When I was little, I wanted to be a couch. Not a couch potato, an actual couch.
I remember the day my brother and I were standing outside and he asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’m still not quite sure what came over me, but in that moment I could only think of items in my house. Nothing seemed that exciting. Until I thought of the couch. A couch got to sit and watch TV all day. In one of my most regretted statements of my life, I quickly responded “I want to be a couch.” Big brothers don’t forget statements like that. To this day, he teases me about my first career ambition.
I also wanted to be a men’s hockey coach.
Not because I loved hockey. Not because I was a tom boy. In fact, I had never played or even watched a hockey game. I wanted to coach hockey because Alyssa Milano coached hockey. I was about 8-years-old and read some interview she did in my Disney magazine and she said she coached hockey. I found this to be the coolest thing ever so I decided I wanted to coach hockey.
As I got older it was an actress. Then a sound engineer. Then a director. I went to college wanting to be a successful CEO of a large marketing company.
Maybe I wanted to prove to my brother that I was able to be more than just a couch. I don’t think it was that though. I think I was a dreamer. I had grown up being taught that I was capable of achieving anything I set my mind too.
My mom taught me this.
As a child of the 80′s I was born at just the right time to dream big. More and more women were joining the work force and becoming politicians, astronauts, doctors, etc. I can remember even from an early age, my mother telling me that girls could do anything boys could do (perhaps this is why my dream of being a men’s hockey coach lasted so long).
She didn’t just tell me to dream big. She dreamed big herself. My mom worked with computers, back when most people didn’t even own a computer. She worked with a software company and was laid off after the company was sold (I’m going to be honest here, I’m a little fuzzy on the details but that sounds right). For a few months she was out of work and looking for a new job. One day I came home from school and she was very excited about this new company that she desperately wanted to work for. It was called America Online. It was this brand new start-up company that was going to revolutionize the way people used the internet. She was so excited. She made phone calls, sent resumes, and finally landed a job with the company. She wrote the help files.
I can still remember the day, months later, when she came home and told me about this new thing that just launched called the World Wide Web, or WWW for short. She told me to name a company. I said M&M’s. She said that one day the company that makes M&M’s would have a “website” and people could go to the “website” to get information about the candy. I told her I thought this was the dumbest thing ever and it would never catch on. Good thing I never dreamed of being an investor.
When I got older, my mother developed a passion for pottery. Having left America Online (now AOL) at just the right time, she was able to pursue her new passion. She decided she was going to open her own store selling fine pottery from around the country. She did this for several years.
I’ve watched my mom develop dreams and chase them my whole life. I’ve learned from her that what you want at 19 doesn’t have to be what you want at 39. I’ve watched her when her dreams came true, and I’ve watched her when they haven’t. No matter what the outcome, one thing always remained the same — she still dreamed.
I often find myself chasing dreams. You could say I spend a lot of time living in the clouds. I’m not always the most grounded individual when it comes to what I’ll realistically be able to accomplish. But that because I’m a dreamer. I learned it from my mom.
Happy Birthday Mom.