During a conversation at a work function a group of us were pondering what we would do if we could really "do anything". It got me thinking that if we lived our lives more like cats, and took more risks knowing we'd land on our own two feet even if we failed, perhaps more of us would become the dream achievers we saw of ourselves.
The old proverb goes something like this: Cats have nine lives. For three they play, for three they stray, for three they stay.
Here are some of my cat-like phases:
As a young girl I dreamed of becoming a published author. I had no idea how this could happen at the time, but I wrote poetry, shelved it, and edited it over the years. In 2010, as an effort to help our dad get published again–this time, for his long-awaited novel, Devil's Eye–my family and I learned how to publish books. First we published his book, then we published other people's books, and other publishers even translated some of our books into other languages. In 2015 we worked on my book. Soon after publication, I started to work on a second book of poetry. Exactly one year ago, I created this very blog in an effort to reach a growing audience of poetry lovers, bloggers, artists, and anyone interested in positive and delightful 21st century reads. I do everything I can to continue my life as a writer. While I work on establishing myself as a professional creative, I enjoy sharing my words in a less formal setting in the meantime.
For a while in high school I thought I wanted to be a chef. I pre-enrolled in culinary school, but upon taking a few courses and traveling to several cooking schools to meet foodies and test my skills, I realized that my love for culinary arts was a simpler joy. I didn't want to squash what I loved most about cooking–the ability to create and consume edible creativity–but I did want to learn more about the art of cooking. So, instead, I graduated college as an educational professional, obtained a full-time job as a teacher, then enrolled in culinary classes in the evening. Now I am a proud owner of a basic culinary skills certificate. Should I stray again later in life, I will definitely have a delicious starting point.
Stay: Educator / Program administrator
When applying for a Master's program, I had several choices in the education sector: Educational Leadership, Early Childhood Education, Educational Media and Technology, or Curriculum and Instruction. Since I already obtained a bachelor's degree in early childhood studies, I ruled out wanting to pursue the same thing. Having had experience as a program director, I decided I would rather not become a school principal. And, as much as curriculum was of interest to me, it also wasn't, so I decided against that one, too. I went with technology education, knowing of its great potential for advancement, both as a resource in and of itself, and also in my own career. It scared me a little–entering something more novel than I was used to–but if my culinary certificate taught me anything, it was that anything new can be learned, and anything learned can be mastered. Having recently graduated with an M.A., I continue work that helps children succeed in the classroom by means of programs and services provided to them.
Like you, I'm on my last life, but I don't see any harm in trying to make up for the eight I've missed.
Dreaming With Eyes Open
Easier said than done,
slowing down doesn’t always
imagination still arrives
with the rest of your mail.
Though attractive and great,
ends up on the same, dry plate.
and an empty cup.
Back to closed eyes tomorrow
since forced dreams are no better
than nightly ones you merely borrow.
Perhaps our feet are not as agile as those of cats. (But imagine if they were!)
In an effort to stir up a proactive response to living the life of your dreams, here are nine helpful questions:
1. What do I genuinely like to do? (Something that brings me great pleasure. A task I can "get lost in".)
2. What are my strengths in completing this task?
3. What are my weaknesses related to this task and how can I work to turn these into strengths?
4. How can I get one step closer to doing this very thing [more often, as a hobby, professionally, etc.]?
5. What would I have to do (or change) to accomplish the next step?
6. What risks are associated with pursuing the thing I love to do?
7. What fears are associated with the risk and how can I try to overcome those fears?
8. Who are my supporters in this endeavor?
9. Am I ready?
Decide for yourself if you're in it to play, stray or stay. (It helps justify the naps, of course.)
Piers Tilbury is a designer of book covers in the London area. Shown is one book cover for a cat mystery series, The Ninth Life, by Clea Simon.
Check out Tilbury's website: http://www.pierstilbury.com or follow him on Twitter to view more of his designs.