Did you ever wonder if you just spent your entire life living your back up plan? Here you are, however old you might be or however young you might think you are at a good time in life to think about serendipitous and sentimental stuff.
If you did get stuck doing what was expected of you, or sacrificed your dreams to help other people with theirs', then you know what I am talking about.
Somewhere in the attic of your upstairs playground your dreams patiently wait. Way back in the cobwebs of your mind can be found the innocence of youth, your first dreams of what you wanted to do with your life. Then you had to go out and face life.
Over the years I have explored those attics in a whole lot of people's minds and most people seem to be living the back up plan - not their own true dreams.
That's okay. It was what you thought was the best decision for you at the time. As time went by you found yourself giving up more and more of your first dreams for others.
To me the result is you eventually are spending most of your time living the back up plan. Now in spite of this rather negative perspective on my part I am a card carrying member of the eternal optimists "hall of fame".
I figure if we are as young as I think I am, there is still time to get those first dreams out of the attic and live them. If we do we can feel a sense of fulfillment that might otherwise have never been felt in your life.
Most likely the biggest dreams you gave up were being a star or hero. Instead you chose to lead a life of ambiguity and obscurity.
Come on, admit it, there was a time you wanted to be recognized, for doing something really heroic.
I wanted to do a lot of heroic things. First I was going to be a famous writer influencing people like Mark Twain who actually grew up about 80 miles from where I lived. Close enough for me to immerse myself during numerous visits to his home, cave and Mighty Mississippi River in Hannibal, Missouri.
Then I was going to be the next Sherlock Holmes dazzling Scotland Yard with my deductive reasoning while solving the most dastardly of cases.
Next I was going to be a star of the New York Yankees with my statue in Yankees Monument Park next to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra and the gang.
After winning a few state baseball championships that was replaced by being the next Buddy Holly, a new icon in rock 'n roll music, and sharing my stories with people through music. Maybe one like Aristotle or Plato, whose influence is still being felt this day, 2,500 years since they taught in Greece.
There was a point when I changed course completely and decided on life as a dedicated Monk, a teacher and scholar who discovers amazing new insights from Divine Providence.
Then came my materialism era when I thought I was a prodigy of the powerful House of Rothschild in England and just about every where else. I dismissed the fact I was living in a small town in Iowa and figured there was a mistake at birth, I was sent to the wrong place and the wrong parents.
This influenced my next dream or obsession of attending Yale in the Ivy League, a place I just knew I belonged, but after visiting Yale and meeting the kids and feeling the pressure they lived under I opted for the University of Arizona in Tucson.
There were a lot of other dreams as well but you get the idea. In time, I came to the conclusion that I just wanted to do a lot of things, experience a lot of life, and help people along the way.
Years later I realized I blew it. Once upon a time in high school I did have a really good rock 'n roll band that had a lot of future promise. But I gave up my Buddy Holly dream for another dream at the time.
Now that I am older and wiser, take that with a grain of salt, I intend to finish what I started so long ago. I've written many songs, recorded rough cuts of them, went to Nashville and recorded really good versions of some, and realized I could have been doing that all my life.
Back in high school one of the reasons I gave up the Buddy Holly dream was I did not want to play cover songs, songs other artists released, but wanted to do my own stuff. My own stories were just as poignant as anything other people were recording. Then I took stock in my life and decided I must be crazy, I haven't lived long enough to have many interesting stories to tell. I decided to collect the material for the songs before I worried about the career in music. Been doing that ever since.
My point is this. It is never too late to go back and pursue your first dreams. The biggest regret people have shared with me was never being able to do what they really wanted to do in life. They feared going to their grave wondering what might have been.
So don't, especially if your dreams might have helped people. Do the things you always wanted to do with no guilt about giving it a try. You may very well find that you were given gifts that you never shared but by now sharing you can help other people with their lives.
There is no higher purpose than helping others. But sometimes you must help yourself before you can help others. Take a chance. Have a little faith and self-confidence and the world may still be waiting for you. You really can get through life without wondering might have been.
If you do, I hope you will write and share the experiences with me so I can share them with others. Never forget that we are all in this together.