Friday, September 05, 2003

I awoke this morning with thoughts of cheerleading, specifically the thought, "I'm a good cheerleader." It hadn't occurred to me recently but, yes, I guess I am. When I was young I was quite literally a cheerleader, beginning at age 3 when my pal Leslie and I were mascots for the high school cheerleaders. If you opened the high school's yearbook for that year, you'd see we were pretty adorable in our miniature cheerleading sweaters and skirts.

In adulthood I became a good emotional cheerleader--always encouraging and supporting my friends in any way that I thought would be helpful to them. There've been countless times when a friend has expressed a desire for change or support for long unfulfilled dreams or confusion over how to begin a life-changing venture and I've done whatever I could to help. I suppose this came to mind because yesterday a coworker returned to her job after a nice, long vacation and announced her intent to make some major life changes. And I'm thrilled for her. In the 2-1/2 years I've known her, she's seemed miserable. So I've been 100% supportive whenever she has confided her desire to make some major changes. I've listened and tried to be a good confidante, I've passed along inspirational magazine articles or names of websites or books that she might find helpful, I've brainstormed creative and business ideas that might help her make her dreams fly. But I always come back to the same place: Why am I so good at doing all of that for other people and not so good at doing it for myself?

And it's not that I haven't been blessed with fabulous friendships over the years. It's not that I've never had people in my life do nice, generous things for me. I have. And it's not that I'm a girl who's afraid of taking a risk or having an adventure. If anything, my life has been mostly about that. If it's scary and transient vs. stable and predictable, I'll almost always choose the scary way. But when it comes down to really going after something I WANT...really exposing myself to tackle something I've secretly dreamed of or desired...those are the moments when I find myself instead focusing that energy on helping someone else make their dreams come true. I do it on a daily basis with my mate. It's not that he doesn't encourage me to pursue my dreams--he would support any venture that I wanted to tackle--it's that his dreams are more TANGIBLE. It's easier to focus on something that's already been defined. That's been the bane of my existence: my inability to define my dreams so that I can focus on acting on them. There are SO MANY things I want to do that much of the time I feel paralyzed by indecision and by the fear of exclusion, i.e., if I choose THIS does it mean I can't also do THAT? I'm fabulous at multi-tasking in a professional setting; I just need to start doing it on a going-after-my-dreams level.

So I woke this morning thinking that once again I've put my energy into encouraging someone else to spread her wings. Meanwhile, I'm still sitting in my cage of indecision. I have no problem changing my geographic location or my living situation--that's easy. I just need to apply the same fearlessness that has resulted in dozens of moves--between cities and living situations--to tackling my dream "to do" list. And I must remember and remind myself that choosing to pursue one dream or passion will not limit me from choosing others. If anything, dreams are inherently about casting off one's limits, whether real or imagined.


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