As I dance around my room (yes, that still happens when you're 31), I realized it. The secret. Or, at least mine.
Mid twirl into booty pop, my mind was transported back to a moment I experienced a few months prior. I was in Brooklyn, scurrying up Grand Street carrying five bags of groceries, with my headphones in, and on a mission to get home and out of the cold when I overheard a conversation between two high school boys walking behind me. So naturally, the inquisitive person I am, slowed down and took out my earbuds. As they passed by, one of the boys looked over at a store and said, "Look at that. That's someone's dream. All these stores, are people's dreams. You walk in, you're in their dream."
We hit Manhattan Avenue, I went right and they continued down Grand Street wrapped up in their conversation unaware of my eavesdropping. But I couldn't stop thinking about that idea.
It was so eloquently put for a 15-year-old. He got it. I mean yes, that's why I love New York - everyplace is so different and unique from the next. Each store, bar, restaurant - they all have their own personal touch and vibe. It's brilliant. But to think of them as dreams? That was a new concept to me. Yet, so obvious.
What if our day dreams could be reality? What if the things we "dream" about can actually exist? What if we start thinking about dreams in terms of verbs vs. far fetched ideas that swim somewhere off in the unreachable distance? Or worse yet, deep inside us buried beneath years of societal norms compounded by hidden insecurities and doubt. That 15-year-old boy made me realize that people were living out their dreams, and I could too. We all can.
My mind went on another journey, this time back to August at Burning Man and to a conversation with a gentleman whose business card reads "Life Coach". He told me to close my eyes and envision my dream. As I did this, I realized with eyes closed, a smile emerged onto my face from deep inside. It wasn't just a smile. It was my heart truly feeling warm and alive. He then said, "My job isn't to make that dream happen for you - it's to make you ask the right questions." The questions he forced to me focus on were "How do you make that dream possible?" or even scarier "What's holding you back?"
It's taken me six months to reach this point. Or maybe 31 years, actually. I realized the thing holding me back was the confidence to rawly open myself up and let down the wall guarding what was deep inside. To show people my inner, most private dreams. To be on display, susceptible to criticism, unable to hide behind anyone or anything. Stripped. Naked. Exposed. It took a lot of soul searching. But, I realized I needed the confidence to finally fulfill my dream and sell myself. Not in a Pretty Woman hooker sort of "sell." But truly sell me. Opening a store that is purely Erin. Every single object in it, even the way those objects are placed - is me. I'm selling what I like to wear, what I like to gaze upon, hold, use, snuggle up with. All of it. When people walk into my store, I'm inviting them into my dream. And that, my friend, is frightening.
Once I was capable of justifying that my dream could, in fact, be a reality. I reached a fork in the road. One way - continuing on what seemed like a relatively successful career in advertising. And the other was to venture into the unknown but believing the unknown held the path to my dream. What happened next was something I wasn't expecting. It was the idea of NOT opening the store. It sent shivers down my spine. It was a physical repulsion to go back to the way things were before. I. JUST. COULDN'T...COULD. NOT. The inner five-year-old self was screaming "Mommy! Please don't make me go back! I'll eat all my broccoli AND clean my room. Just PLEASE don't make me go back!"
Honestly, that thought is what's helped me keep going even if I don't know exactly where I'm headed. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Moving is better than standing still. Maybe I take a wrong turn here, or stumble upon a hiccup there. But the small steps of courage force me to feel it's right. And most importantly, I know it's better than going back.
So, cheers! To the dreamers turned doers. I'm living the crash course and getting a first hand view that it's a whole heck of a lot harder than it looks. But by walking into other people's dreams, I'm constantly reminded I can live mine.