Do you see yourself living in a certain style, and work to make that happen, or do you live your life within the place you find yourself? Do you see yourself with the hot car, the hot spouse and the big house, and do whatever you can in order to make that happen? Does it ever really happen? Once you reach one goal, isn’t there another on the horizon that drives you?
When I was young, I had dreams, those dreams that some would call goals. They never really materialized. I worked toward them, but one or another bit of reality would bend and twist the real possibilities away from the ideal. I wanted to be a musician. Once I entered music at a university level and was required to perform solo I became away of my performance anxiety. My dream of becoming a musician faded.
But I had my dream, my goal. I elected to take a related track. As an experienced musician with loads of electronic skills, my dream shifted to becoming an audio engineer. It seemed like the perfect fit. I changed majors from music to media arts, and college level academics became a breeze. I floated through my major seemingly without effort, acing it down the line. That landed me a job doing, by title, exactly what my goal had been. I became an audio-producer and engineer for the university itself.
On one hand the job was small scale stuff, miles from my dream, creating little instructional slide-tape shows or tv programs for secluded audiences, with no cheering crowds or adulation. That said, it was not all tiny stuff. Had it not been for me, worldwide news organizations would not have heard President Regan or Pope John Paul speak at the university. College football fans would not have been able to sit around their televisions the day after a game and hear the coach’s take on the previous day’s events. I hob-knobbed with big wig professionals behind the scenes. There are records and playbills with my name on them. But it wasn’t the big Hollywood that my dreams were made of.
During those years I learned a few things, one being that old adage, ‘It isn’t what you know, but who you know.’ To get those big dreams, you have to sell yourself. Selling is something I do not enjoy. There is always a bit of truth bending in a sales pitch. I learned that it did not matter that your record was exemplary. What mattered was whether or not you played golf with the right folk. I hate golf. I learned that integrity is not considered a corporate asset. Do the job you are given, even if you can prove it is illegal, at least if you want to move up. I learned that the big dream isn’t all it is cracked up to be. I learned that chasing idealized dreams are like a dog chasing its tail. He will never catch it, and he will twist himself in knots trying.
I do not have a certain lifestyle in mind, at least in terms of the cars and houses. I no longer push myself toward some arbitrary goal. I live where I find myself. I adjust my house, my transportation, my lifestyle to the income that I get. If I have a lifestyle goal, it is to be at peace. To take the day as it comes. That may mean making a change if something is rubbing me too raw. But I do not chafe that my dreams are not being met and attempt to beat the world to make them happen. Instead, I accept what I have and find ways to be comfortable with that.
How do you live?