I am a dream catcher.
If, while slipping through my fingers or sliding behind my eyeballs, an idea sparks electricity in my blood, my hand follows that neural pathway of light with arm outstretched until I grasp hold of it. Once I take hold of a dream, of an idea – it is only a matter of time before it becomes a reality.
Let me give you an example. The first dream I remember is that of flying. Not like a bird, but on wings of steel and jet fuel. I had flown with my sister to visit family friends in Christchurch before I turned ten years old. On that flight, I fell in love with flying. I remember spending Sunday afternoons visiting the airport to watch planes land with my dad, always fascinated by the way they achieved lift. By the time I was fifteen years old, I had watched Top Gun countless times and had spent weekend afternoons out at the airfield with my mother and stepfather, watching vintage planes take off and land. Sometimes we were lucky enough to be on board. And then, one afternoon I was lucky enough to sit in the cockpit and it was my hands on the controls for just long enough to feel like I was flying.
A dream became reality, once even taking off in a Harvard and seeing the sky wrapped around me through the glass canopy. I dreamed of flying and I flew.
I had other dreams alongside this one – I dreamed of recording studios and making music, being backstage and enjoying rolling jam sessions whenever the mood struck. And I dreamed of being a writer, making words into meaning and telling stories that mattered. I opened books to smell the fresh newsprint, not just to devour the words and imagined the day I would hold my own words in printed and bound form. I have been in print more times than I can count and I’m working on the first book that is entirely my own now. I dreamed of writing and I write.
Later, I dreamed of being a radio announcer and producer, being nationally broadcast up and down New Zealand. In my last year of high school, I was late for school every day while I cut radio teeth as a producer and assistant on the breakfast show of a new alternative rock format. By 22, I had been a Sunday night talkback producer, breakfast show, drive and night show host on a national network. I dreamed of what my voice could do, what it could mean for people – and I became a voice.
I have stretched out my hand for a dozen smaller dreams in this life and had them come true. I dreamed of a life in America, of taking trains across the great continents, of meeting inspiring and wondrous people. Every single one has come to pass and so I keep dreaming and filling up the list with something new.
I’m not lucky and nor do I work too hard. It’s that when I dream, I’ve learned to recognise the ones that matter most and they get all my attention. I don’t focus on how they will come to pass, instead I lean into expectation of ‘this will be, somehow’ and enjoy the wondrous ways that life delivers dreams.
Sometimes that means waiting and hoping and living anyway. You can lean in to a dream and keep living anyway, you know. All my dreams these days are not the dreams of childhood but adulthood. I dream of meaning, of outcomes, of adventures. Still, there is one dream of childhood left, one possibility that hangs in the corners of my mind.