2019 Dream Board
And thus it was known that Christy Aldridge watched a lot of Youtube.
If I’m not writing, or if I’m procrastinating from writing, one of my favorite hobbies is to curl up beneath a mountain of blankets and watch Youtube. Because of this, I end up subscribing to quite a few channels, and one of those channels is of a girl named Amber Scholl.
Amber does a lot of DIY videos, some helpful, some silly, and her bubbling personality always makes me smile. Being an eternal optimist, I always gravitate strongly toward other people that are the same way. We tend to be a rare breed, though everyone has a little bit of an optimist deep inside. Amber is a bright spirit and her energy is one I crave from other people and hope to emanate from myself into the world.
But, let’s get back to the dream board.
A couple of years ago, Amber put together a thing she called a dream board. She simply took poster board and added a bunch of different pictures and goals that represented what she wanted to do that year with a quote in the middle that said what she wanted from the year. She then hung it up in a place where she would see it often and proceeded to do each thing on her list. She did this because of an idea called ‘The Law of Attraction’.
The Law of Attraction states that if you put it out into the world, it will come back to you. So by putting her dreams out into the world by making the board, that was a step in having those dreams come to you. Of course, you have to do the work as well, but I think the idea lies more in the fact that you make yourself accountable by seeing these things you wish to do. They’re not just dreams anymore, stuck in your head, once you put them on the dream board. You can see them, physically see them, and sometimes, having that imagery can help you make it a reality.
So that was what I did this year. I made a dream board.
2018 will go down as one of the hardest years of my life, not only career wise but in my personal life as well. This job that I love so much, I lost passion for it. The harder I tried, it seemed like the further I was pushed back. I wasn’t where I wanted to be in my career. I wasn’t where others are in their career. People I knew were getting engaged or working their dream jobs. They were doing things with meaning in their lives, and though these things weren’t events I wanted in my life, or don’t want yet, their successes only reminded me of what I perceived as failures. My struggle became a worry of how to be happy for them while I felt so miserable about me. The last thing I wanted to be was jealous.
Comparison is the thief of happiness.
In my personal life, I lost someone who was very important to me. For over 24 years, I had spent every day of my life with my nana, and in May, she passed away after over a year of being bed bound. For almost a year and a half, I struggled both to take care of a stubborn woman( a trait she passed along to me), while also trying to work. My days and nights were a constant struggle of trying to write and be there for her every need. She couldn’t feed herself, was stuck in a bed, had to be washed and catered to nearly 24/7 because she also struggled to sleep. After a certain point, I simply stopped writing. I would tell people I was writing, but it was lies. I heard I was lucky because I was able to be there for her and pursue my writing career without the struggles of a traditional job, but lucky or blessed was the last thing I felt. I was extremely blessed, and now, I don’t regret the decision at all, to be there for her as she left this world, but it wasn’t easy. When you choose to become a caretaker for someone you love, although the opportunity to be there is a blessing, the reality is that you give up your life to ensure they make it to the next one as easy and as painless as possible. You give up sleep. You give up time. You give up experiences. The reward doesn’t always seem to fit the sacrifice, but to anyone who is in the same position I was in, hold on. Talk to people. It’s okay to feel empty and drained, but not okay to stay that way. Take people’s offers when they want to give you a reprieve. Talk to friends. Reach out. Don’t drown yourself. All of us who have been through it know the struggle of feeling selfish. We know you’re exhausted. We’ll help.
It took me until after she passed to realize this. Her passing wasn’t sudden, but it happened in a way that will stay with me forever. She will stay with me forever.
After she passed, I spent over a month doing absolutely nothing. I isolated myself from everyone nearly. I had maybe three friends that I talked to, but I still sugar-coated what I really felt. How depressed I was, how sad and angry, I didn’t want to bother them, and I should have. I should have bothered them more because their love and friendship means the world to me.
The issue I found after she passed was that I now felt guilty about writing. I would begin to write and stop. It felt wrong. I had desperately wanted to write when she was alive but couldn’t properly focus on it, and now that she was gone, I felt guilty. Instead of trying to figure out why I felt guilty, I stopped writing instead.
I needed a reality check. The reality was that I was afraid to write. I spent months, about a year in total, not writing a single thing. Going back into that was scary. What if I lost my ability to write? What if I wasn’t as good as I was before? I now had a tragedy under my belt, something most writers strive and pull inspiration from, but what if my tragedy had stolen my creativity? What if I couldn’t write?
The other demon I had to face was the thing I lost. Part of what drives my passion is the idea of making those I love proud. I’ve published six books on my own. Most I’ve done with little to no help from anyone as far as editing, formatting, and even cover design. I became an entire publishing company within myself in order to live out my dream, which included learning about how to format my own books, creating book covers, and struggling to be unbiased as I edited my own books. I am strong and independent, and all of the things I’ve always wanted to be, but I know I want to do more. I know I WILL do more, and the demon that plagued me was the fact that one of the people I loved the most will never see me fulfill every single one of my dreams. She’ll never be at my first book signing. She’ll never a book of mine turned into a movie or TV show. She’s never going to see my top the New York Times Bestseller list or meet Stephen King. That still hurts, and I let that hurt keep me from moving forward for months.
I realize that’s a lot of backstory, but all of it led to me finally making peace with the idea that she wouldn’t be there to see it, but I would carry a part of her with me in order to make it succeed. Each time I finish a book, her unwillingness to quit is what reminded me to keep going. When I push through each obstacle or wall in front of me, it’ll be her stubbornness inside me. Her strength keeps me going. Because these are things she gave me. These are the things she taught me. This is the part of her that she left in my hands.
And so, I put those things I wanted onto a page. I wrote them down. Then I found the pictures that symbolized those things and made my dream board. And I would like to share each of my dreams with you, so if you’re still with me, here are my dreams for the year.
My central quote for this year is: “Don’t call it a dream. Call it a plan.” I’ve always been a dreamer, but for the most part, my dreams remain dreams. This year, I plan to turn those into realities. They deserve it.
My other quotes for this year, the ones that I hope will keep me from growing discouraged or pessimistic are:
“What if it doesn’t come true? Ah, but what if it does?” (To keep me optimistic)
“Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (To remind me to keep the faith, but also, I took a silly Facebook quiz that told me this was my Bible verse for the year. Seems like a good omen to keep me from being too afraid to do anything.)
“Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.” (To remind me to stand by my beliefs and convictions. I’m an open-minded person, but over the last few years, I haven’t firmly stood behind anything, no matter how much I believe in it. Be it my dreams, my rights, my beliefs, I haven’t stood firm when I do believe in something. Someone says something negative and I sink back into my shell. I’m tired of not fighting for what I believe in.)
And finally, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” (Because shouldn’t we all?)
Another thing I want to do this year is travel. There are places I’ve wanted to go and this year, I plan to make a few of them a reality.
If there is one place in the entire world that I have ever wanted to go to, it’s NOLA. The city calls to me and always has. And it’s literally a five hour drive from me. It seems stupid not to go this year and finally see the place I’ve loved from afar.
Haunted Alabama Roadtrip
I saw a blog post not too long ago about a road trip through Alabama that takes you through my state’s haunted locations. I want to do this and it’s another silly trip that is always within my means, so why not?
This is more about the idea pushing it than the destination. My family has never been on vacation. I want to change that. My brothers have always wanted to see Nashville, my Uncle wants to meet a certain singer that lives in Tennessee, and I’ve always wanted to stay in a cabin in the woods because that where the psycho killers come out and play. Duh!
There are many reasons behind this one, but one reason is the fact that since I was a little girl, London was another place that called to me. When I would see it in movies, I wanted to be there. I’d be jealous of the people there. This one is probably the one I fear won’t happen, but it’s also the one I won’t give up on.
I also want to buy the truck of my dreams and have a very creepy Christmas. 😊 I’d also like to start a Youtube channel of my own this year.
And then there are writing related plans. That includes three books to be finished completely. I plan to finish writing Mother and Happy, and I plan to publish Kill, My Darlings this year.
I also have more personal goals, which include publishing two books, being included in an anthology, finding an agent, writing 365k in 365 days, and receiving 100 rejections.
I also would like to read more. Another thing I want to do is reread and read all of Stephen King’s books in chronological order.
And then there are the growth plans, which sounds really strange when you write it like that. I want to laugh more and make people smile. I want to stop being so afraid and remember to count my blessings. I also want to spend more time with my family and be nicer to my mom (a plan she told me to write down). And I want to cry more, but from a happy place. I spent a lot of last year crying, but I was never so caught up in a moment that made me genuinely happy that I cried. I miss that feeling of seeing something that moves you to tears rather than feeling so broken that you cry. I want to learn how to cry happily again.
And then this. I apologize for everything. Too many people have pointed this out for me not to recognize it. Before last year, I didn’t even realize how often I say I’m sorry, even when it’s not my fault or I don’t need to say it. This is something simple for me to start with in order to combat whatever it is that causes me to be so sorry and feel the need to constantly apologize.
And that’s it. That’s my plan. I hope this inspires you to make a plan of your dreams because they deserve it. You deserve it.
XO My Darlings,