In pursuit of dreams: Our next 5 question challenge

American Masters: Julia Child “I am sadly an ordinary person . . . with talents I do not use.” That was an insecure and uncertain Julia Child writing in her diary long before she became Julia Child the chef, author and TV personality. In fact it wasn’t until she moved to France with her husband in 1948 that she discovered her love of French cuisine.  Upon discovering this love, Child wrote to her sister-in-law “To think it has taken me 40 years to find my true passion.”  It would be another 10 years and several rejections later before Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” was published. She was 51 when “The French Chef” began airing on PBS.

When we hit our 40s it often seems easier and more practical to give up on our dreams. With kids to care for, bills to pay, and the reality of life confronting us every morning, stretching our imaginations to include a dream career, travel, entrepreneurship…sometimes feels like child’s play. But if you’ve always envisioned yourself doing something different and being something else, then those visions will always be there. If a vision follows you from year to year, maybe you owe it to yourself and that vision to pursue it, even in the midst of all your reality. And when I say you, I mean me.

But life inevitably stops us from pursuing those dreams. The bills do need to get paid. The kids do need to eat – and will for at least a few more years.  And your family, well, they’ll think you’re crazy. And then there are those times we construct our own roadblocks. Sometimes we play the role of prophet, projecting into the future a stream of what-ifs that end up paralyzing us. It’s like driving in fog. The key to success when driving in heavy fog is to pay attention to the road that’s right in front of you. If you try to look to what might be coming up miles down the road, you’ll take your eyes off of what is actually right in front of you now. Not good.

Pursuing a vision doesn’t mean abandoning your responsibilities, going into ridiculous debt and crossing your fingers hoping for some good luck. It doesn’t mean that your book will be the next Harry Potter or your screenplay the next Hurt Locker. It means that maybe today you write the next 100 words of your manuscript, or you register for the class at your community college, or you buy “The Dummies Guide to ‘Fill In The Blank'” to get you started ‘fill in the blank.’ And it means that when your manuscript gets rejected several times, as Julia Child’s and J.K. Rowling’s (12 times) were, you wipe your eyes, blow your nose and move on to the next publisher on your list.

So here’s the next 5 Question Challenge I’m sending out to the WAF community. I’m calling this one The Dream Catcher 5 Question Challenge. The goal is to get us closer to living our dreams. While some may dream of book deals and living abroad, others may dream of marriage and family or buying a home…the good thing about dreams is that they are our own and their possibilities are endless. The thing that ties our dreams together is that they are all valid and all worth having. So, in your dream life…

1.) What would you be doing?

2.) Where would you be doing it?

3.) Who would be sharing it with you/helping you get there?

4.) What’s/Who’s stopping you from living your dream life?

5.) What’s one thing you can do today to bring you one step closer to making it a reality?

You can answer the questions here in the comment section, on the Facebook Fan Page or on Twitter. If you’d like your responses to be posted anonymously, please email them to  And check out our first 5 Question Challenge and the many responses here.

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Grace is a freelance writer and blogger living in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • Minkado

    Thanks so much for posting this. It came at just the right time for me. Interesting, at the time when most of us are comfortable with ourselves and truly finding out who we are, we give up on our dreams. But as long as we have life and a dream, we should persevere.

  • Lizaf

    The nice thing about my having married to late in life to have kids is that I now have time to pursue my new dreams. I used to envy people who were married and with kids but now I appreciate what I have – time for myself.

  • Anonymous

    Minkado – so true – in our 40s we’re finally coming into our own yet we tend to be up against new kind of demons and roadblocks, most of which we erect ourselves.

  • Anonymous

    Great point Liza. The life we currently have is the life that will make our dreams reality. Other people’s reality/dreams/goals won’t make our dreams come true. Your own reality is what is giving you exactly what you need right now.

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