I’m a dream thief.
Be careful what you share with me, because I may steal your dreams. Six years ago, at the age of twenty three, my dreams were vastly different than the dreams I harbor today.
Back then, I dreamed of a big house with a nice car and a high-paying, high-powered, high-status job. I thought I wanted to be a litigator, or maybe a government consultant specializing in reading body language (like a human lie detector). Alternatively, I toyed with the idea of being a trophy wife – clad in bespoke couture and bedecked in all gold everything, as Jay-Z would say. I dreamed of seven figure bank accounts, six-star luxury resorts (because five stars is so last year), of being respected and a little bit feared. My dreams were a strange hybrid of “the real housewives” and “law & order,” colored by People magazine and detailed by Vogue.
The funny thing is, my dreams weren’t really mine.
They were dreams I had cobbled together based on what society told me to want, not what my heart was really called to. And they were constantly fluctuating, shifting and changing with the trends and the times.
At twenty four, I met the dream boat who would later become my husband. As we talked on our first date, I told him all my pre-packaged dreams. I also told him that I wanted to learn to surf, and focus more on my writing and painting and yoga – as hobbies, of course, when I had time in my busy schedule of pre-law education and becoming a human lie detector.
He never discouraged my dreams. In fact, he listened and nodded at the right times and asked probing questions, clarifying my vision and elucidating my master plan. When I quieted down some, he shared his dreams with me:
Land in Central America, close to surf but in the trees enough to hear the monkeys and have privacy and solitude. A stone outdoor shower, built by his own hands where one could be naked as a jay bird, surrounded by lush green jungle as fresh well water rained down upon them. Mango and avocado trees laden with fruit, and a few hens to lay fresh eggs each morning. A spacious but humble home, with a big outdoor kitchen and gathering space for people to connect and share laughter and conversation. A small boat, fast enough to zip out to the uncrowded reefs, where perfect waves rolled in minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day. Offshore winds in the afternoon, and hammocks strung between sun dappled trees. Spear fishing for dinner. Costa Rican coffee. Hand-hewn furniture. Ukulele melodies. Surf. Sand. Family. Friends. Music. A simple life, full of simple pleasures.
As he spoke, his dreams began to weave themselves into my consciousness, entering not from outside but rising from within like they had lain dormant there for years heretofore.
His dreams seduced me to steal them.
He dreamed of travel, of exploring distant landscapes with only a camera and a backpack, meeting strangers who would turn into friends, building a network of loved ones that would span the globe.
In my mind, I saw myself trekking across exotic beaches, majestic mountain vistas, and creating memories for which no scrapbook could do justice. Though I didn’t know it at the time, the dream thief in me had snatched his dreams up and scurried away with them, storing them safely in the recesses of my mind.
He dreamed of creating amazing and inspiring videos, sharing this epic lifestyle with like-minded enthusiasts via the magic of the Internet. My dream thief stole this one with the deftness of a gypsy child trained from birth to empty pockets in the blink of an eye.
At twenty five, I took a job managing an art gallery and began to explore the world of painting and creative expression. It was there that I stole the dreams of an artist – the dream to live a creative life, free from the fear of being wrong.
At twenty six, I went to an ashram to receive training to become a yoga teacher. On the first day, we watched a video about the dreams of the gurus who brought the lineage to the states. One guru had a vision of a massive disaster, caused by the violence and ignorance of man. His vision – his dream – was that yoga would be the saving grace to create peace in the world – a peace that would start within each of us. My dream thief leapt at the chance to burgle this hope, and it went into my dream bank, squirreled away where it would take root and eventually blossom.
At twenty seven, I took a job teaching paddle board yoga for another company. I listened and encouraged dreams of global entrepreneurship, a worldwide community of water loving yogis. For some time, I poured my heart and soul into building their dream for them… Until I realized that this dream, too, was mine for the taking – that my blood, sweat, and tears should be spent building the dream that was wholly mine. So I absconded with it, and away I went.
Dreams of designing clothing. Dreams of skydiving. Dreams of sailboats and sunsets. Dreams of magical mermaids, coconuts, and azure waters. Dreams of abundance and grace, of happiness and health. Each person I met, each encounter and experience added to my treasure trove of dreams.
One by one, I stole the dreams and made them mine.
Some might say it’s wrong to steal dreams… But I beg to differ. Dreams are free, you know. They cannot be bought or sold, bartered or brokered. We speak them and share them, and through the power of the word, they spring into existence. Floating through the ether, they waft, untethered, waiting to be planted in a heart where they can finally bloom.
Now you know my dreams. You can steal them, if you like. In fact, I urge you too. Take them from me and run like the wind towards a future so bright that it blinds you.