One Friday a month, I attend a "Dreams" group. We're a group of women who each have some kind of big goal and we meet to share what we've accomplished and to receive feedback about what else we could do. We meet at L'Madeleine restaurant. I went a few weeks ago and even though I had already eaten, I purchased two cute, little pastries. To tell you the truth, they were a little bland, but at least they're pretty! (Sorry about the picture quality...)
So what is the dream that I'm working on with this group? It's to get on disability. No, it's not a trip to Paris or a course at a prestigious college, but to simply receive disability benefits. Only it's not so simple. To get disability, you have to prove you have a disability, which means filling out long, complicated, governmental forms, going on interviews, and collecting paperwork. This would be hard and stressful for anyone, but put on top of everything that a person with a disability has to deal with, it's a very daunting and stressful task. Really, I know what to do. I have another very close friend who got disability benefits on the first try and I'm pumping her for information on how she did it. What I need is encouragement, which these ladies provide.
But why would why I want to prove I have a disability? Isn't that just more anxiety provoking and frankly, depressing? Well, the process IS hard to handle, but for me, proving that I have a disability to the government is making my life a little better. It's not that I want to mooch off the government, but that I need some help. To be honest, my goal isn't really to get onto disability, but to be more independent-to have my own space and I can't do that on my own. If I was a regular thirty-year-old, I would just strap on my bootstraps and get a job. I'd work hard and with my college degree and my go-getter spirit, I'm sure I would make enough to support myself. And I am not being too sarcastic here. I do know how to market myself and one of my strengths is how well I promote and sell myself during an interview. In my experience, if I interview for a job, then I am almost bound to get it. Unfortunately, keeping it is another story. Soon, I am so full with anxiety that I cannot perform my job as well as I thought I could and certainly not as well as I said. Then I feel embarrassed, under pressure, and eventually so depressed I have to quit the job.
It sometimes feels weird to have this as my current big goal, especially when others who do not know me really well start talking about what they're looking forward to. I feel fine talking to people that really know me, like the people at my small church or my family and close friends, but around a gathering of people around my age who are starting families, careers, or exciting, "regular," dreams and I don't know what to say. The problem is partly my fault and partly society's-my part is that I am judging my insides to other's outsides, which never leads to the truth, and society's part is that it stigmatizes disability. As I have said before, having a disability is natural. We all have an ability that loses its functionality at some point and the ones in our society who have a tougher time because of their disability should be lifted up and helped in our society instead of being condemned.
My dream is to become more independent and if that requires me to try for disability, then I will with all my heart.
Discussion Question: What are your big goals and dreams?
I loved the Eurythmics in fifth grade and I still love Annie Lennox! Here is what we've both really wanted all along (But what's with the cows?!):
My dreams are simple I think. I just want to be happy with my life as it is now, though I do have ideas for the future. I think you can be happy about the current state of your life and still want to change it.
I'm currently reading Stumbling Onto Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. It is a little disheartening at first glance, but getting into the core of the book is rewarding, because he writes about our perceptions of happiness. The disheartening part was that the individual's experience of happiness can differ, and what is great for one person may be saddening for another. Present moment thinking is a fascinating subject, and oftentimes obsessing over the past or future is what keeps a person from happiness. Having said that, I think it can be beneficial to have goals.