Zach and I were recently talking randomly about pipe dreams, how some people seem to dream up these wild schemes that never really pan out. Whether this is an inherently bad trait, I don't think I can pass judgement on, as I imagine most of us have wild dreams that we nurture that we may not even reveal to others, as in the very backs of our minds we may know we may never actually accomplish them.
However it got me thinking, and realizing for the first time, or perhaps just in a conscious way for the first time, that I have the opposite problem. I don't dream big. Sure, I've done some great and cool things, moving to Switzerland being one of them, but those came about because I happen to be married to a dreamer.
In college I entered the Honors program, which allowed me to take really interesting classes that were limited to about 20 people each. I found these classes fascinating most of the time. But I didn't graduate with the Honors credential, mainly because that would have required writing a thesis. And somehow I believed that was beyond my abilities. And this is where the big realization part comes in, as I've noticed before that I often shy away from demanding opportunities and assumed a lot of it was due to laziness on my part, not wanting to put forth the effort required. But I think it goes deeper than that, to not thinking I had it in me, that I wouldn't be good enough to complete the task in a satisfactory manner. It comes down to even silly, dumb things, like how I enjoy taking photographs and think I actually do a decent job yet feel too shy to add "photography" as a hobby or interest on myspace because I don't want to seem full of myself or like I think I'm that good (I mean, c'mon, doesn't everyone wanna be a photographer? What makes me think I'm special?).
Ever since going through the Montessori teacher training I've thought about how cool it would be to open up my own school one day. But I hesitate from making it an actual goal of mine, because of the magnitude of what that would entail-- getting credentials for being a director, building up enough cash to buy materials, finding a home for my school, teachers, students, etc. It all seems like too much. I'm still not quite prepared to make this a life goal, but it's certainly something to let simmer in the back of my mind for a while.
I remember a high school teacher telling me at the end of the semester that I needed to speak up more, as I often knew the right answers but felt too unsure of myself and thus assumed I was wrong. I think I've come a long way from back then, but clearly I do still have some work to do. Realizing that I often sell myself short is a big step. Acknowledging the challenges that I have faced and succeeded at, such as my education, the Avon Walk a few years ago (both the physical aspect of training and walking, and raising over $3,000), and, hell, motherhood, is another. Now I need to keep these pieces of information with me always, as a reminder to go for it when I find myself thinking, "No, I couldn't possibly do that."