Seeing Mountains (1993)
I grew up enamored of mountains through books, stories, and movies, but never actually got to see 'real' mountains with snow on top until the year I graduated high school (and met t'DoL). Then I got a double treat--seeing mountains in Montana in April, with a late winter snowfall to boot, and then the mountains of Colorado that June. And they are even more wonderful for the seeing than the imagining.
Solar Eclipse (1994)
I have vague memories of the May 1984 partial (at least in my state) solar eclipse as a child, and that just whetted my appetite to experience it as an adult when I understood what I witnessed. That second chance for a good partial eclipse came during the tail end of my first year in college. And it was magnificent. I doubt I'll ever experience a total solar eclipse, but I do very much enjoy the complete lunar eclipses and partial solar that the weather has permitted me to experience.
Seeing comets (1996-1997)
There was a whole lot of talk about Halley's comet when I was young, because of its highly anticipated visit in 1986 (but I don't believe I ever saw it, doesn't help February is a cloudy month in Minnesota). So I'd always hoped for another chance to see a great comet in my lifetime. And in my early college years, I struck gold twice. First Hyakutake in 1996, for a few intense days, then months of being spoiled with sights of Hale-Bopp in 1997. I doubt anything that comes along later in my lifetime could ever compare.
Hallelujah Chorus (199?)
The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah was a piece I grew up hearing on record/turntable, and very much cherished. So actually getting to sing it as a part of seasonal choir at the church I attended in the 90's was a definite dream fulfilled. (Couldn't find a reference in my journals, so it might possibly be 1997, when I wasn't keeping one.)
The whole point of growing up, I decided in my teen years, was in getting to have my own place and live on my own. (Having my own tiny dorm room in college only whet my appetite the more.) Still haven't fulfilled the dream of being a hermit up on some mountainside somewhere who only comes into town twice a month, but...moving into my own apartment was definitely a dream fulfilled!
My own cat (2000)
Ever since 1986, when my parents got a cat after we moved into the house, I have longed for a cat on my own. Don't want to guess how many hours I spent in junior high, high school, and college poring over breed books and changing my mind frequently over what breed I would get. Then I remember in college having three names for my first three cats picked out...not that it actually occurred that way! But getting Arun in 2000 was a huge dream fulfilled.
Finishing first Geren book (2001)
Certainly a dream fulfilled, between often thinking I'd never do it in college, to wondering if I'd ever finish during the 'stuck years' of mid 1998 - mid 2000. But I did! And 2011 will bring me to the 10-year anniversary of that dream fulfilled.
'Finrod' license plates (2001)
This was a dream of mine as a 16 year old taking driver's ed and getting a permit, that I would get vanity plates with the name of my favorite character on them. But it would be a full decade later before I'd get to fulfill it, with my first purchased car Cobalt. (Not counting my parents' old station wagon they kindly sold me for a pittance) I just checked my journal, and they showed up in my mailbox on t'DoL's birthday in 2001, what an amusing coincidence!
Making animations (2004)
I'm sure I fell in love with animated .gifs when I first saw them in a computer lab in college, back in the days when the internet was far smaller and more primitive than it is now. 2004 was the year I first started an LJ, and I'm guessing it's the year I received Photoshop Elements as a wonderful gift, a huge step up from PhotoDeluxe, and the first program I owned that would allow me to make animated .gifs of my own. My first one was the one I still use of the Shado flicking its tongue out, done in April 2004. But every subsequent one I've made feels like achieving that dream over again, even if it is sometimes depressing to pound and shrink and mangle them to get them under 40kb (LiveJournal size limit). But I doubt I will ever lose the thrill that comes with making a new one. It moves, eee!
Glacier National Park (2005)
I don't know how long I'd had an urge to visit the place, but it was the dream I chose to fulfill on my big vacation for my 30th birthday. And I think it still remains my favorite National Park. Ah, mountains and waterfalls and insanely blue lakes and mountain goats walking right past me on a trail!
I probably fell in love with manatees in junior high when I first learned about them, if not at a younger age. But it wasn't until I went to visit my aunt in Florida in February of 2008, and went to Sea World that I got to actually see them. Just fantastic. There's no way I can express it in a few short words. But...it's a dream I hope to follow up some year, if I ever get a chance to see them in the wild. Now THAT would truly be beyond words. All the wonder can't have gone out of the world, so long as there are manatees living it it.
And finally, the three dreams fulfilled all on one trip in 2010. They all go pretty far back--the age of 12 or younger, I'm guessing.
From childhood trips to New York, visits to the beaches, some kid's book I read--the longing to explore tide pools. And it's not like I haven't been by the sea at all in the last 25 years. It just hasn't been very often, and it hasn't been the right sort of beach, and schedules are too tight, and when I was thinking of it, I was always there at high tide, not low tide. So happening to have it be low tide around 9 am those couple mornings on my Oregon trip, with access to a rockier coastline...what a blessing!
And yes, Crater Lake has been a dream destination of mine for quite a few years. And it was as blue as could possibly be imagined. But I still want to see it blue like that in the wintertime, since those were the photos that completely won my heart. But since it's a cloudy, snowy place up there, and only accessible by snowshoe/dogsled/skis a good chunk of the winter, I may be waiting for a long while yet!
Can't leave out redwoods. Yes, I got to see sequoias at Sequoia National Park in 2000, and later in Yosemite, 2007. But it was the coastal redwoods wrapped in mist that stole my heart as a child, so it was redwoods as well as sequoias that I wanted to see. And what a treat to have the mist and rain roll in on our second walk and experience them just like the posters I saw as a kid! Dream fulfilled.
Thank you, God, for dreams fulfilled. And have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!