marigold, transplanted and still blooming, cinthia milner

How to Make Your Dreams Come True

I have a dream. And for 45 years, I’ve been waiting on that dream to show up in my life.

Yesterday, I walked to my little town’s movie theater to watch The 2nd Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I’ll admit it wasn’t as good as the first, even with Richard Gere in it, but the wedding scene made it worth the cash. The wedding scene is exuberant, joyful, full of dancing, and so much dang fun. It puts a smile on your face. It was the best part of the movie because the main character, Sonny, does it again. He figures out his dilemma, gets out of his own way, and makes a pretty great comeback.

If you’ve done that in your life, please raise your hand (or comment below).

If you’re still waiting to do that, please raise your hand (or comment below).

The movie works because each character has a dream, a yearning, but while they stall, ponder, wait, agonize, and worry (you’re thinking, you’re not getting any younger here), Sonny’s passion, youth and desire is juxtaposed against these characters who have lived long enough to lose a few dreams. They know, not all dreams come true. It’s easy to understand their hesitancy to dive back in.

Where do you go when your dreams don’t come true? What’s next?

The movie ends happily, of course, with everyone getting some traction beneath them, and moving toward their new dream. Relationships, jobs, marriage, not-marriage. Death is certain, they learn, but so is life. There is no time like the Present Time.

Of course, that’s all movie-talk, and we all can’t look like Judi Dench with her super-cute haircut, silver-grey hair and blue eyes.

But, we can all dream.

I know this guy who lives with his girlfriend. They’ve lived together 20+ years. She’s always wanted to get married. He never has. When I asked him why (because truly no two people were ever more compatible), he said he was waiting on the girl of his dreams. Oh, don’t get him wrong, he likes his live-in girlfriend, she is loads of fun, and a real nice girl, but she isn’t the one. He went on to describe the one, every man’s dream–tall, blonde, buxom, and gorgeous–and said when he found her, he’d marry her. (Okay, a little silly on his part, the eye-candy-wife, and we could easily argue that he’d already found the one in his brunette, non-buxom, short girlfriend, but that’s not the point.) My conversation with him was 20+ years ago, and I asked him, “Do you think that blonde, buxom and gorgeous girl is going to come knocking on your door while you’re living with another woman?”

I can be blunt and a bit tactless.

Listen, if we skip all the he was using the girlfriend until he found the wife conversation/judgment, and just let him talk, here’s what we might hear: Maybe, he is afraid of finding the woman of his dreams. So instead, he settles for what he doesn’t care if he loses, and hides behind their apartment door. If he was more like Sonny, he’d be the one knocking on doors until he found the one. May we all be more like Sonny.

My take-away from The 2nd Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: The dream may never present itself. You may need to go looking for it.




What I Learned from the Lie I Told Today

Today, I told a lie.

I didn’t start my day intending to tell a lie. It happened the way lies often do. I had a doctor’s appointment (I have like ten this week), and the attending doctor made an assumption about me. It was a very nice assumption. I have no idea why he made it, but here’s where the lie came in. I let him assume it. At first, I was going to correct him, but he walks really fast. And, before I realized what he had wrongly concluded about me, he was miles ahead of me down his doctor’s hallway. Time is money, I suppose.

I would have had to holler the truth to his back. In the hallway. With a billion other patients/nurses/etc. around. So, I determined to wait until we got into the examining room. But, turns out he’s a chatty thing, so he was off to other things. I would’ve had to interrupt him. (So, really the lie was all his fault. I mean, he walks fast, he talks fast. I can’t be blamed for that, right?)

Still, I had countless opportunities to correct his assumption, because HE KEPT BRINGING IT UP. But, I did not.

I felt horrible, and made plans to switch doctors immediately after the exam. Maybe in Greenville, the next town over, about an hour away. Or perhaps, somewhere in Idaho. We’ll see.

But, as I was waiting to pay my bill, I wondered about my lie. What was it about that lie that made me want to hold onto it? What does that say about me? (And, no, while I confess to lying, I don’t plan on telling you what the lie was. So don’t ask.)

Here’s what I unearthed about myself as I reflected on my lie:

1. It made me feel special. Important. Not just some girl who works at a local garden center, and wonders how to pay her bills every month, while spending almost all of her time alone. For the 48 minutes I was in that visit, I felt like I mattered.

2. This particular lie brings up an old dream. I don’t mean a recurring nighttime dream, but a life-long dream that began as a teenager. I didn’t want to let it go, and for a minute (not all 48 I will say, I’m not that crazy) I believed it myself. It became real to my heart, again.

3. I don’t have a long list of accomplishments. Doing my resume requires some very creative writing skills (which thankfully, I possess) because I spent most of my “productive years” raising my boys. That lie would look really good on a resume. It would be one of those things they’d list in your obituary. Everyone at my funeral would say, “She was so smart, and she did so much with her life. What a shame she died so young (99), just think what contributions she still had to make.” The doctor believed I was an accomplished person. That was nice.

4. I was embarrassed to straighten him out. What would he think of me, then? Would I go from some one he was slightly impressed with to just any old body? And, why did I wait until so long to correct him? It’s called pride if you’re looking for a word.

I know, you’re thinking, you came up with all that while waiting to pay? Yep. The folks in front of me had Medicaid, if that answers that question. I don’t have Medicaid, and I paid in cash. (I don’t even want them to find me with a check, or debit card.) But, I  got a 20% discount.

Driving away from my appointment (much faster than the speed bumps allowed), I concluded that if it was so important to me to feel accomplished, why not accomplish something? Or if it was a dream of mine at age 15 (and evidently, even now), why not achieve it now? Or is there another dream that could take its place? At 55, I often feel like that the “hay is in the barn.” But, is it?

Would I rather pretend that I’m ALL THAT, or be ALL THAT?

But the biggest thing my lie taught me is this: That I’ve been believing a lie, myself. Like the doctor, I have made my own assumption. I’ve assumed that a mundane life stretches out before me. That the next 30+ years is just more of the same; more work than I can physically do, more bills than I have money to pay, and more time alone. My fear is that there is no end to the monotony of life, That there is nothing to look forward too. For a girl who dreamed big, and has an adventuresome spirit, that is one big lie to buy into.

If I could say anything to the fast-walking, fast-talking doctor it would be thank you. Thank you for helping me uncover some pretty, big lies today. Oh, and by the way, I’m not who you think I am.