20090226

The death of a dream never born


Started reading Reclaim Your Dreams by Jonathan Mead the other day wherein there are several "exercises" - you know, the kind you usually skip over for the sake of just completing the book. However, this one was different in that by not doing it, I likely gained more insight than the exercise could have offered. The exercise consisted of a single question requiring you write down your answer. The question, "What are your dreams?"

As I skipped past this silliness a small part of my brain lingered on these four words. Continuing to read without actually processing the words on the page my mind became consumed by the void that was the answer to this question. Just one year ago this would have so simple, so straight forward, so very easy at that time in my life. But when was that? That was when the quality of my life was determined by the things in it that I controlled: my cars, plasma televisions, carbon fibre bicycles, and all of it in my "better than your" house. My list would have taken a small notebook less one sheet of paper.

Now this emptiness grew so I moved quickly to fill it with some form of fodder even I did not know the origins thereof. "I dream of having no mortgage payment." "I dream of having no car payment." "In my dream the house does not need paint next year." All of it utter bullocks. These are not dreams but aspirations driven by the trappings of the life I dug myself into. Not even that, these were preferences - who would prefer not to make a car payment? Had I become so shallow, so trite that a zero balance on a credit card was a dream?

Then the superficial set in - I had to be better than this. Fantastic marriage to the love of my life - uh, got that. Inner peace and calm as I live in the moment and embrace life every day I wake - I thought that's BS and I prove it every time I leave for the office in the morning rather than stay home with my great wife and fantastic dogs in our lovely home. My charity work...never mind.

There must be a context I can put this in that will allow me to dream. Truly dream while awake and see what it is that is my purpose. So absorbed with the grind of life, the goals that typify most of us, that my dreams have been crushed under the weight of unattainable goals. Worse yet, they are not even my goals.

I still do not have a list of dreams - but they will come. What I have derived is a purpose - to live my dreams, whatever they might be, and tell the story of how I did it in hopes of inspiring others to do the same. Clearly there are already books on this topic, so the concept is not new. However, we must know that inspiration strikes in a moment, can come from anywhere, and can forever change your life. With my story in the wild, perhaps I can be that motivation that strikes in some moment and inspires. Perhaps there will be a stumbling, or a missed key stroke that will bring someone here for just the moment necessary. Of course, to fulfill my purpose I will have to keep going now won't I?

20090212

Perspective....

This morning I learned that the daughter of a friend and colleague has developed stage four stomach cancer at the age of two. While we all retain hope and wish for the best - I fear we all know the end is too soon in coming - stealing the life from this girl who has not yet even lived.

Life is too short. In all that we do, whatever that might be, we must do so without ill will or misguided intentions. Find what makes you happy and go for it without hesitation. Spend the rest of your living for you right now and not for what might or might not be tomorrow.

I take refuge in the fact that this event will inspire and drive me to do more. To do more now and to remind me that the moment we live in is all that we truly have. Tragedy happens every day. Some days it happens close to home. Tomorrow it could be even closer...

20090208

The difficulty in the wait...

As we have finalized our decision to go, now is the hardest part - waiting. Not fining a new home, not selling our current home, not packing, not learning the language - waiting. In a culture so permeated by instant gratification and sense of entitlement it is extremely challenging to do the right things, the right way, and invest the time necessary to do them. Case in point, we know full well we'll never return to the United States as citizen once we obtain foreign citizenship. So we could abandon our home, debts, and other aspects of our lives and be gone tomorrow. But that is not our style. We'd like to be able to come back to visit without fear of incarceration from time to time. So, that leaves us here....waiting. You can only pay down debt so quickly, you can only cut so many expenses from your budget, and all the while you wait.

But this presents a great opportunity to learn and grow. Time for research on where to live, how to live, and among whom to live. A time to seek out and find like minded people and learn from their experiences and insights. A time not only to learn a language but to master it. Here and now we can plan travel to our new home to see, feel and experience it - and to make sure this is where we truly want to be.

A while back, I made a promise to myself that I would never sit, watch, and wait for a computer to due something time consuming (e.g. install an OS, transfer 12 petabytes over a 56K modem). I told myself that it is during that time that I must do something, do anything but sit idle and just wait. Fill the stapler, take out the recycling, go grab a soda, use the restroom, whatever; just do not sit and stare at a status bar. Waiting to move is my new software install - I cannot sit idle - I must do...something. I must do anything but sit and wait.

There is an old saying about idle hands doing the devils work, I don't know what it is. I do know that, in this case, it seems being idle itself is the evil we must work to avoid. Now I'm off to track the package containing my new Rosetta Stone language learning software. With hope it will be here tomorrow and I will have one more thing to do while we wait.