Big Dreams

Josie Davis

I’m a realist. Actually, I’m more of a pessimist with an annoying penchant for pointing out any and all tiny little problems that might potentially happen along the way, no matter how unlikely they may be. All this to say that I’m not much of a daydreamer. My brain tends to shoot down lofty dreams pretty quickly. Of course, it’s a lot of fear too. Fear is the jerk who likes to whisper in your ear and tell you it’s totally not worth dreaming because it’ll never be anyway. I’ve never spent time thinking about what my dream house, or dream car, or even just dream pair of shoes would be (are dream shoes a thing? I’m so bad at dreaming stuff I truly don’t know what people dream about).

I’m trying to change that though, and I’m trying to learn to dream big. A few years ago I sat down with my husband and tried to figure out what I wanted to do with my career. At that point I had really no experience in the job market besides retail, and some very painful years in college waitressing (sorry to all of you who had to put up with one of the most awkward and clumsy waitresses while attempting to enjoy some Mexican food). I remember Frank asking me what my dream job would be, and after a lot of thinking, I told him it would be to style homewares for Terrain, my favorite brand. At the time it seemed like this crazy insurmountable goal. Their parent company UBRN is notoriously hard to get into, and talent teams are basically buried alive on a daily basis with resumes of creatives trying to get positions at the Home Office. But I got scrappy. I did whatever I could, and well, to make a long story short, here I am. In the exact job I had seemingly no real right to even hope for.

Looking back it seems like a small dream, even though it felt huge at the time. I recently started seeing a therapist again, and when I talked to her about my career she told me a little more than sarcastically “well, I guess you should have dreamed bigger then, huh?” Ouch. Nothing like having a mental health professional roll their eyes at you and tell you you’re thinking too small, but I supposed that’s also what I’m paying her for, and seriously, she was totally right.

As a little exercise I decided to think of my dream house. I’d never really thought of that before. I had thought about houses that I liked for sure, but a dream house, like a legit, wildest dreams house had never been something I had spent even a minute considering. It was actually really hard to put myself out of my pessimistic box and out into the open of dreamland. At first I thought “Well, I’d like to be near the beach” and then I had to remind myself “DREAM house” and said “okay, okay, ON the beach”. Even giving myself permission to think of a dream house that’s on the beach felt like I was really stretching myself.

I truly believe you don’t luck into things. If I’ve learned anything from Micheal Scott (and apparently this Wayne Gretzky fellow) “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. I also think you miss 100% of the dreams you didn’t bother dreaming. Obviously there’s a lot of hard work behind getting to those things, but I’ve found that hard work is the easier part for me. I’ll gladly put my nose to the ground and bend over backwards to reach my goals, but sometimes you gotta dream big.

324.9

Josie Davis

Three Hundred and twenty four point nine.

That’s how many miles I ran in 2018.

Maybe that seems like a small number to some of you ultra running mega marathon super people, but if you had told me I would run that many miles five years ago I would have straight up laughed in your face. I wish I could say not being able to run to the end of the block was a exaggeration, but it’s not, it even be generous. Running across the yard would leave me winded and clutching a stitch at my side.

I was out for a “hike” with my husband one afternoon. I say “hike” because it was just a walk through the woods, barely even a hill to pose a threat. But I couldn’t do it. I think we had only been walking about 15 minutes and I had to sit down and rest, and I remember sitting there and thinking “is this what I want the rest of my life to be like?” sitting around, unable to keep up. Do I want to be on vacation in some amazing place and need to take constant breaks because simple walking is too much for me? I wasn’t overweight by any means, but I huffed and puffed like I was carrying an extra person with me wherever I went. But I decided that day I didn’t want to be that person anymore.

So I decided to run.

And I was horrible at it.

Not just like regular bad, but like truly and terrifically terrible at it. Forget running a mile, I couldn’t even make it a full block before I would have to slow down to a walk. But I stuck to it a few times a week. Running as much as I could, then slowing to a walk, then running again, then walking again. I just kept pushing myself as far as I could each time. I don’t remember exactly how long it took me - several months at least, but I remember the day I finally ran a half mile without stopping. I pretty much felt like a superhero. Albeit a superhero who could barely breathe, but hell, I did it.

Ever so slowly I got farther and farther, and finally found myself being able to run one, two, three miles at a time. I did my first 5k in a sleet storm and finished soaked from head to toe, but happy. I was a runner. Sure, I wasn’t running marathons (and actually don’t plan to, in case you’re wondering), but I was running. Something I really never thought I could do.

Running isn’t just putting one foot in front of the other to me, it’s a dare. Whenever my brain tries to tell me I can’t do something, the runner in me says “I bet you can”. It might be a long a painful journey, just like running has been, but I know know that I can get to the other side. I might be sweaty and gasping for breath, but I know now that I can.

I am a Writer

Josie Davis

It’s weird to write those words.

“I am a writer”

No one gave my permission to say that. No one else told me that I’m a writer. I haven’t written any books that have been on the NYT best seller list, and heck, I've barely put pen to paper over these last few years. But I’m done with waiting for someone to give me permission.

Writing has always been something I’ve loved. During my teens I spent almost every night spilling my angsty little heart out into my journal. I still have those journals packed away in our basement, just sitting around for anytime I feel like I could use a little dose of teenage drama in my life. As I went off to college, journaling got lost in the shuffle. I still wrote papers and essays and any number of collegiate things, but that personal connection with writing slowly faded away.

The past few years I thought about writing a lot. Like this little bug stuck in my brain, buzzing around reminding me that it’s still there, waiting for me to get myself together and get back to it. Even in the past when I was blogging regularly about style and DIYs and other fun things I found myself wanting to write more, but having no idea where to start, worried I’d alienate followers by writing more, or worse, just be bad at it.

One of the books I finished off 2018 with was the much talked about “Girl, Wash Your Face”. One of the ideas I loved that I took from that book is her belief that how we talk about our goals and dreams has a huge effect on how or if they come to be. It really made me examine how I think about my aspirations. For years I’ve been thinking “I want to be a writer someday”, meanwhile I never made any effort to write more, or at all really. This year, I’ve stopped saying passive things like “I want” and am instead swapping it with phrases like “I am” and “I will”. I feel a lot more drawn to write every single day when I’m regularly telling myself “I am a writer” because after all, writers tend to, ya know, write.

If you’re waiting for some magical day when you can say that you’re this or that, stop. Just own it. Run at it full force and stop waiting for permission.