House work is good thinking time. Especially in the morning before the kiddo is awake and asking me a million questions.

Today I was thinking about little dreams and big dreams and I’d like to give you a few examples…

Belton Brewing Company

At a recent, city-wide garage sale we ran into a couple who were brewing beer in a small turkey fryer in the front yard while running their garage sale. They started talking about the “new brewery that was coming to town.”

We both winced, Dave and I did, because that brewery was supposed to be us. In point of fact, they had seen our website and were expecting us to open this year or next.

That dream was a big one. It started in the weeks following my husband’s sudden unemployment – after over four years with a local industrial computer company. We sat down, we mapped it out, we cashed in the 401k to buy a experimentation size brewing setup. We drew up estimates, made materials lists, scoped out properties, and tried to figure out funding sources. And then the housing crisis hit, the economy hit a monster truck sized pothole, I lost 1/3 of my cleaning biz income, and our dream dissipated into smoke.

Not able to visualize anything past all of the worksheets and plans we had made, we walked away from that dream. It was a painful day.

Dreams of Self-Sufficiency

Recently my husband has been cultivating a friendship with a guy in a local beer store. The guy owns five acres of land and dreams of being self-sufficient – “I want to buy 500-1,000 acres of land and be 100% self-sufficient.” We’ve been ‘collecting’ like minds these days, and he fits into a lot of what we are looking for – DIY, Libertarian, self-sufficiency, the works.

His dream – of owning 500-1,000 acres is a big dream. When I heard he had five acres I was consumed with envy – what I would DO with five acres of land!

I think that, in order to accomplish our dreams, we must do three things:

  1. Dream small but open-ended
  2. Adjust the lens
  3. Act

Dream Small But Open-Ended

If we dream too big, we are automatically limiting ourselves. Unless you are Warren Buffett and have all the money in the world, a big dream is damned near impossible. My husband Dave often says, tongue in cheek, “We had a great idea for a brewery, but for some reason no one wanted to hand us a million dollars to get it started!”

As I stood there today at the sink, thinking about my husband going back into the computer field that had been so emotionally draining and unfulfilling for him just a few years ago, the epiphany struck…he needs to be brewing. We have this amazing brew system sitting in the garage and has not been using it. Now mainly this is a money issue, which should be solved within about two months. After that, I see no reason that he shouldn’t be brewing every month or two, trying new recipes, honing his skills. He may not get to open a brewery today, tomorrow, or even next year – but if he uses what he has, perhaps teaches classes and broadens his involvement in community-based activities, what is a dream and a hobby right now could morph into an actionable business over time and eventually become a full-fledged brewery.

Adjust the Lens

This goes hand in hand with the idea above. Basically, if all you can see is one way to do things, then you are lost. For any dream, there are at least a dozen ways to get there.

Take my husband’s new buddy at the liquor store. He’s sitting on FIVE ACRES of land and dreaming of self-sufficiency. I have to laugh, just a little, because I know of at least one family who live on 1/5 of an acre (1/10 of which is cultivated) and earn their entire income off of that land and the items they sell on their website. Their house runs mainly on solar and hand-cranked appliances, they use solar to heat their water for showers, and manage to produce 4-6,000 pounds of produce every year.

Off of 1/10 acre of cultivated land.

Imagine what this guy could do with his five acres. He could be self-sufficient, or damned close, right now. As it is, we probably grow more produce on our little 1/3 acre of land (800 sq feet currently farmed) than he does. Why? Because we have what we have, and I’ll be darned if it’s gonna sit unused.

Act

Dreams are great. They really are. Someday I’ll tell you about our latest “if we won the lottery” dream – it’s a great one. But dreams will never be reality without action. If you want it, if you really, really want it – if you are sitting in your little gray cubicle wishing for a different life – then ACT on it. Don’t play games with yourself and say, “If only,” or “as soon as” or “when my ship comes in”.

No one is going to walk up and hand you this life. No one is going to make it all better and give you the money and time and resources you need for your dreams.

If you really want it…ACT on it. Today. Now.

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