What New Dreams Will Come
As a teenager I remember having some very specific dreams, like most teens, which involved where I saw my life heading. I dreamed of becoming a teacher, getting married and having children. I also dreamed about traveling and seeing places I had, at that point, only read about in books. I loved learning, reading, and history, and travel and being a teacher seemed like a natural extension of those interests. After all, teachers had to keep learning to impart information to their students, and had two months off every summer to visit places around the world. My parents and grandparents were supportive and I witnessed great relationships among them so having a husband and my own children also fit with who I saw myself to be. Part of who I am now, over forty years later, has been influenced by those early dreams and what I enjoyed then and now.
I did become a teacher, but found that what I really enjoyed was working one-on-one, or in small groups with those that needed some extra help. While in university I met the man who became my husband and rather than go to Europe, as I had dreamed, we got married, planning to go when we retired. Life has a way of changing when we least expect it. I have learned, through some tough experiences, the need to be willing to re-adjust my plans, my dreams, and possibly even adopt some new ones so I can enjoy where I am at the moment.
What are my current dreams? What is on my bucket list now? Those are not always the easiest questions for me to answer, maybe because too often my thoughts about who I am are tied into the roles which I fulfill. I am a wife, married to the same wonderful man for almost forty-four years. I am a mother of four adult children, the youngest of whom has some special needs and an amazing story of medical impossibilities. I am a grandmother of a dozen, ranging in age from one to 22. Obviously these are all important parts of my life and do help define, to an extent, who I am, but they are not all of me.
My thoughts shift to what I like to do, my interests, my hobbies and various activities for these are all part of who I am as well. I love stories. I have always loved stories, whether to read them, hear them, or tell them. All the activities I enjoy can fit under the umbrella of storyteller. Reading has always been, and continues to be, an enjoyable hobby. There is nothing better on a cold, prairie winter day than to snuggle in a big chair with a great book. Preserving family stories is high on my list of things I enjoy doing and feel a need to do. I write some of them. I use them as illustrations when I speak, and some I put together with old family photos, along with a journal entry in the scrapbook to keep visual and written word history together. I also teach communication workshops, write stories and articles, and speak when I have the opportunity.
I am living a dream I never dreamed about years ago. I am a storyteller, both orally and in written form. I am energized when I speak to a group of people, which is a far cry from the shy young girl I used to be. Where this will lead? What new dreams will come from it? I have no idea, but I think of it as an adventure. The thrill of seeing a new article or story in print never fades. The excitement, and some nerves, of speaking still captures my heart and attention. The joy of mentoring someone else to step out of their comfort zone grows each time I have the opportunity to help another person.
I continue to love to learn, to share that opportunity with others, and in that way am still a teacher, just without a classroom of children. I still dream of travelling even though a trip to Europe now seems more like a pipe dream, but there are many places to explore close to home. Stories abound all around me, whether old family ones, new adventures, or the antics of my family. I will embrace who I am – a storyteller.
Written by: Carol Harrison