What do you do when you lose the ability to dream? No, not the ones at night that feature you standing naked in front of a stadium full of homeless people trying to remember the words to The Star Spangled Banner. No, I’m talking about those life goals that you set for yourself when you were young that represented the vision and hope of your life. They provided the fuel that drove the engine, they gave you a target at which to aim, a guiding star on which to focus. Some of them fell by the wayside. You didn’t have the chops to become a Major League baseball player. It turned out that you hated politics too much to become President of the United States. But what happens when you realize that practically every other big dream you had…has come true?
In no particular order, here is a list of dreams I used to carry around with me when I was in college. It was folded up in my wallet and I never showed it to another human being.
# Marry a beautiful blond.
# Start my own business, be my own boss
# Buy a nice house.# Travel the world.
# Have at least two kids, a boy and a girl.
# Break 80 at golf
# Attend a game at Fenway Park.
# Write a novel.
# Earn $100,000 in one year.
Ok, that list was compiled roughly 35 years ago, so the 100K is dated. But everything on that list has been checked off. Although I don’t suppose I can say that I have “Traveled the world”, the world being a huge place and all, but I have seen an awful lot of it. Do I break 80 every time out? Hardly. But I have 6 times so that qualifies. And yes, I have written a novel, but it is unpublished and unread, and hand written on two spiral notebooks, but it does qualify as a novel in every other sense. In addition I have accomplished other things that I never put on the list, but are remarkable to me like, educating my children at two private, out of state universities.
All the smart guys I talk to about this say that the solution is simple…I need to set new goals. Ah, yes, new goals. That’s not as easy as it sounds. The problem lies in the fact that many of my goals are at cross purposes with each other. For instance, I would like to learn how to fly an airplane and eventually buy or lease one of my own. I would like to purchase a vacation home on a lake in Maine where I can live during the summer and then bequeath to my children as a legacy. I would like to spend a month in Florida every winter playing golf and attending spring training baseball games every day. All of these worthy goals require lots and lots of money. My business produces (most of the time) lots of money, so what’s the problem? Well, what do you do when you’re good at your job but that job has worn you out? It’s all you’ve done for 30 years and it has been very good to you, but you would really rather be a freelance writer. The stress associated with the financial world has had a cumulative effect on me that has taken a toll. But would the stress associated with being a working writer be any easier? Probably not.
Having stopped to read through this, it really sounds whiny. I have so much to be thankful for in the life I have. I suppose it’s time to suck it up. As my Dad used to say, “Even though the grass may look greener on the other side of the fence…it still has to be mowed!”