They always tell you to dream big, but the little dreams, the mundane dreams, can also bring joy to our lives. Maybe the mundane dreams seem like they detract from progress towards a big dream, but my opinion is that realizing the little dreams makes it easier to dream big later. The little dreams are the foundation for confidence, creativity, and peace of mind.
When I returned to office work, a little over six years ago, I brought an old stone paperweight with me that had belonged to my grandma. The lacquered stone was painted with footprints and the words “Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday.” I had not worked in an office in ten years, bouncing between food service and retail settings before returning to finish college. A rolling chair, a desk, a full calendar, pens, papers, folders, paperclips, freshly printed documents straight out of a copier, the smell of coffee in the morning, the rhythmic tapping of an adding machine…I find these things so calming.
I grew up in an office. Before I was old enough for school, I used to go to work with my mom. She helped my dad’s dad run his insurance auditing business from home. While she worked, my grandma did her best to keep me entertained, but I always seemed to end up back in the office drawing, or playing with office supplies. My grandad was the first person in the family to own a computer: an Apple IIe with not one but TWO floppy disk drives. You could save your documents without removing the disk containing the program itself if you had two drives. I was three years old at the time, but my grandad taught me to use the computer with “Apple Presents Apple IIe.” It taught the use of keys that were not present on a standard typewriter as a means of manipulating the cursor, as well as what different cursors meant, and the additional functions available through open- and closed-apple.
Office jobs were pretty common in my family. My mom and all four of my grandparents held office jobs until they retired. My dad was sort of the odd man out, preferring a hands-on approach to the world, fixing and building things (whether the thing in question was a house, a boat, or a horse). That ability was not lost on me. If you look around my home, you will find I have all manner of tools for repair and creativity. Still, I leave my desk before bed each night and I return to it each morning when I wake up.
I find inspiration in photographs of desks. Colorful crafting stations, spartan workspaces, rustic writing desks, and all the like make me feel peacefully motivated. My own desk is a bit chaotic. Never the proper amount of space for the project I’m working on, never sufficient shelves for my supplies to be within reach, never drawers the right size so I can put anything up without unloading everything the next time I need something, no document trays for the stray papers I need out of my way.
My dream is to have an office at home that is just as functional and efficient as a business office, but just as beautiful and inviting as those photographs. A space that has a place for everything and room to work on any project. Then, if I can find a way, I dream of working from this space for a living. Could I? I have my art, but it’s not a stable enough source of income. I hadn’t realized, when I was in college, just how important it would be to have such a dependable lifestyle.
So that is my mundane dream: a functional and aesthetically pleasing home workspace.
What’s your mundane dream?