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February 4, 2023

Dreams Really Do Come True

Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.

Gloria Steinem

I had childhood dreams.

In no particular order they were to fall in love, to be an investigative reporter, and to write a novel from a balcony in Paris.

I am currently living what I like to call my last chapter – the retirement phase of my life. This new reality gives me lots of free time to reflect on what could have been and what can still be.

A few of my recent Netflix choices have made my reflections on the subject become more of an obsession than a reminiscing of my dreams.

One of my choices- Emily in Paris, (check out Yael’s recent article on the guilty pleasures of watching this series – ), made me take a look at 2 of my hoped for life events- falling in love and living in Paris.

I have fallen in love many times since I first dreamed the childhood Cinderella dream of magical everlasting romance.

Needless to say none of them turned out the way I imagined. My high school sweetheart cheated on me with one of my good friends.

The “love of my life” -a tall lanky record producer with a deep voice, and eyes that made “forever” promises turned out to be a snake oil charmer with a drinking problem.

And then there were my 2 marriages, each beginning with high hopes and ending in inevitable disappointment.

My experiences with romantic love made me retreat into protective mode and there I have stayed for over 20 years.

The love stories portrayed in Emily In Paris are full of the comedic mistakes and sexual tensions we have all come to expect in our rom-coms. For some reason I have yet to understand though, these youthful, playful, sometimes touching scenes, have opened up a longing in me I have not felt, or at least kept buried for all these years.

I am not sure if I am just missing my youthful expeditions into love or if I am opening up to the idea that a true heart connection is something I have always yearned for.

The second dream that has been rekindled is of course, living in Paris.

I have loved all things French since I was a very young girl. I have no idea why. Maybe it is connected to the legendary romance of the city itself or perhaps I was Marie Antoinette in a past life. Who knows!
But this calling had me studying the language, which no matter how hard I tried, never sounded quite right in my Texas girl accent.

I mastered a bit of the cuisine with the help of Julia Child’s The Joy Of Cooking. I listened to Edith Pilaf late at night and went through a period of drinking only French wines. I still am somewhat of a wine snob.

The closest I came to actually being there was sitting in the Charles De Gaulle airport for an hour during a lay over for a flight to Germany to visit one of my aforementioned husbands.

Moving on to my dream of being an investigative journalist.
In an effort to watch all of the Academy awards nominated films, She Said showed up on my list. It is the story of the New York Times journalists that broke the story on Harvey Weinstein and began the movement to end sexual workplace harassment. It is an intense, moving telling of the two women writers who struggled to get the truth out there.

I found myself crying and cheering with them on their rollercoaster ride to find the truth. And as the credits rolled  I also found myself facing feelings of the disappointment of a dream never realized.

I was inspired very early on by the careers of Barbara Walters, Gloria Steinem and Joan Didion. I majored in journalism in college where I once was given an F on a spoken presentation because I used the word “Fuck”, (pardon my French). My professor didn’t care that I used the word but criticized that I did not say it with the proper conviction.  That is possibly why that dream never materialized- I lacked conviction.

Now to the last dream on my list- writing the novel. I have started many and abandoned them. My perfectionism and my fear of being judged landed the pages in the trash before they ever had a chance of being born. There is the beginnings of one currently sitting on my lap top.  It is what I believe to be a potentially interesting subject on the life of a little known female artist that I would love the honor of exposing to the world. I have been working on it for a year. I have written the opening paragraph…..

There are many wise sayings out there about never giving up on your dreams, that one is never to old to fulfill a dream, and one of my favorites- “ dream as if you will live forever… live as if you’ll  die today”, ironically said by someone who was living his dream when he died, James Dean.

So what is a retired woman living her last great chapter supposed to do with her dreams?

I am planning a trip to Paris this year. Sadly not to live there for a year, but a few days of immersing myself in all things French is not a bad replacement. Maybe I will fall in love while I am there! One can never predict matters of the heart. I could start a social media blog about my travel experiences, inspiring others like me to never give up. And in the meantime, I will work on the next paragraph of my novel- including a little investigative work on my subject’s secret life.

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