Livin’ The Dream

As I write this, I am worn out. The RC caffeine boost hasn’t kicked in, which is rather disappointing, actually, as I eye a half empty bottle. Or is it half full? Eh, I am not awake enough to wax philosophical. Give me a few more minutes.

The reason I am tired, however, has inspired this latest installment in the adventures that are my life. Ladies and gentlemen, believe it or not, I am living the dream.

My Uncle Mike uses that phrase quite a bit. “Livin’ the dream baby, livin’ the dream,” is something my Mother borrowed from her brother. I’ve taken it to heart.

When I was a kid, I dreamed of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I am sure some of you can relate to this and can also probably relate with the fact this idea changed quite often. My dreams of making a career out of being a University of Kentucky cheerleader were dashed when I realized A) they don’t get paid to cheer, B) you can only be a UK cheerleader while you are a college student at UK and C) I can’t do a cartwheel. Seriously, I am supposed to hurl myself towards the ground on purpose?

Then I moved onto being a judge. Now that career was something a little more realistic. My being an overweight asthmatic child would not be a deterring factor in this choice. I watched “The Judge,” “Divorce Court” and more on my summer break as a child. Judge Robert J. Franklin was my favorite. I was going to be like him when I grew up. Then the dream was dashed again when I learned judges are elected and you have to be a lawyer first. I was leery of being an attorney who might have to defend someone who was honestly guilty. So, I just watched my judicial dreams play out on TV.

My senior year of high school I joined the school newspaper. Then I decided I was going to be a journalist living in a loft apartment somewhere in New York City or Los Angeles, working for a major magazine or even The New York Times. Or, I was going to own my own business of some sort and work for myself, just like my father always wanted to do. But, reality got in the way of those dreams for many years.

Following high school, I moved out on my own and quit college in order to work to pay my bills. It wouldn’t be until I was 26 years old I’d be able to go back to pursue my education thanks to the Superior Court of Arizona — my employer at the time — offering tuition reimbursement. Ironically, I ended up at a courthouse, first at the information desk and then behind the scenes, recording the court cases. Yes, that’s right, I got paid to watch court TV for eight hours a day. My childhood hero, Judge Franklin, was replaced by several judges I admired, like Judge Paul Katz.

I finally graduated college in 2012 after moving to Iowa and getting married. It was a day of mixed emotions, to say the least. My father, who passed away in 2005, wasn’t there to see the one goal he had for me come to fruition. Neither were my grandparents, who had also passed away. But in the stands cheering me on as I walked across the stage were my husband, my mother, my friends and most importantly my nieces. I doubt highly they understood, at ages three and four, the significance of their Aunt Robin being the first person in their immediate family to graduate from college. But I hope when they are older, I can explain it to them.

Moving to Iowa also afforded me the opportunity to reignite my passion for journalism. On a whim I applied at the first newspaper I worked for using writing samples from that old high school paper. It worked; I got hired. After that foot in the door, I moved on to my last job where I learned nearly every facet of what goes into producing a newspaper and a lot more in how to be a good human being. And now — well, we all know where I am now.

Don’t think I forgot about that other dream of working for myself. I do that too. My best friend, Femme Wonder a.k.a. Beccie and I have our jewelry business. Does it pay my bills yet? No. But you know what? I have a lot of fun. It pays for us to travel and meet new people, and that’s good enough for me for now.

I am willing to bet if you take a look at your own life, you, too, are living the dream. Think about it. Break down what you wanted as a kid to its core. Did you want a family? Get married? Be happy? Make a difference in the world? The reality might be different from what you pictured, but you are probably living out your dream. My house in Ocheyedan is far from a loft in NYC — but at its root, I achieved the dream. Now I’ll have to dream up something else. Too bad that caffeine finally kicked in.


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