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Our Story Begins: The Life You Expect Or The Life You Lead?

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Our Story Begins:
The Life You Expect Or The Life You Lead?

 

A friend of mine told me a piece of advice, something their own mentor had told them.

“Life your life, chase your dreams and do what you can to live. Work your job, for sure, but in an effort to bolster your life.”

Related: Our Story Begins: Where Did You Come From?

So that’s a long line, compared to what most people give as advice, which is fortune-cookie-sized statements. But break that down and you have what could easily be “live each day like there’s no tomorrow.” Yet this is far more grounded. It tells you “yeah, you have to have a day job and pay the bills…but use that job and that money to the end goal of doing what you love, what you dream, what you want to remember as your best moments.”

That statement is also far broad enough that you could apply it to any number of things.

If you love to travel, you work and save up as much money as you possibly can to be able to see new places, experience new things and get away from your current world. I know tons of people who do that.

If you love to run, do marathons, iron man competitions . . . that money takes you to those events. If you love to climb you attempt Kilimanjaro or Everest or start with Half-Dome and make your way toward El Capitan.

For me that statement is the epitome of the lessons I took from the life-changing event of losing my wife more than four years ago. Even before then we were struggling. We struggled to make ends meet. We struggled to stay healthy. We struggled to enjoy what we were doing and living.

Since my wife passed away I took a far different view of things. We go out and do more adventurous things. We’ve been to see giant trees. We drove my oldest to college and stopped to feed birds in a sanctuary. And we have seen family.

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We spent a week in the Black Hills, away from stress and had the amazing forces of nature around us. At night you could see the arm of the Milky Way and satellites passing overhead and hear owls hooting in the night.

Those are the travelling goals.

I have something more ambitious on the horizon.

I love my job. I am a journalist, I effect positive change where it needs to be, I hold people accountable for what they are supposed to be doing and I write, am creative and get to do amazing things. It might very well be enough for most people.

Related: What Matters Most: I Do Not Have Time for a Personal Meltdown!

But I’m also using my time there to bolster what I love, what I live for and what I plan for the next year. Music helped me heal over the last four years. It has been vital and important and it’s part of all of our lives. After losing my wife we realized it always has been. To survive, my therapy was playing the guitar. Sometimes I beat my anger on the six strings and watched as the bright green Fender Stratocaster could take no more and strings would snap and curl. Sometimes I’d be gentle and quiet and remember amazing and loving moments.

All those emotions channeled into music which I wrote and eventually I realized I’d amassed enough material that it could be a full album. After that piece of advice at the beginning of this all I realized something very important: nothing was stopping me from recording that material but time and money. You can work to save and make money. You simply need to make the time. I’ve decided it’s time to do both.

Imagine that: a single Dad. A widower. Parenting four kids alone, cooking dinners, doing laundry, checking homework, taxiing to lessons and events…and rock and roller. I’m 45, yes, and some have said “why would you do that?” Why?! Because music is important, it speaks, it’s emotional . . . and it’s mine. Stevie Ray Vaughan was 35 when he became a “breakout artist” in the late 1980’s. I’m only 10 years older . . . but more importantly . . . it’s not about the fame. It’s about doing it. I’ve decided . . . it’s time.

It’s about living your life and working each day to bolster that goal.

So what are you going to do to live your life?

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