• Maggie Wheeler

The Dreamer

Photo: “The Dream” by Henri Rousseau, 1910

Still thinking about dreams. But now focusing more on the dreamer. That is where it really begins.

We’ve all heard the axiom that if there is no gardener, there is no garden. The same is true for dreams. If there is no dreamer, there are no dreams.

Last post, I wondered about how I arrived facing 60 with no dreams. Not goals but dreams. Real dreams. The expected was looked at and accepted, but not as a final judgement. Agatha Christie felt that dreams got richer in midlife as opposed to fading away. But that comes around to the dreamer, doesn’t it?

What has come clear to me at this time is that in order to be a Dreamer (with a capital D), we have to muster up the courage to crack the windows of our lives open and look out at the Big Question all dreams require:

What do I really want in life?

This isn’t about surface wanting. This is about heart and soul wanting. Things we routinely ignore because they scare the hell out of us.

Last night around 10:00, I woke up from my first hour of sleep wide awake. My head was empty but busy at the same time. I couldn’t understand it for a bit, chalking it up to midlife sleep challenges. But gradually I became aware that something was trying to surface. Something important. So I stayed awake and in the moment. Finally, it did.

I realized that for the first time in my life, I was ready to really ask that question.

Now, I understand that I have the luxury of sitting at the apex of six decades of life. The different seasons of our lives do not encourage or support the honest exploration of that question. No, they don’t. Even if we are surrounded by parents and people who cheer us on.

As children, the answer is really, “What do I think I can convince Mom and Dad to get me?” As youths, the answer morphs into, “What will make me fit in?” Young adulthood brings, “What will bring me work and income?” Older adulthood is, “What will enhance my family life?”

Yes, I’m past that. I do not have those demands on me. I do, however, have a cluster of very real challenges on my dashboard at this time of life. No one escapes that. But the flip side of that freedom is the reality of having nowhere to hide.

I have a chipmunk in my backyard we call Curtis. He’s so cute and so busy. He’s also the only one because he’s chased all others away (had a girlfriend for a bit but haven’t seen her recently…). Curtis has several holes in strategic locations in my lawn. He pops in and back out, runs around at full speed, and gathers everything. He’s a busy guy. What made him a member of the family is that he also likes to sit on the corner of my back deck and just be still, surveying his kingdom.

I’m a lot like Curtis. Busy, busy, with holes to pop into and disappear. And I gather, too. Seems to be a midlife thing: Inventory of current acquisition.

I survey my kingdom and see so much to be grateful for. So why is the question there at all?

Because…it’s never been fully answered.

Some people never do. I won’t be one of them.

Last night at 10:00, the question came from my deeps. Why?

1. Because I finally see that I have never honestly and completely asked myself that question.

2. Because I’ve reached the threshold and know deep down I’m ready to find the answer.

Here’s the big ticket—the scary, breath-robbing, no-I-was-only-kidding truth that came up right behind and showed me why I was ready to ask the question:

I know that I am now ready to go after my dreams, whatever they materialize to be.

This is what being the new 60 is all about.

Being a Dreamer.

Talk next week,


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