You’re not likely to find those two words in pretty script on some inspirational poster hanging in a CEO’s suburban office. Those two words probably won’t be immortalized in this year’s presidential inaugural address or tattooed on your favorite ball player.
You wouldn’t say those two words to your kids.
But what if you were supposed to be doing something more beautiful than you ever could have imagined, something bigger than you ever could have dreamed? What if you only had to let go of your (and your parents’, your culture’s, your religion’s, your everything’s) preconceived notion of success to make room for a life lived truer and deeper?
What if you stopped dreaming, let go, and let life dream you?
I dreamed of being a successful singer-songwriter. I dreamed of playing to sold-out arenas and talking to Springsteen on the phone about summer plans. And I went after it. So many people carry the burdens of their ‘if onlys’ and ‘somedays’ when it comes to their dreams; they end up twenty years down the road thinking that if only they hadn’t gotten married, or had the baby, or whatever, they could have gone after their dream and had the life they imagined.
I had no ‘if-only’s.’ No excuses, nothing holding me back. I went for it.
I spent over a decade of my life chasing the dream through dirty little clubs, where my feet would stick to the thin pool of beer and vodka residue on the floor. I chased the dream into cheap hotels after gigs and back into my truck the next morning, outrunning the bedbugs in the parking lot. And I chased the dream down the interstate to the next town, passing the littered remains of those who came before me who chased their own dream, caught it, and got what they wanted.
And found it wasn’t what they needed.
I know what it’s like, because somewhere out there on that road I caught my dream, too. And once I caught it, I held on fiercely, but it was like holding a fistful of sand: the tighter I closed my fingers, the emptier my hand became. My fist didn’t begin to loosen until late one afternoon in July, when I found myself broken and alone, watching my best friend die in my ...