Mental Notes with Hilary Valdez: Hopes and dreams

Mental Notes with Hilary Valdez: Hopes and dreams

by Hilary Valdez
Stripes Okinawa

People spend a lot of their time daydreaming. I noticed this at work. Some psychologists may call this concentration difficulties. Some call it, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Call it what you want. I paid no attention to them. I daydreamed to escape from stress and childhood pressures.

When I was a kid, I dreamed of walking around the world and shaking every person’s hand. I wanted to meet everyone! Then I did the math. I had to change that dream. I was a jittery child. I didn’t like being a kid. I wanted to hurry up and explore the world. But here I was, stuck in fifth grade. I wanted to be free. I wanted adventure.  The big question for me was - how do I start my life adventure? I needed a plan. It all seemed so…illusive. I knew Santa Clause wouldn’t help me. What I noticed was daydreaming boosted my creativity and problem-solving skills. So, I kept daydreaming.

I pondered, how do I achieve my dream as a global adventurer, without telling my parents that I wanted to leave home? Aspirations #1: What do I need to do? I have no training and no money.  But what is a dream? It’s a strong desire and a hope for my future, a wish that this dream can happen. A vision of what I want, which at that point seemed unattainable. But I had a possibility focus. If I could dream it, I could achieve it. Aspiration #2: Get childhood over with. Identify the obstacles in my way. Make a plan.

My father always asked; what is my career choice? I never said – “to travel the world and be free.” Not a good response, unless I wanted to wash dishes for a week and mop the floors. But people develop their dreams on career aspirations based on their talents, personal values, and ideal lifestyle. I always considered my interests and values when I responded to my dad’s questions about my career aspirations. Who will I be tomorrow, he would ask? That was the big question. However, I had a huge interest in music, but I didn’t want to be playing in bars as a 70-year-old singer. What do I want? – a question still to be answered.

If I wanted to be successful, I needed discipline. What’s the bridge between adventure and discipline? Application. Applying the seat of my pants to a chair and learn something. But learn what? How to be friendly, smile, and shake hands?

Here I am 12 years old, losing hope. Yet, hope is such an important factor when it comes to overcoming life challenges. Hope was my weapon to fight against my despair. I needed a signal, a sign from life. Then one day, my parents and I visited a friend’s house. In his spare room, hanging behind a door, was a set of Marine Corps Dress blues. Shiny medals, and medals of different colors, gold buttons, a red stripe on the trousers. I stood with my mouth open: stunned. I’d never seen such a beautiful uniform. I asked: “What is that?” He replied: “Marine Corps Dress Blues.” “How do I get to wear that?” I wondered. “It ain’t easy,” was his reply. In my mind I said: “I don’t care.”  Now, I was willing to do everything to make the beginning of my adventure come true. Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. I was filled with confidence. Hello Seventh Grade! Bring it on!

As time progressed, I learned that I had to be careful about what I daydreamed about. Dreams can come true if you really desire them to come true. In my dream lies my direction. I knew that if I hoped to become better, I would become better, and things would turn out the way I wanted them to be. Except, when I was in Marine Corps boot camp in San Diego, I could see my house, on the distant hill, painted Sky Blue, overlooking the airport and the Depot. When I ran the 1,000 - yard sprint, I just wanted to run home. Too late. Then after boot camp, I was stationed in San Diego for another year, attending music school. My swash-buckling idea to see the world, had to wait. Four-for-the-Corps: no more. I got a dream to catch.  /  

Danger Beyond Intrigue /

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