Pipe Dream

IMAG0552By the time I was 16 I had a very simple goal. All my decisions and choices were based on this one goal: I wanted my entire life to be like working at a summer camp.  I was 16 after all, I had no clue how else to express such a dream.

This was not only my dream and my leitmotiv, it became my way of life. Most told me it was an impossible pipe dream. That such a life simply did not, could not, should not exist.

As I write this, I am sitting on my boat in Mexico watching my husband surf. But such a life does not exist…

I’ve never had a time punch job. I’ve never fantasized of escape from within a cubicle while bitching about Becky who took my juice from the common fridge.

“Danielson. close your eyes and imagine the perfect tree. With that image in mind, open your eyes and start cutting. Keep snipping away at the branches until your tree matches the one you imagined.”

I’ve taken Miyagi’s lesson on how to trim a bonsai in Karate Kid and applied it to my life. Or have I?

It wasn’t easy. We all get caught up in the traps of needs and wants. Bigger home, new car, up-to-date gizmos (I have my eye on you iPad!) But in the end, it all comes down to the tell-all question: If your house burns down, what will you grab first?

Other than children and pets, people always go with the memories – the photo albums. I recently attended an ocean crossing seminar.The biggest tip they proudly gave us was not in regards to radars and communication systems but to burn our pictures on a DVD and stow it in a ditch bag.

So when it really trickles down to what matters most to people it is our experiences and memories.

Yet when a young woman explains to her family, her friends and all those who will guide her that she wants a life and a career based on amazing experiences she is called a pipe dreamer. We don’t want it for others because of our self-imposed rules and regulations of a sad and bland life. Fun is not associated with responsibility. Fun is for the immature who will never grow up.

It’s now dawning on me though how I’ve always lacked a certain je-ne-sais-quoi. It’s as if there is a void – something missing which I’ve always struggled to put my finger on. In this summer camp life of mine I’ve organized parades, managed rock bands, coordinated art & music competitions, trained thousands of high school students in leadership and student empowerment, directed art galleries, worked on race cars… It’s been a hell of a ride so far! But the missing link – I believe – is that I’ve done a lot yet I’ve always been a spectator. My first ever paying job was to be a clown in a winter carnival. That slowly became busker coordinator for events and then that grew beyond my wildest dreams. But I am no longer a clown. I make others do, and then I run off to prepare another stage for others to perform upon. And then I stand aside and watch.

living it upI’m not standing by anymore. I will tell my stories, I will paint the world a brighter happier place. I’m no longer a camp counsellor in this summer camp of life, I’m a participant and watch out because my laughter is loud but infectious!


This is a Studio 30+ Writing prompt: Dream. 


18 thoughts on “Pipe Dream”

  1. I’ve never told you this, but what I’ve read about your life is one of the things that gave me hope that there’s more to the grey cubicle, jacket & tie existence I knew before I became a blogger.


    1. Circular argument? I want? Can I? How to do it? That kind of circular argument? I think it begins with one small step anything really, like ridding yourself of excess baggage that is preventing you from making the leap?


  2. You don’t have any idea how much of an inspiration you really are. And let me tell you, for those of us who began our adult lives with a hint of “rat race” and “meeting expectations of the sheeple” letting go of certain things takes practice. Certain things become second nature- worrying about credit scores and equity and careers versus jobs and insurance and blah, blah, blah…. some concepts are just so damned ingrained that it is hard to just let go and say, “I DON’T FUCKING CARE ANYMORE.” I want to care only about those things that will directly affect my current and future happiness. Everything else needs to go the fuck away.


    1. I hear you. I know it’s hard. It’s always been hard going against the grain, do you know how many times people who loved me have looked at me like I was insane? Or have been told “when will you grow up and take responsibility?”

      It is the hardest thing to do to choose happiness. Always. And by happiness I mean the real kind where you are totally and 100% true to your heart. Like say choosing to home school your children. Man. That must have been a whopper!


  3. Ultimately, there is little else to life than the pure pleasure of it. Friends and family, of course, are part of the equation, but they are also what please us. Good for you for following your dreams! And I thought you were only kidding about the race car mechanic thing …


  4. Great post for me life is to be lived and enjoyed and I do try my best to do just that…………..oh yeah and I would grap my portable hard drive and laptop in a fire before the dog…………..lol


    1. I’ve just spent the past four days with a broken laptop. Yeah… I think it would be the 1st thing I’d grab if there was a fire, or in my case a sinking boat!


  5. the older i get and the closer I get to knowing my time here is almost up the more i realize I want to do more and be more. this is really inspiring thank you


    1. I can’t wait to read about your vantage point and how you see yourself in this dream life. Does it involve horses? Please do write your version, I’d love to read it!


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