I did not realize I could open my eyes in the shower until I was in college.
This is completely true.
As a kid you were supposed to close your eyes in the bathtub. And I closed mine extra tight because my dad used the super-sized Sonic happy hour cups to pour water over our heads to get the soap out. Opening your eyes under that was basically like going through a car wash with your eyeballs taped open, and car washes scared me. So I closed my eyes tight through the entire bath, you know, just in case.
As the years progressed, I guess it never dawned on me to open them. I had way more important things to do. Like singing. Thinking. Singing some more. And running up the electricity bill while my entire body turned cherry red. Why open your eyes when there are so many other entertaining things to do in there?
So for 19 years I turned the shower on, got in from the back so I could inch myself into the scalding water, closed my eyes, and took my entire shower, shampoo and all, with my eyes completely shut.
I vividly remember the day that I accidentally opened my eyes in the dorm shower and realized the most stupefying, shocking thing in the world: I just opened my eyes in the shower. I must have stood there perplexed and curious for thirty minutes, blinking, looking, and taking it all in.
It's not that I believed this was an impossible thing to do, it was just that it never crossed my mind. And so I never tried.
So many things never cross my mind
I worked at Starbucks for over two years out of college and it never crossed my mind to give coffee a chance. I just automatically disdained it as my parents Folgers-addicted-age-groups- thing. You know, a baby boomer experience that smokers and crack heads turned to when it was no longer cool, legal, or age appropriate to get high anymore. Coffee.
Two years I could've been drinking free Mocha's... but it never crossed my mind to try. What a waste.
The same goes with eggs. I have lusted over omelets my entire life. They have every single food item I love wrapped into one glorious blob. Cheese. Bacon. Spinach. Mushrooms. Green peppers. Onions. More cheese. Hot sauce and sour cream on top. This is the mecca of food, I mean add some cocoa and marshmallows on the side and you have the entire food pyramid. But I have avoided omelets my whole life because of one little problem... I don't think I like eggs. I hate eggs in fact. Because one time when I was four I was forced to eat them against my will and I have allowed that to traumatize me ever since. It never really occurred to me that I might like eggs if I tried them. Try them, try them, you will see...
Dr. Seuss was a brilliant man.
A New Page
The list goes on and on. Things I never dared to do or even thought of. Limitations and fears that my mind imposed and I blindly followed. Dreams that I never even dreamed up for myself. They were all lurking inside of me.
My mom recently asked her Bible study class to come prepared to talk about their dreams for themselves. Everybody but one said they didn't really have any dreams. They were content. Or the dreams were not realistic or were too hard. They seemed to lack a sense of curiosity, not because they were lame boring people, but simply because life is life and somewhere along the way we get too busy and comfortable to dream up new things or relish the old ones; it simply doesn't cross our mind to think outside our own box.
So last New Years I realized there was so much more I wanted to do, I wanted to live outside of my box. I wanted to go to Starbucks and order a mocha. I wanted to eat eggs. I wanted to try my hand at writing. I wanted to go to marriage counseling and see if we couldn't make our relationship the kind I always dreamed of having. I wanted to try and really help someone who needed help. I wanted a best friend. Dangit, I wanted to start getting pedicures.
One Year Later...
I am proud to say I have been eating omelets and drinking coffee (straight and black) for an entire year now.
Our marriage is more rich and amazing than I ever imagined it could be. Seven years in and I am completely in love with this guy.
I've had TWO pedicures! That's more than I've had in my entire life! And I don't have just one best friend, but an entire family of people that have opened my eyes to a whole different way of living.
I tried Thai food. Not the American kind, but the coconut milk soup and strange noodles. I read a few challenging books, and I wrote things in this blog that interested me. I got a tattoo. We lived on a cash only system. I baked recipes from the Martha Stewart cookbook that I've always been afraid to try.
I've kept my eyes open during almost every single shower and even attempted my next challenge: opening my eyes under water.
I am thinking through what I would like to do this year, and I am not sure what those things are yet, but I am so glad they are going to exist. Even if I don't cross off everything on the list. Even if I just knock out one new feat. Anything is better than nothing. I want to take those little thoughts, those little dreams, those little desires and I want to at least try.
Who knows? Next year I might be eating octopus and finally perform in my first dance recital (even if it's in my living room)!
Dream big this year.
And then do something about it.