If you don’t have dreams, they won’t come true — though sometimes that’s a good thing.

If you don’t have dreams, they won’t come true — though sometimes that’s a good thing.


While talking the other day to my 19-year-old about what he wants to do with his life, I mentioned some of my random dreams: Visit Europe, write a novel, be an editorial page editor, buy and restore an old house, learn a foreign language, dig a goldfish pond, buy a houseboat, start my own business, buy a hobby farm and raise an assortment of animals, build a “green” house, start a literary salon. …


I have managed to visit Europe several times, having married a Dutch man five years ago (a feat that wasn’t on my list but should have been!) It’s much easier to afford when you have in-laws to stay with and show you around.


I just finished revising my first novel this week so I did accomplish that life-long goal. (Getting it published will be another thing entirely.)


I always thought by this time in my life I’d be the editorial page editor of a large daily newspaper, and I’m not. I am, however, the editor of a newspaper, and my duties include the editorial page, so I think I can count that. Especially since I’m making up the rules.


My husband and I bought an 1897 Victorian several years ago and have been living in the middle of multiple remodeling projects ever since, so this one counts, no question. I’ve often thought, as I trip over tools and scraps of lumber, that I might have been better off not fulfilling this particular dream. But if I hadn’t done it, I would have always wished I had.


I haven’t learned a foreign language and I don’t think I am going to manage it. I studied Spanish in high school and college but never advanced much past the ability to order a burrito at Taco Bell. My husband speaks multiple languages, and I decided to concentrate just on his main one, Dutch. But that language is darned hard. I’ve lowered my expectations to merely being able to get the gist of others’ Dutch conversations.


I did dig my own goldfish pond this summer and I’m very proud of it. All the deep holes I’d dug up before had been entirely figurative. I don’t often do heavy physical labor so each time I gaze upon my beautiful little water garden (can you really call it a goldfish pond when the ungrateful little fish always lurk near the bottom where they can’t be seen?) I am proud of how much hot, heavy work I accomplished all by myself and how really nice it turned out. I wouldn’t get nearly as much pleasure out of it if someone else had done it for me.


Years ago, freshly divorced, I recklessly bought a decrepit houseboat/money pit. It was fun for a while, but at the end of the season I came to my senses and sold it. I’ve noticed that most people who are newly divorced will do at least one very stupid thing. Often this involves a quick remarriage. Luckily for me, I just bought a boat instead and saved the remarriage for when I was ready.


I started a home business when my children were young and made enough money with the first to buy a share in a second business. Though I eventually sold both businesses and went back into journalism, I’m so glad I had that experience. I learned that starting a business is every bit as much a creative act as writing a novel, or designing a water garden.


I still dream of buying a hobby farm with a big garden, greenhouse, chickens and goats — the house, of course, would be some kind of tiny earth home powered with solar panels and a small wind turbine so I could live off the grid. If you’re thinking that’s an odd interest for someone who is living in an oh-so-un-green Victorian, I can’t argue with you.


It’s something to talk about at my literary salon, when I get around to starting one.


Contact Michelle Teheux at mteheux@pekintimes.com.