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If only in your dreams (12/27/2009)
By Janet Lewis Burns

“Makes no difference who you are – when you wish upon a star your dreams come true.”

As a New Year looms on the horizon, there will likely be a mixture of sadness and gratitude, togetherness and loneliness, expectations and disappointments, broken dreams and accomplishments, both melancholy and happy memories. We can look forward with hope and determination or slip into a funk with no direction or willpower.

I was wondering, what did I neglect to do in the past year that I have always wanted to do...again? Do we continue to put things off with less than ambitious intentions to do it “after I get my teeth fixed” or “when I retire?” Ask yourself - when is the last time that I: made a snow angel? Splashed through a puddle in pouring rain (and loved it?) Made huge bubbles with a wad of pink bubblegum? Didn’t act my age? Giggled uncontrollably? Tried on swimsuits? Skipped barefooted in the grass at sunrise? Went skydiving (if only in my dreams?) As we age, it’s easy to allow life to become a mundane routine. We grow too cautious to venture from our exclusive corner of the universe. We use excuses, like “I have a wicked ingrown toenail,” or “The windows need washing,” because we don’t have the gumption to reach beyond our self to share an encounter. You know you should visit an old friend who happens to have terminal cancer, but you feel awkward, not realizing the pleasure it would bring to both of you.

What if you really stuck your neck (or your tongue) out and pursued a lifelong dream that seemed to be so impossible it would make your minister laugh? The Susan Boyle story wrapped up the year 2009 with a fetching, heartwarming, and most unexpected gift to admirers worldwide.

I’ve never seen a more memorable reaction by an audience! Shock and disbelief swept over their gaping faces in a whirlwind of disbelief as this seemingly dowdy, modest, British lady blasted onlookers with her clarion voice. Susan Boyle’s exposure on the “Britain’s Got Talent” TV show on 4/11/09 erupted into a recording deal for this unworldly lady, who lives alone in a modest home in Scotland. Susan swiftly underwent a physical makeover, complete with a fashionable wardrobe and a bouncy, ebony hairdo. She’s a doll! Her delightful voice is sensuous and as penetrating as crisp, winter air; she could make any song enchanting.

Listen to this! In early December, the morning news reported that Susan Boyle’s first CD holds an all-time record in the entire history of recorded music, for the most debut albums sold by a female artist. In the first week, worldwide album sales of her “I Dreamed A Dream” reached 700,000. It was to be released to local stores the next day. As I made my way to Winona I had visions of long lines forming to get to the mammoth display featuring Susan’s cherub face and dancing eyes.

No line in sight at Wal Mart! A young employee wandering around the electronics area appeared to be someone who wouldn’t have a clue who Susan Boyle is. He was able to point out the rack where an abundance of her CDs eagerly awaited the clamoring masses, all for the love of Susan. (I feel like we’re on a first name basis by now.)

Susan Boyle dedicated “I Dreamed A Dream” to her late mother, who had encouraged this unpretentious, formerly picked-on youngster to “be somebody.” If only in her dreams, a mother believed her daughter’s hidden talent would one day be a gift to the world.

Maybe 2010 will be the year to step beyond your dreams, and, as another old song goes, to “catch a falling star and put it in your pocket... never let it fade away.”

Janet Burns wishes you all a new year blessed with dreams fulfilled. She can be reached at



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