When we are young, we are encouraged by all those around us to "dream big." Every little kid is asked repeatedly, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Kids, being kids, answer with "fireman," "cowboy," "ballerina," "doctor."
Their answers tend to change on a daily basis as they see new people doing new things that they think would be fun to do themselves. If dad is welding a gate, they want to be welder. If mom is baking a cake, they want to be pastry chef. If a policeman helps them find their parents, they want to go into law enforcement. As kids, they dream of the endless possibilities that await them.
As we grow up, we're reminded that we have to deal with reality.
It takes eight years of college to be a lawyer. It takes twelve years of college to be a doctor. Only a handful of actors actually can make a living at their craft. The elimination process for astronauts is brutal and very few will ever make the cut. Our attitude tends to go from looking at the possibilities to looking at the obstacles.
When we move into adulthood, we change the focus of our dreams. We want a good house, a car that runs, food on the table and a loving relationship. We want children and we want them to be safe and healthy. These are life dreams, the hopes we have for "tomorrow."
But, what if we didn't stop dreaming?
What if we continued to see what our possibilities were?
There are now people in their 40s and 50s who are returning to school to learn a new skill. Rather than accepting that the choices they made at 20 are lifelong, these people have instead made the decision to see what else they can do.
We are all capable of such dreaming.
We can read books on how to program computers. We can watch videos that teach us how to cook. We can take classes that show us how to paint. We can befriend people that have skills we do not, and then we can learn from them.
Contrary to what we once thought, you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks. Our brains are incredible organs and they continue to seek as much input and stimulation as they can get throughout our lives. We are limited only by what we are willing to dare.
In Mason County, we have a population that tends toward the upper end of the age brackets. Yet, when people meet these older Mason County residents, they are amazed to discover folks who never stop living and never stop dreaming.
Emma Gene Jackson turned her curiosity about people into numerous articles about her friends and neighbors. Wibby Shearer turned his fascination with history into a life of seeking out our local history and sharing it with the entire community. Della Moneyhon turned her love of children into a Girl Scout program that continues even today.
Everywhere you turn in Mason, you find that people in this community do something very unique as they move into the retirement years. They start dreaming again.
They dream of affordable housing, and like Don Jaques, they help establish a local Habitat for Humanity.
They dream of Fort Mason once again standing on Post Hill, and like Kurt Zesch, they spearhead a rebuilding project.
When we were growing up, we were often told to get our head out of the clouds or to stop daydreaming... But, maybe the reason we do live so long in Mason County is that we've found that by following our dreams, our lives are rejuvenated and revived. Our dreams offer promise of better things, better lives and better people.
What's your dream?
It’s all just my opinion.