Jump In With Both Feet


Image by Owen Buggy

Richard Branson, CEO AND FOUNDER of Virgin Group recently posted in a blog: 
“Dreaming is one of humanity’s greatest gifts. It champions aspiration, spurs innovation, leads to change and propels us forward. In a world without dreams, there would be no adventure, no moon landing, no female CEOs, no civil rights. What a half-lived and tragic existence we would have. We should all dream big, and encourage others to do so, too.”

This perspective has been my mantra since I was a teen creating a ‘dream-memory’ board in my bedroom tacking up pictures of things I wanted to happen in my life. Even then I realized that these life events would not just appear like magic. I knew I would have to work hard toward my goals, but those pictures gave me a structure to my dreams and gave me focus. 

My life has had some valleys that I didn’t ask for, side roads that were big detours and extra high mountains I was forced to climb, but those major dreams I had as a teen in her bedroom, mostly came true in varying degrees.   

I have always encouraged my children to follow their dreams, think out of the box and when everyone tells you it can’t be done – prove them wrong by swimming against the tide and DO IT! 

Those are the dreams that come true! When no one believes in your ideas, you believe in yourself and have the last laugh through your success. Nothing stops one’s dreams in their tracks like the power of fear and needing outside approval. If you don’t really believe in your dreams, they will evaporate in all the hot air around you.

 My having lived almost eight decades, I can assure you that if you still have unrequited dreams, it is never too late to make them come true. Jump in will both feet and make them happen. The last laugh will be yours and the naysayers will be left with, “Gee, I should have done that!” Too bad. Their loss. You beat them to it!

Copyright©Sandra Hart 2017

All Rights Reserved.

Take A Bite Of The Golden Apple

Who knew when I was raising my kids in a little one square mile town on the Jersey Shore that my family was destined to be a migratory one. My children eventually flew away one by one to find their dreams and new opportunities. I slowly closed the New Jersey chapter in my life and winged it snowbird style to Florida to experience my freedom years.  

This time of year, though, I always try to think of the upside of being a mother whose children have left me with an empty nest – it gives me lots of places to visit when I find myself in the unbearable summer heat of my tropical paradise and longing to see young faces again.

For a few days now I’ve been in Chicago visiting my daughter and enjoying as much as I can in this beautiful city of wind and water. Before attending a play at the Athenaeum last night we crossed the street to the Golden Apple restaurant for a little pre-theater dinner that gave me a déjà vu culinary journey.

The Golden Apple is the closest food experience in Chicago that reminded me of a New Jersey diner. Unforgettable. (One known fact about New Jersey, other than it being the birthplace of Frank Sinatra, it’s the New Jersey diner experience.)  

If any of my readers are fans of PBS’s program ‘This American Life’ you should be familiar with the Golden Apple. Moderator Ira Glass encompassed an entire show interviewing patrons at the Golden Apple. 

The restaurant in itself is a tiny community within a community. Local patrons go there and mix with unnoticed celebrities on a regular basis. You might say it’s a comfort zone with comfort food at comfortable prices. Something that is harder and harder to find these days. 

I guess I could share with you that I had a nice talk with the owner, we exchanged selfie’s and promised to ‘like’ each other’s Facebook pages. And I could also share that as we were about to walk into the theater a man came running across the street, a handsome old silver fox, to tell me how beautiful my dress was and that he loved the color of my hair and maybe he could take me out to dinner sometime, but those are separate stories themselves. 

I’m not quite too sure how to explain my meanderings today, but I guess it’s just that life is always an adventure and living each day to the fullest is the best reason to stay around a little longer. The unexpected moment just around the corner makes it all worth while.

If you do not allow yourself to open up, no one will ever see the beautiful flower inside of you. 

Copyright 2016 Sandra Hart. All Rights Reserved

Be Careful What you Wish

ArchieArchie

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Be Careful What You Wish

Harvey Weinstein, Oscar producer/distributor and the longtime defender of human rights and political freedoms, in reference to the murders in Paris of the cartoonists at France’s satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo by terrorists wrote yesterday, “This preamble hopefully illustrates the humanity and the affection that I think people have for cartoons. From the Sunday funnies like Harold Gray’s Little Orphan Annie that helped us through the Depression, to Peanuts and Doonesbury, they sometimes provide better wisdom than known philosophers. I’ll take Charlie Brown over Rene Descartes, and put Linus in Socrates’ class, any day of the week. Although it’s Lucy who has the voice of a cartoonist — ironic, funny and eye-opening.”

How very much I relate to his thoughts. When I was a little girl in the late 1940’s living on a farm in Ohio, one of the popular radio shows was called “Archie Andrews” from a comic strip of the day, “Archie”.

Growing up in a farmhouse surrounded by cornfields and livestock, far away from the nearest neighbors down the dusty road, the concept of living in a place like Riverdale with best friends in the same building or next door fascinated me. When my brother clicked on the radio on Saturday mornings so we could eavesdrop on what adventure Archie and his friends were having that week, for that small moment in time, my brother and I lost our isolation and became part of Archie’s family.

Archie’s parents, Mary and Fred Andrews became our parents. His high school, Riverdale High, not the one-room schoolhouse that my brother attended, became ours. Everything about this teenager and his friends Veronica and best buddy, Jughead, were interesting to two kids living a less-than-exciting life on their grandpa’s farm. We longed to live in Riverdale and go to a school just like Archie’s.

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Well, as my story unfolds, a few years later, it would be that life threw us a piece of that emancipation pie. We were headed toward Archie’s teenage dream life. I clearly remember looking back, the dust beneath the tires of Daddy’s shiny new Ford slowly obliterating the view of the house as it got smaller and smaller going away from Grandpa’s farm. We were traveling eighteen miles east to live in a real house and in a real town close to Daddy’s work.

My brother and I soon found out that life on Archie’s radio show was much more exciting than it was in our smog filled industrial town. It wasn’t the Riverdale my brother and I had dreamed about. We got our wish alright and we couldn’t wait to graduate from our high school so that we could leave. We would be free to follow our Archie dream once again.

From the time we eagerly drove away from life on Grandpa’s farm those many years ago, I have lived in exactly six places. Several were big city apartments, several suburban houses near big cities and the one that means the most to me is the house on an ocean cliff with the view that fills my heart every day I look out it’s windows. I can stretch my arms wide without touching anything, see and hear no neighbors and have the silence of only what nature brings to me. This house gifts, yes, gifts me peace from all the static in the world around me. Freedom to live where and how I want.

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Now in every writer’s toolbox is a thread that ties everything together. It contains the embryo, or idea of the story you want to tell and how it sews neatly together the message you want share with your reader. A quilt of words.

This particular quilt I’m sewing today is, ‘be careful what you wish for in this life’ and be sure to be ready to protect it.

I have been able to live in what I believe to be the greatest country in the world with the best choices in life available. For me, FREEDOM is one of the most important words in the English language. Freedom of Religion. Freedom of Speech. Freedom to be me.

So little Archie girl beware of what you wish. Your dream life in your imagination from the radio or Archie comics may never come true if you and humanity are not careful to honor, appreciate and protect the right to dream.

I don’t ever want to feel stifled. I don’t ever want to feel, as a writer, that I am in a box knocking on the lid crying, “get me out of here!”

Copyright Sandra Hart 2015. All rights reserved.

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