Blog, Reflecting

California Dreaming

I rarely remember my dreams, but once in a great while, I wake up vividly recalling the night’s events. The scene is clear, my thoughts are still wandering, and the “lesson” or moral of the story hits me smack dab in the face.

 Last night’s lesson was about “what ifs.”  In my dream, I was an eager 18-year old heading off to college in California, thousands of miles away from my southern Illinois family. As I toured my new campus and dormitory, my heart was beating fast as my newfound freedom excited me and the pressures of being alone overwhelmed me.

 It was a new culture, a new society, and a new environment. My typical routine, sayings, and even my wardrobe did not match the “norm,” but I didn’t care. I was living the life I always wanted … or so I thought.

Dreams have a way of bringing your life full circle. As I continued to explore my newfound college community, I found carefully placed tidbits from home. The staircase leading up to my dorm room was the exact same one from my childhood home. My room was identical to my daughter’s room at our home now. And, my roommates consisted of every student I advise currently at the student newspaper. *Note: I never said that dreams make sense :).

Although dreams don’t always make sense or seem realistic, they do help us to put wants and needs into perspective. How I interpret the dream is up to me and what I choose to learn from it is also up to me.

I woke up reflecting on the “what-ifs” of my life. Should I have gone away to college all those years ago? Should I have pushed myself more to step outside of the “norm?” Would I have reached my career goals in a more timely manner?

My dream didn’t make sense and neither did my reflections. I clearly realized, though, that if we torture ourselves with the “what-ifs” of life, then we will never move beyond the past and our so-called regrets. As my dream revealed, this dreamy California life was heavily influenced by the present-time comforts of home.

Maybe I didn’t get a chance to bask in the California dreams when I was 18, but I did get to experience a life that is worth writing, reflecting, and dreaming about – a life that led me to a family I cherish and a career I love.

I’m still dreamin’ big, but I’m dreamin’ closer to home.


– Shannon Philpott
Blog Entry: Nov. 21, 2009

 © Shannon Philpott, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shannon Philpott and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


3 thoughts on “California Dreaming”

  1. We would definitely make for some crazy roommates! Can you imagine the life you would have lived with us as your roommates at 18 years old? hahaha

    In all honesty, I ask myself the “what-if” question about going to college all the time. Its hard to think of how my life would have been completely different!

  2. I believe dreaming is a healthy way to be reflective on where you are right now in life. As you said, they are completely up to your own interpretations and most of the time seem to make little sense. The important aspect of it is pulling out what you are intended to learn from the dream, applying it to the present and living in the now.

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