Of my many passions in life, very few come close to or surpass the love I have for music. The three exceptions are my wife, my family, and (when I’m doing well) God. Music can move me as I listen to it, play it, or event attempt creating it. It’s a meaningful medium in my life that helps me to express how I feel.
I had my first lesson on an old ivory keyed piano that my mother got when we lived in the south. It is a beautiful upright piano with beautiful wood work, great tone (when it’s tuned) and my mother is a good pianist to boot. I remember asking her when I was roughly 7 years old to teach me to play and my sojourn into the world of music began.
As I grew up, I found that I wasn’t the best pianist and moved on to try out several different instruments. At my peak, I could comfortably pick up drums, piano, bass, guitar, mandolin, banjo, violin, ukulele, and really anything else with strings. I had and have a knack for picking up an instrument and intuitively understanding how to produce melodies. Through all these instruments I could entertain my self and a few friends, but I never truly mastered any of them.
Not too long after I moved out on my own, I learned that life is expensive and not having a job could be even more expensive. My employer ran out of funds and I refused to continue working for free so I went out of work. For the next several months, I tried getting work in different jobs and struggled to get past interviews. As time went on, I sold my collection of instruments one by one until they were all gone and my musical empire was ruined.
For a long time after losing all those instruments, I felt in many ways that I was cheated out of a dream. I felt like I deserved to have my collection of instruments and that I deserved to be a great musician. After all, my variety of instrumental knowledge allowed me to impress many of my musical friends. I was a music man who could write his own music and yet I had nothing.
In response to this inner yearning, I set out to rebuild my musical collection, acquiring different bits and pieces as I could pay for them and before too long I had acquired most of what I had. When I returned home with each piece, it was like I had a mental list of things to acquire and each purchase led me closer to feeling like I was arriving to the point where I had been. I thought I was getting happier, but I was quite wrong.
As I got my instruments collected back again, I quickly realized that the dream of being a master musician had taken a back seat to other important aspects of my life. I had gotten married, had a child, and begun a strong career. I had more responsibilities that were claiming my time and money than I had once before. My life had changed but my mentality stayed the same and I began to go through several unsettling emotions.
It’s not fun to look at a dream you had and realize it was no longer the path you had. Sometimes dreams are taken away because of things we control, and other times they are taken away because of things outside of our control. In my case, I believe both situations applied to my loss of a dream. I made decisions and life gave me a few lemons which lead to eating a sour lemon or two.
While I reflected on this, I took out of a piece of paper and began drawing with no real end in mind. I’m no artist by any stretch, but sometimes I do enjoy drawing nature scenes or architecture. As I continued to draw, I let my feelings influence direction and the results were quite pleasing.
Through time, the artwork began to develop and it turned into a scene with a path that lead to three kingdoms. Each kingdom was beautiful in it’s own right with strong walls and a proper strategic placement to be a strong point for years to come. Each of the kingdoms, in my internal dialogue, represented a different life style and mentality that were equally acceptable. There was nothing right or wrong about going to any of these kingdoms for they were generally good.
As I drew the drawing, I realized that many of my dreams could have taken me down completely different paths. I grew up being told I could do anything and be anything, and I generally still feel like that could be true. I then further realized, that we all make decisions that lead us down a path and that these choices will inevitably bring us to our own kingdom somewhere along the way.
In light of this personal discovery, I realized that there’s no sense in being down for missing one dream while achieving another. I am not a lesser person simply because I didn’t turn out a master musician. After all, I now have a beautiful wife, a daughter, a career, and I can still enjoy picking up my 12 string from time to time. My current destination might not fit into one dream, but my life is still apart of a dream I wanted to have.
On the other side of this internal discovery, I have come to peace with the way my dream has turned out. I spend less time moping about what might have been, and learn to enjoy the things that are. As I lay the dream of being a musician to rest, I can pluck the strings of my guitar with my daughter and share the love of vinyl with my wife. The dream has passed, but my life has not and I wont complain about where I have arrived.