I can’t remember how the conversation started but in the midst of a family dinner, my sister-in-law’s brother, Eric, began to talk of strange dreams about flying.
“Tell me more,” I asked him.
“They’re so bizarre. Each night I fly somewhere else.”
Like any persistent dream, his are tugging at him. I’m no dream genie, but flying, of course, represents freedom and yearning. You fly when you want to change your circumstances, when life restricts you, when you want to physically move from point A to B, or somewhere in-between, perhaps a place not yet known. Sometime after being widowed and before relocating to Denver, I had recurrent flying dreams, although I was on foot, skis, or a train. Same concept. The dreams weren’t especially liberating; in fact, many mornings I woke in a nervous sweat. I was feeling stuck in my life, certain that I needed to make some changes, but fuzzy about what sort of life I really wanted. The freedom overwhelmed me because I couldn’t see my part in the whole of this new universe. Eric’s in a similar place now, and contrary to popular wisdom, which practically beats us over the head with slogans like “be patient” and “give it time,” my advice to him is “do something.” Anything. Any single step is better than staying stagnant. Because one change, no matter how subtle, gives way to others.
With 2011 just hours away, this seems an apt time to think about flying. As far as we know, we get just one shot at life. Why not live it well?