if machines do ever take over, we’re going to need someone to be our designated free association speaker to be in charge of confounding the AI while we break in and take all the canned chili and Ho-Hos and other nonperishable foodstuffs and make our escape while the machines are trying to decipher whatever it is the free association person is saying because machines don’t have a “what the hell even is this you’re telling me” response).

Anyway, this post isn’t about throwing off machines by nonsense monologuing or whether I care about what grade some stupid algorithm decides to give any post of mine.

It’s about dreams.

Or more specifically, about goals and goal setting.

My friend Laurie created this cool planner tool that has a spot for entering “ten dreams I achieved” every day. It’s about manifesting what you want in your life. And I’m cool with manifesting. I love manifesting.

But also, I’m stymied by the required number of dreams.

I don’t have ten. I maybe have three. Do I need ten? If I work really hard and eke out another seven, and manifest those all together with the dreams I really want, will that take the focus from the original three? These things keep me up at night as much as the possibility of machines taking over.

Laurie says that a lot of women in my age group haven’t ever taken the time to sit down and think about their dreams because they’ve been too focused on everyone but themselves all their lives, and on just getting through the next quarter at work, or the holidays at home, or the never-ending question of what to fix for dinner and I totally get that.

Is that why my dream list is abbreviated?

I asked Mike about his dream list. He’s the supreme list maker. A goal setting champ. He’s kept notebooks since I’ve known him with long lists of things he’d like to accomplish by quarter, year, and decade. I don’t know what all his lists include and it’s not because he’s secretive. He’ll share them with me if I ask, and sometimes I do. But these conversations tend to go sidewise because I’m easily overwhelmed and distractable and also super self-absorbed. There have been times he’s tried to share one list or another with me, and he’ll start telling me something which will remind me of something I need to tell him, and what happens then is I forget I asked him to share his stuff with me in the first place and then I’m telling him some completely random story about a dog I saw hanging its head out of a car window or a funny video or something and that’s when I’ll notice he looks kind of cranky and he’ll stomp off when I suggest that maybe he’s hangry and did he not have lunch yet or what?

A couple days later I’ll remind him he never shared his list of super cool stuff he wants to accomplish, and I’ll be really confused by how crabby he gets when all I was doing was just asking a question. Sheesh.

And that’s why you should never ask your husband about his personal interests or hopes and dreams ever, kids. Take it from me.

At the same time, while I know it might start an argument that completely confuses me, I also know that Mike’s a super list maker and goal setter. Surely, if anyone has a list of top ten dreams it would be him. Maybe he could loan me some of his dreams and while I’m manifesting my top three, I could work on his, too?

See what a giver I am? He should never, ever be mad at me for suggesting he’s hangry. Right?

So, I ask. Turns out, Mike does not have ten dreams, but that leads to a whole discussion about the word “dream.” As in: is a dream something you manifest, or something you hope? Like a dream of winning the lottery? And what’s too big to be a dream? As Mike says, world peace is a dream of his, but can he manifest that?

If you know me, you probably know that this is the point in the conversation where I’m drifting off, maybe remembering a song from the first album I ever had, which was the Disney Cinderella soundtrack, and the song “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.” It’s when Cinderella’s mouse friends tell her to buck up and that they’ll help her with her ball gown and, long story short, everyone around here is mad at me now because I’ve been singing in a tiny mouse voice all day long.

Which is how this blog is now the story about how I don’t know what Mike has on his lists, or what to put on mine but how I’m kind of impressed I can remember the lyrics of a song I listened to over and over when I was about four years old.

And it’s the story of how I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter how many lines are in the planner, I have a top three dreams and I’m just going to stick with those, and maybe fill up the other lines in the dream list every day with little stick mice and think about how Cinderella probably never had to worry about how much attention she was paying to mouse dreams. Or goals or whatever mice want to call them.

Who knows, maybe those additional dreams will come to me as I go, as those little, stick mice encourage my heart to open up to dreaming more.

This all is to say you should totally order my friend Laurie’s fabulous planner, regardless of my inability to come up with ten dreams, and I hope she forgives me for poking fun at the dream thing. It’s just that my kids have grown up and I don’t have as much to write about these days except for talking mice and machines taking over the world.

It’s okay if Mike’s mad at me. He probably just forgot to eat lunch.

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