On Realizing a Dream

There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.

Douglas Everett

There’s a term we use at work— “eggs to basket ratio.” It nicely captures a philosophy we hold on the team: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. In terms of my job, this means careful definition and assessment of a technical project, identification of risks, risk reduction pathways, and contingency plans. Along the way we are flexible enough to reassess our status in reaching the finish line, and if needed, creatively pivot to an alternate path to meet the same goal.

In my life, EBR manifests itself in a number of ways. I usually keep active on multiple fronts, slowly pushing forward in areas that are important to me. These include my health, relationships with people I care about, continual learning, intellectual stimulation, self care, and activities that feed the soul. All the things that create value to myself and others. You may find me training for a 10k (or pretending to train during the holidays…), helping my children with homework, spending time with an old friend, visiting family in other parts of the country, watching sunset, reading a novel, or more recently: writing. Depending on my daily responsibilities, I try to balance as many of these efforts as I can. The way things happen, I’ve usually got one (or more) things up or down, and some just in a holding pattern. I figure, if one thing doesn’t pan out, another thing will, and while I’m working on the bad, the good helps to buffet me afloat and gives me a push to keep going in a forward motion. Because life is all about moving ahead: becoming better, learning from those in front of us, helping those around us, lifting those behind us who need a hand.

As the song lyric that describes much of my life says “If you try sometimes, well, you just might find you get what you need.” In that spirit, I’ve been working towards a childhood dream of mine of writing and publishing a book. My fingers itch when I see a blank page, a creative urge to translate worlds that exist in my mind to the physical, if only through the medium of ink. With my busy schedule and responsibilities, my decades long efforts to write a novel have been slowly inching along and not gaining much traction. Even a month long “competition” with myself to write 50,000 words in 30 days fell flat. Although I made substantial progress on the novel, the finish line, to publish, still has not been realized. I could be despondent, but I know I’ll keep moving it forward, to someday be a dream realized. And in the meantime, well…

A few months ago, I wrote a short story. It was born out of strong emotions I was feeling at the time and captured a life lesson I continue to struggle to learn. A conversation with a writer I know sparked the idea to turn it into a children’s book. While talking to a good friend about my idea, I found out she was a talented illustrator who had already worked on a project for another person in the past. We hatched the plan to publish a book together. Over the past few months we worked hard to turn our idea into reality. She took my story and brought it to life with incredibly emotive images. We found we mesh well together as a team, and we feel the final version is something we are proud to present. So before the calendar turns to a new year, we are self-published authors! We have a queue of ideas for future books, and as I love to dream big, we plan to create a platform to feature collaborations with other writers who may want to share their own stories with the world. For my illustrator and I share a desire to make a difference: both in the lives of artists seeking to manifest their creative talents to the person who picks up a work and it impacts their life for the better. All these things—so big, so large in scope—can seem overwhelming and too ambitious on the outside. But just like our children’s book, small steps, taken as tangible actions, continuing to move forward despite all else, make the possibility of a dream coming true realized. And to me, that’s what life is all about.

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