Dreams for the new year

Some friends of mine have a Dream Collage party at the beginning of every January. They gather a bunch of people in their little apartment with piles of magazines, sticks of glue, sheets of poster board, and pairs of scissors, with the intent of having us depict what we wish to happen in our lives over the coming year. I think of it more as an Intent Collage, since I don’t believe in the direct manifestation of thoughts and dreams. (Probably few of us really do.) I created my first one two years ago and still had it hanging on my bedroom door until yesterday. I filled it with pictures of things that I wanted to cultivate in my life or in my personality—but then mostly forgot about it. I’m sure I could have put it to better use by letting it be a reminder of what I had wanted for myself.

Anyway, this year I’ve made another collage, and a few themes emerged.

Dream Collage

Bikes: Always bikes. Every year, bikes. Not so much like that girl in the photo, who is clearly out for more of a cruise than an adventure. (Hey, it’s all relative.) I don’t often wear a dress while cycling, but it’s a cute photo, showing an environment that I’d be happy to find myself in. But I’d rather be in the top-left-corner scenario. It’s not unattainable just because it was staged on a mountaintop. I’ve had a mind to ride across Mt. Hood one of these days, and up to the rim of Crater Lake another one of these days. Either or both may not happen this year, but somewhere, somehow, I must go on a tour.

Cities: Hey! That girl on a bike is in a city. That’s cool. It’s probably not the same city as the one in the photo above her. I don’t know where either picture was taken, and it actually doesn’t matter. I love to visit big cities. Watching the people, seeing the buildings lit up in the night, channels the thrum of humanity right into my body. The epitome of this feeling, I imagine, would be found in New York City, a place that I have been aching to visit. That little map next to Bike Girl shows mostly Manhattan. Before I carved it up it also included Brooklyn, which I absolutely intend to visit, since my friend Jenny moved there in 2012.

Doing good: The guy in the middle happens to own a local construction company, so he builds homes for profit, but he was the closest reminder I could find of Habitat for Humanity. My friend Shannon works for Habitat, and last year I joined her for a day of volunteering at one of their build sites. It was one of the most boundary-pushing experiences I had in 2012, but it still didn’t fully eliminate my fear of power tools, so I’d like to give that another try. I’d also like to continue my tradition of doing volunteer work (of all sorts) at least once every month.

Feeling good: Alluded to by a bunch of words and phrases that need a little explanation here. The key point is that I’m always looking for useful ways to cope with my depression and other forms of emotional turmoil. When I find some momentary success, I feel a renewal of hope; but because the good times don’t last forever, I have to remember that what I really seek is not a state of constant happiness, but growth. The journey is the objective. All I can do is live through each moment, try to act in the spirit of love rather than fear, and relax in order to let the remedy become clear. And sometimes, of course, that remedy is play. My silly, wonderful boyfriend has been a great help in that sense.

Travel: I wonder if this comes up as such a strong theme in my collages because January is a month rife with cabin fever. I’ve been spending a majority of my time indoors, and while I enjoy the cozy aspects of that, I dream of all the places I want to see when the outdoor world is a bit friendlier. I want to hike, camp, and bike; I want to hop a train or a plane or drive my car far out of town. This year seems promising for travel, since I have a partner who feels the same way. Our first trip together is coming up in a matter of weeks.

Miscellaneous: Pie and wine. Because those things are delicious.

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