[Note: Before we commence our regularly scheduled program, let’s have a quick status update. I wrote 220 words for Story Blue tonight after putting the boys down to bed. Wrote 100 words today? Check.]
I had occasion to revisit some “Glory Days” type memories last weekend. I went to check out half of a former band in their new project. (Check them out.) Back in the day, two of these guys- Bryan, the singer, and Todd, the drummer- were bandmates in the appropriate-for-the-90’s-titled “Humble Ego”. I played bass in a most excellent fashion. 🙂
I was the last member to join the group. Todd and Bryan had known each other for years- likewise for Bryan and Brian, the guitar player. (Here’s his music. Enjoy!) My joining the band seemed to be the fulfillment of some unholy prophecy- Bryan and Brian, Todd and Todd. Bizarre.
So I found myself last Friday night in a little hole in the wall place in Auburn, NY, listening to some old bandmates rock out. I never shared exactly the same musical tastes but dug the fact that they were still playing. It got me thinking about my own journey and how I’m pursuing what’s important to me.
Tomorrow morning I turn 41. (Shameless pandering- I know!) My priorities at 20/21 (when I was playing with Humble Ego) have obviously changed. No great revelation there. Thank God we keep learning and growing after 21! Somehow the feeling of pursuing my dream of writing tastes sweeter than my first gig at the Lost Horizon as a 20 year old. (I can’t explain this reference if you didn’t grow up in Syracuse in the 80’s/90’s. Playing at the Lost was a big deal.)
I’m not knocking youth. This is not a sour grapes story. This is appreciation of my ability to pursue that which fulfills me. If you’re 20 and reading this- well, I’d ask how you got here. No offense- I’m happy to share. This is probably directed more to us slightly farther along in the great journey of life.
Watching Bryan and Todd with their band on stage, I was filled with optimism and motivation. I’d run into Bryan at events over the last few years but haven’t seen Todd in at least 15 years- maybe more. Looking at them I thought, “Man, we’re old!” And yet, here they were performing, rocking out- truly- and loving it. I sat there thinking about the writing I’ve been doing and started playing with the idea that turned into this post.
It’s an old adage that correlates the work or struggle to achieve something and the amount of satisfaction that it brings. That was the feeling that I took away from watching the guys play- as middle aged guys, it gets that much harder to pursue those dreams that do not belong to the youth, but are instead cultivated in the optimism of youth. At the same time, the satisfaction that the pursuit itself brings is that much greater. Let me rephrase that for emphasis:
The dreams and aspirations that live deep inside us are cultivated in the optimism of our youth. However, those aspirations do not belong to our youthful days. They are ours for the entirety of all our days. Every challenge that we face in pursuing them as we get older makes the effort that much more satisfying.
So if you’ve got something to which you aspire, I tell you that it is never too late to pursue it. (Okay, my bum knee and shoulder probably put an MMA debut off-limits.) Yes- you have a day job. You’re married or in a relationship with someone that deserves your focus. You have children that look up to you for an endless list of responsibilities. You go to school at night. You have to make the mortgage payment. You care for elderly parents.
All of those responsibilities- you have to meet them. (There’s no magic- we’re grown ups here!) But the two sets of motivations- all of the things that you have to do can co-exist with the things that you want to do. Find that little voice inside you that says, “It’s too late- you can’t follow your dreams now!” Find it, then kill it. With fire. It doesn’t know what it’s talking about!
Hey- we’re getting the band back together! (Honey- this is just my metaphor. No band- writing’s my thing!)