by Annette Bridges. ©2008. All rights reserved.

I was actually having difficulty thinking about anything but the election when I first sat down to write this column. So in search of some fresh inspiration, last night I started reading a new book or at least a book that is new to me – The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.

The second section of the book is titled, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” Randy’s list of childhood dreams included: “being in zero gravity, playing in the NFL, authoring an article in the World Book Encyclopedia, being Captain Kirk, winning stuffed animals and being a Disney Imagineer.”

What impressed me about his list was its specificity. And I asked myself, “What were my childhood dreams?” At this moment, I can’t tell you whether or not I’ve acquired my childhood dreams because I’m still trying to remember what they were.

One of my favorite Disney movies was “Cinderella,” so I’m pretty sure one of my dreams was to find my very own Prince Charming. And that goal was definitely reached when I met my husband!

But what other dreams were nestled in my young head?

I remember loving to sing and used to imagine myself making a record. I wasn’t shy about performing in front of people. In fact, I remember going door to door in my neighborhood and asking folks if they wanted me to sing and play my baritone ukulele for them. I was in the school choir and participated in high school musicals. But that’s the extent of that dream.

I’ve also always loved to write and fancied myself as a published author. I remember keeping a diary when very young and still journal pretty much daily. And I remember beginning to write a book. But somewhere during our move from Georgia to Texas when I was around 10 years old, my book draft was lost and I’ve never begun another.

By the time I went to college, I had aspirations of becoming a lawyer and eventually running for political office. But I must admit I pushed this dream aside after I met and married my Prince Charming and started dreaming of having children. Oh I know, I could have done both. But I didn’t — or haven’t yet.

I can’t help but think, however, that I had other childhood dreams that somehow were forgotten and never pursued.

Thinking back on Randy’s very specific list, I think his pursuit of dreams was made possible because of his very clear and definitive vision of his goals. Yet even when his specific dream was not exactly realized, his pursuit taught him valuable lessons guiding him in new, often unexpected directions he had never envisioned before.

Basically one could say Randy walked his talk.

Perhaps that is a big key in accomplishing our dreams as well as helping us to not lose sight of them. Got a dream? Go for it! Begin walking the journey. We don’t get anywhere unless we venture out. And for every dead end road, there is another road to take nearby. It seems another key in garnering aspirations is being flexible in how we outline our plans so we don’t limit the possibilities or our capabilities.

Regarding dreams not achieved Randy wrote, “And even though I did not reach the National Football League, I sometimes think I got more from pursuing that dream, and not accomplishing it, than I did from many of the ones I did accomplish.” And although he didn’t actually “become” Captain Kirk, he did meet his childhood idol years later as an adult. And I suspect Randy mastered many of the same leadership skills as Captain Kirk in his own life and profession.

If you’re like me and you’re having difficulty remembering what your childhood dreams were, don’t be discouraged and feel your dreams have been lost forever. Start a new list of goals right now. Be specific but remain ready to let your dreams evolve and expand. Then start your pursuit!

Life is about living our goals throughout our entire lives — however small or grand. Day by day and moment by moment, keep pursuing and even adding new ones to your list. Dreaming is not limited to our childhood years! And the pursuit of dreams should never end!