Most of us have that one thing. That one thing that they want out of life more than anything else in the world. For some of us we want to travel. For others they want love. For other still it’s money, or maybe fame, or just to be surrounded by awesome people. For all of us it’s different but there’s something we want more than anything. As we age that can change, not wholly but it evolves as we do. That love you wanted evolves, that travel evolves, even your notion of fame and fortune evolves.
It evolves because the more of the world we start to see, and the more of ourselves that is revealed to us the more we realize that we may not be so attached to the things we think we want and what we want may itself change. It doesn’t always, but it can. What most people learn though is that their need for that thing changes because we see more of what life’s about. You don’t want ANY love, you want meaningful love. You don’t ANY fame, you want lasting fame. You don’t want ANY travel, you want impactful travel. The more of ourselves we see the more we realize that it isn’t enough to just have something – it has to mean something to you.
That’s our one thing.
We have lots of ‘things’ in our life, if I may so crass as to lump, love, money, cars, friends, and all of that into the category of Things, but as we age we want things that give our lives meaning. If we’re lucky then the thing we want the most may positively impact others and create a sort of legacy for us. (We’ll leave out those among us who are just wildfires looking for kindling).
And here’s my cautionary tale.
There are things in our lives we won’t and cannot attain. The model we wanna date, the rock star we wanna become, the fortune we want, the things that can be so much like lightning that there really isn’t one path to it or a wide path to stay upon to keep it. It’s ephemeral so while some may find those things, they are hardly the things we should pin our lives upon. But that doesn’t mean that if we want them bad enough we shouldn’t work for these things or go for them. That’s part of the process of learning who we are and what we really want.
But some things we’ll never have.
Such is life.
Some things though we can have, if we are willing to dream for them, work for them, and accept that our dreams can change and that’s OK. We have to accept that while we may not become that rock star we dreamed about we can record a record, release it, find gigs to play, and slowly get it into the hands of people who will appreciate and maybe love that music we made. We still lived our dream. We still found a way to live out our one thing. And it isn’t like that’s the top of the ladder but you have to find a way to get there before you can see what comes next. If nothing else you will be different, in ways you can’t understand in just a moment. Life will have changed. What comes next is up to you.
But for too many of us we let those dreams wither on the vine.
We won’t allow them to evolve or change.
We won’t allow for our lives to change.
We force ourselves to live within boxes and our fear of failing becomes paired with our fear of success and we choose the third option – doing nothing at all. Better to have the dream than to lose it, right?
I have two short stories and leave it at that and leave you to make of them what you will.
I had a friend. We were not close but we knew each other for a while. We ran in the same circle off and on and we were always cordial and while troubled, he had a good heart. He was a writer. Mostly a poet but he wrote some prose. In point of fact he had written an epic novel that he worked on for over a decade. It was about the hippie lifestyle and it was something he took great pride in. Over the years we would talk about the book and I kept pushing him to do something about it. Once self-publishing became a thing he needed to get it out. I won’t take credit but he turned to a mutual friend to edit the book so he could start making it something more than a thing he loved. Sadly he died before he could see the book fully edited. He died young and suddenly and with no plan in place about what to do with his works. I had the idea that we, his friends, should take the book as it was, format it for print, and get a copy released for his family and then give them the files and log-in info in case they wanted to release it or whatever. It was theirs. I was told that others friends had it under control and that it would be handled. It never was. Never. So this guy had worked for a decade and more on this book and wanted to see it released but didn’t live long enough to do that. He did some awesome stuff, lived a life, had a child, but that was one thing that never happened and it looks like it may never happen. And it’s awful. He had sat on the book for years, and by the time he decided he was ready it was too late.
I had another friend who I was much closer with. A great person who loved community and loved being creative. From films to videos to books and events he loved to do it all. I was putting together an event celebrating DIY and Self Published books and this friend wanted to take part. He was having some very serious health issues that had slowed him down for the year but his intention was to finish a memoir and a fiction book for the event. He never got that chance. He too was taken by a sudden illness and died before these books came to fruition. Thankfully most of his work that he wanted to see come together, did. He left much undone, a passion project film top among those, and the books, but he did get to see some of his passions come to completion. Had he waited, had he pushed things off and off and off he’d have died with lots of projects and no completions.
I leave you with those.
Make of those stories what you will.
Both are true.
Both haunt me, each for their own reason.
We have one life that we are given and if we don’t take a few chances, at least on the things we’re most passionate about, we’ll leave this world with a whole trunk of regrets.
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