Tuesday, January 15, 2013 | By: HiDee

Racing Toward My Dreams

I’ve been so busy being a parent, trying to teach my children about life, that I almost didn’t realize how much I could learn from them.

At the ripe old age of 19, my daughter dove headfirst into her dream: to be a dirt track racecar driver. It’s partly my own fault. We’ve been taking her to the races since she was a baby. When she was about 4, she was running to her dad about 20 yards ahead of me, crossing the fairgrounds to the track. A couple of young boys were throwing a football. It all happened in slow motion and there was nothing I could do: one of the boys threw the football, it hit her in the back of the head, and sent her tumbling head over heels – literally. All I could do was watch – and laugh, once I knew she wasn’t hurt.

I think that hit knocked something loose in her brain, making her crave danger.

To her credit, my daughter has done her homework. She’s been reading racing magazines for years. She drew pictures of cars. She collected racing programs from races we attended, and made lists upon lists of drivers, cars, tracks, and who knows what else. She graduated from the local college with a degree in automotive technology. Facebook has been her friend, allowing her to follow and get to know many of the drivers. They have been openly encouraging her, offering advice and even parts for her racecar.

When she first bought the car, she stripped it down to the bare bones. Piece by piece, she put it back together. A friend who has a graphics business painted her helmet, and created the original designs she wanted on her car. An ex-boyfriend spent hours at the shop with her, welding and helping her learn how to ‘set up’ the car. Being a racecar driver himself, he had connections that could – and did – help her. She survived her first racing season with only minor crashes, thank God. And now that it’s winter again, the car is getting a makeover: new colors, new designs, and new sponsors.

I didn’t get hit over the head with anything, that I know of anyway, but my brain has always craved books. I’ve been an avid reader since I was young, and my desire to be a writer wasn’t far behind.

Writing magazines have been among my reading materials for years. I’ve written stories and poems, articles and manuscripts. Facebook and the internet have allowed me to follow my favorite authors, to search for and learn from other writers via their websites and blogs. Local and online writing groups offer support that every writer needs; they’re like having another family, supporting you in every way.

I learned to write by stripping my ideas down to bare bones. Word by word, writing and revising, I’ve improved my writing. My friends can’t write for me, nor can any old boyfriends, although one old boyfriend recently became the model for my next hero, thanks to a dream that just wouldn’t go away. I’ve survived the writing process, not without some minor bruises, and now that it’s winter, my writing is also getting a makeover. I’m spending more time in my chair focused on writing. New characters, new ideas, new motivations – all geared to improving my writing and pushing me farther along the road to publication. That’s my dream: publication.
Graphic by HiDee Ekstrom
My daughter has taught me that I need to go after my dream with all my heart. I’ve put it aside to raise my kids, and now that they are grown (almost), it’s my turn. Unlike my daughter, I don’t usually dive into anything. I tend to dip my toe first, then inch my way in, getting more comfortable with each step I take.

But sometimes, life drags me in, kicking and screaming. I just have to learn to go with it and keep racing toward my dreams.

How do you approach your dreams, your goals? Do you inch carefully along, or do you dive in all at once? I’d love to hear your thoughts.