I remember being in sixth grade writing out the names of the son and daughter I would have. Christian Jeremiah. Lauren Taylor. Christian Jeremiah. Lauren Taylor. Christian Jeremiah. Lauren Taylor. I didn’t consider it abnormal. The notebooks of many junior high school students were filled with doodles and notes that distracted us from class. Young girls wrote out our children’s names, carefully constructed our crush’s name with hearts around it, and if our crush lasted for more than three weeks, we combined our first name with his last name to see them together. While it’s extremely amusing, it’s also admirable. Back then, before doubt and disbelief dictated our actions, we put our dreams on paper. We wrote out our wishes and mediated on them. We weren’t ashamed to dream nor embarrassed to be excited. As we grew older, reality intruded, choked out some of our enthusiasm, and we stopped having the confidence and nerve to write out the names of our dreams.
Decades past my days in middle school you might be surprised to know that I still doodle. I still write out names repeatedly. You will not find me drawing hearts or combining my first name with someone else’s last name, but I do write out the names of those I carry with me—those who don’t exist somewhere in the future, but who live in my every day. When I think of my loved ones, I write down their names and that simple, seemingly insignificant action reminds me to remain present. In the moment it takes me to write out their names I think of why they are important to me and am filled with gratitude. I am excited and energized because I have their love and merely seeing their names on paper fortifies those positive feelings.
The lesson to be learned from our sixth grade doodling is that we can experience encouragement and excitement by naming our dreams. There is empowerment in repeatedly naming our dreams and writing and reading what is important to us. Start doodling again. You may not have the same experience I have by writing out the names of those I love, but there is a great benefit in seeing what has personal significance to you on paper. Name your dreams. Write your heart’s desires. Write out your goals. Write down the name of the country you’ve always wanted to visit. Write down the job title you would like to have. Write out a plan for improving your life. Simply write what immediately comes to your mind. Look at what you write. Focus on it. Allow yourself to get excited about it. Just give yourself the space and freedom to doodle again.