In Defense of Big Dreams

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? – Mary Oliver

My baby hugging a tree, photo by Sarah Moody

When I was a child, I wanted to dream and play and have friends and not take life too seriously, so that’s what I did.

And when I was a little bit less of a child I wanted to love Jonathan Alan Moody forever, because I thought he was the greatest human in existence, and so despite a gazillion people (along with society in general) telling us we were too young and we wouldn’t last, we both just went right on ahead and loved each other madly. I wanted to believe in true love, so I did.

And then when I had to pick which school I went to, I chose Sewanee, because I thought it was a practical decision for lots of reasons, but also because I wanted to read poetry in the mountains and walk to class through a forest. Because college isn’t just a means to an end, it’s also four years of your life. And then I wanted to study English and French, not because they’re always lucrative or always lead to a great career, but because they fulfill my soul. So I did.

And then we wanted to get married young, so we did.

And then we wanted to live in Europe, so we did.

And then we both decided that we wanted a baby more than anything and that we wanted to become young parents, so we did.

And we bought a house because we loved it. We had the junkiest of cars that couldn’t even make it out of the driveway, but we wanted to own a home together. So we did.

And we decided to build a tiny house for a thousand and one different reasons. So we did.

Life hasn’t always been easy, and we have had some lucky brakes. We have had lots of support and encouragement. We are truly surrounded by so much love, and that makes life easier.

Still, I think we look impetuous to some people. Certainly headstrong. Maybe naive.

But we have no regrets. Because I don’t think we’ve ever made a life decision that is out of step with our values. And we are now the proud owners of not one but two adorable houses! And we have the greatest kiddo in the world! And an extremely happy, joyous, healthy marriage! And we own a volvo!

What if we’d scrimped and saved and planned and ended up exactly where we are now, only ten years older? Hm? Or, horror of horrors, what if we’d been convinced by some cynic along the way and decided to date other people? Or not date so young? Or wait to have a baby until we had six months’ income in the bank? Or rent for a year before trying for a mortgage?

We wouldn’t have this life! We wouldn’t have this home! We wouldn’t have beautiful little Edmond!

It would be the alternate reality of It’s A Wonderful Life. It would be not-such-a wonderful life.

The drift is this: I won’t let cynicism, pessimism, or conformity be guiding forces in my life. I only get one. Jonathan feels the same.


Watch out 2016. We’re dreaming big as ever.

There are moments that cry out to be fulfilled. Like, telling someone you love them. Or giving your money away, all of it. Your heart is beating, isn’t it? You’re not in chains, are you? There is nothing more pathetic than caution when headlong might save a life, even, possibly, your own. – Mary Oliver


I did think, let’s go about this slowly.
This is important. This should take
some really deep thought. We should take
small thoughtful steps.

But, bless us, we didn’t. – Mary Oliver



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