“I’m just not happy because my life didn’t turn out the way I thought it would.”
Hey, join the fucking club… I thought I’d be the starting center fielder for the Boston Red Sox. Life sucks; get a fucking helmet.
Denis Leary, “No Cure For Cancer”
Dreams are a dangerous thing.
The longer I cling to this blue ball of liquid and people, the more I start to realize that life doesn’t ever unfold according to your dreams. I thought I’d be opening for Billy Joel or Elton John by the time I was 25, or at the very least on tour with a major label act. And those were just the normal dreams. Never mind the talking space-birds in a reality I cultivated from age 16 onward. I remember dreaming about the future a lot more than I actually prepared for it.
I choose to believe that the sky’s always the limit, but as I look back I’ve come to realize that the dreams that set my life’s trajectory were as imperfect as my ability to follow them. And that’s okay.
I’ve been realizing lately how much I judge my current status based on the expectations of a teenager. Many of my friends, once they hit their mid-twenties, began to feel the same way. They never became that marine biologist or hit video game designer, and they judge themselves poorly because of that. It’s like we hold ourselves up next to the fictions we created as kids and scowl like disappointed parents at what we’ve become.
I never believed in fate,
but I believe in a plan
and plans change,
so you’d better be ready to
roll with the punches that come.
Matthew Ebel, Bright Northern Lights
Life is art, not science. While the impressively-brained hordes at NASA can meticulously plan every second of every launch into the great unknown, even they miss once in a while. Reaching for the sky is more about adapting to the conditions in front of you rather than hitting a target you can see from the ground.
Shit, even when we first landed on the moon, we missed the landing zone by miles… but two guys in control of the Eagle still landed on the moon. We don’t talk about their failure to hit the target, we talk about their first steps on our neighboring orbiter. All they had to do was let go of the original plan and shoot for the bigger picture.
Lately I’ve been working on my first song to release on Patreon, something about letting go of the expectations I had when I was younger. It’s not about settling for mediocrity or giving up on a dream, more about the fact that those dreams can act like dead weight as you climb higher.
I’m happy with who I’ve become, even if it isn’t the major-label rock star I fantasized about as a kid. It’s 2015… can you imagine how shitty it would be if I’d ended up in some onerous label contract? Fuck that noise. I’ve got new dreams that are charting my way forward. (I’m keeping the ones about the talking bird people, though… those I’m never getting rid of.)
If you want to hear this new song, I’ll be releasing it to my Officers Club later today. Go sign up and support the revolution, you’ll get the song once it’s uploaded.
And don’t be afraid to dream about something new. You’re not the same person you were when you were 16, why should your dreams be the same? The sky is always the limit.