Friday, August 22, 2008

What's Your Dream?

I have a friend who grew up in a musical family. Her father was a classical violinist and he wanted all his children to be musicians. They became 3 doctors, a massage therapist, and one musician (non-classical). Somewhere else, there is a family of doctors, who wish their children to become doctors, and they all become musicians. I had an accountant friend who became an accountant because his father was one. He really wanted to become a mechanic. On weekends he tinkers on cars and someday he'll retire and get to do what he really has a passion for.

What do you really, really, really want? What makes you forget time? What would you do for free just to be able to do it? DO THAT. I have a young, very gifted musician friend. She has a VOICE. She has her life ahead of her and her parents are steering her into something "practical."

I recently had a client who was in real estate but had been a musician. She has given up on a dream of creating music because she said, "I'm 50." How old will you be if you don't live your dream? How cruel would it be that we were given a desire in our hearts without pursuing it?

I've been reading A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink. Our society has been dominated by the Practicals. They slash the art and music and physical education from our schools. Some even take away recess. They live a necessary life based on facts and figures and what can be measured. Eric Jensen once said, "How about we make what's important more measurable instead of making what's measurable, important?"

But there's a shift taking place in our culture. If it can be done faster and cheaper by a computer, you've been replaced. If it can be done faster and cheaper by outsourcing to Asia, start looking for a new career. Even lawyers and accountants are feeling the sting with programs and websites that let Do-it-Yourselfers do their own taxes, write their wills, even get a divorce. What does this leave? Things that can't be done by a computer or outsourcing. In a word: creativity. The right side of the hemisphere, the neglected step-sister, is about to get her crystal slippers. In this Age of Abundance, we are seeking not just practical and functional, we are looking for beauty, feeling, connections.

I was fortunate to have a mother who encouraged my artistic pursuits. She didn't tell me to become something practical. Perhaps because that's what she did. Back in post-war England, if you were a young woman you became a secretary, teacher or nurse. But Mum, being the creative sort, managed to make a life of adventure as a nurse. She met my father in the Yukon while working with Eskimos. She was a midwife and mother. She has never let age be an excuse. She took up karate at 45. She went to body guard school at 65. Next week she leaves for Hungary to build a house for Habitat for Humanity. Then she plans her trip to Antartica.

What do you really, really, really want? If you don't know, it's your job to find out. If you do, then do it. Create a life worth living:

Your desires. Your choice. Your life.

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