Dream Deferred, Again and Again

I have always lived in a very all or nothing world. If I can’t do something exactly the way I want, when I want, I freeze and do nothing. Yes, it’s perfectionism, but it’s also fear. (Maybe perfectionism is just a fancy word for fear anyway.) Fear that I will give my very best and still fail. Fear that it won’t look the way I’ve always imagined. Fear that whatever I give still won’t be good enough.

I’ve had this one particular dream since I was a young girl—I want to go to France. I know, this is hardly unique. There are millions of people who have fallen in love with this country. I’m bordering on cliche here, but it is what it is. All things Francophone captured my heart when I was young, and have held on for all these years.

My husband and I have this dream of staying in Europe for two months or so one year, taking our kids and immersing ourselves in European culture. I mean, honestly, if we’re dreaming big dreams, I want to live there. But I would settle for a months-long stay.

We’re not there yet. His job still keeps him tied here, with only a couple weeks for vacations. Financially we can’t afford it yet, on a few different levels. And it just doesn’t feel like the time in our lives to be up and practically moving someplace else for a few months.

So I tucked it away as one of our “someday” things. And expected that would be the only way I would see France. In a big, grand travel moment.

And then I was reading this book last night, set partially in Paris, and I got that familiar ache, that pang. I want to go. I mean, what if the stars never align for us to take that trip? Am I willing to keep putting off this dream trip simply because I feel like the only way to do it is in this HUGE WAY, or no way at all?

I made a line in my budget today. France. And I’m saving now, a little bit at a time, and I have a new goal: France next year. For a couple weeks. Is it perfect, the way I’ve always imagined it? No. It feels like not nearly enough time. But what’s better? A little bit of time in a country I’ve been dreaming of for most of life, or no time at all?

It’s not all or nothing. It so rarely is. It’s a lie we tell ourselves to put off big things, to hold us back from doing stuff, from shipping our work, from seeing dreams come true. All or nothing is just a way we let fear win, with some modicum of practically and logic. I’ll do it when the time is right. I’ll do it eventually. I have time.

Today is as good a time as any to start throwing a little bit of money toward a dream.

 

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