Our Story Begins:
Do You Have A Dream?
What is your dream? Or maybe, more appropriately for some, what was your dream?
I ask this because I’m in the midst of doing something that, five years ago, I would never have done. I wouldn’t have really conceived of it or even accomplished it. I dabbled, worked here and there, but really . . . I wasn’t serious.
Then when my wife passed away . . . that idea, the germination of what I’m working on now, just wasn’t top of mind. Parenting wasn’t just a wonderful thing I did and loved . . . it was a responsibility, one I gladly and proudly took on alone. I didn’t believe I couldn’t and I didn’t ask if I shouldn’t it just wasn’t something that crossed my mind. These four little people in my house were in need of direction, foundation, stability and routine. I faltered and failed in a lot of aspects.
The hardest thing to come to terms with after all that was the fact that without their mother around we had ground even more stable, more routine and more grounded than we ever had been. That was a hard fact to come to terms with.
When my oldest daughter was at that make-or-break moment of deciding on her focus for college and career and life she was in a panic. My wife was smart, classy, sassy and a lot of other adjectives I can’t even recount. She wanted her daughter to do something in a medical field because “it helps people, it’s stable and it makes money.” The last part, makes money, a stable income, was the primary goal there.
Yet my daughter, wanting to be stable, honor her mother, be comfortable even, was conflicted. She was always an actress, lover of the stage, artistic and lived in her head. Her life was a script, read by a narrator who described her life in great detail as she walked, monotonously, down the sidewalk. She was so conflicted she did one of the scariest things ever and asked her Dad what he thought.
I told her the simplest piece of advice I’d ever said: “do what makes you happy.”
Yep. Cliche’d though it may be, it’s the best piece of advice I could give her. “If you love what you do, admire the work, cannot wait to dig in at the beginning of the day . . . it’s just not work. Do what you love, using the gifts only you have. That is my advice.”
It tipped her over the edge. Now she is in school and has become the youngest stage director her school ever had. But she did something even more amazing: she threw my words back in my face.
“So when are you going to do that, Dad? When are you going to finish your songs and go into the studio and record?”
How do you ignore your own advice?
As far back as I remember . . . I’ve been a musician. From the trumpet I played (badly) in high-school to learning to play guitar by ear I was a musician…and pardon the bit of ego, but I’m pretty damn good. More than a decade ago I recorded an album with my brother.
When I got married I played less. When I had kids…less still. Eventually the guitars (yes, multiple) were relegated to another room and I didn’t play. After my wife passed away, music and the guitar got me through it along with help from family and friends.
So when my daughter threw it in my face…I didn’t ignore it. “You can’t use us as an excuse, Dad, if you want to do it you will find a way.”
Recording my own songs was one of the happiest times of my life. I’m nearly there again . . . I have recorded demos for almost an entire album. This was always my dream, to play, record and share music. Where my daughter hears the narration of her life I hear rhythm and harmony everywhere. This is why.
You will be hearing some news about it soon. You’ll hopefully see and hear more as I work but the lesson is clear: dreams are yours. Nobody can take them from you. If you love what you’re doing why would you do anything else?
My daughter was right. Parenting is certainly the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done…but it’s not the only thing. That’s perfectly fine, too.
What about you? Did you or do you have a dream? Have you dropped it or do you pursue it?