Life is all about choices and then living with those choices. I am a dreamer, a person who is given to extended flights of fancy, a cloudwalker, a man who often stands with one foot planted on the ground and the other stepping out to chase the moon.
I have tried hard to live my dreams, to follow the road not taken and to see where it leads. It hasn’t always been easy for me. Change is something that frightens me, yet thrills me. I have a wild wanderlust, a desire to get in the car and just drive.
Every time I hear Springsteen sing the beginning of Hungry Heart I get this feeling that he is talking to me:
“Got a wife and kids in baltimore jack
I went out for a ride and I never went back
Like a river that donâ€™t know where itâ€™s flowing
I took a wrong turn and I just kept going”
Now, I would never just leave, I could not do that and I would not. But it is a lie to say that I haven’t thought about just getting in the car and driving until I run out of gas. I wonder where the road would lead. I could end up in Vegas, Phoenix, San Francisco or Dallas, who knows.
It is a conversation I have had with many of my friends. Most of us have been married for between seven to 15 years and almost all of us have young children. This is not to say that we run around feeling unfulfilled, but it is a busy hectic life, punctuated with few moments for us and our spouses and many for our children.
There is so much joy and pleasure in watching my children enjoy themselves, but sometimes you need time to focus on yourself and I certainly am someone who requires a fair amount of personal time and space.
This weekend a good friend and I discussed life and where it has taken us, whether we were happy where we are, could we be happier and if so what would it take. What costs are involved in trying to improve our lives and what risks are we willing to take to get there.
Earlier I wrote about trying to live my dreams and not just fantasize about them. To some extent I think that I have had some success in doing that. But there are still a few that have eluded me.
I have never gotten over the Summer of ’85. It is almost 20 years now since I first went to Israel. The first Intifada had not yet begun, Oslo was just a place in Norway, the Rockies were a mountain range, the Marlins were just fish and I was a 16 year-old boy who fell in love with a woman, a city, a country and a dream that I still have trouble vocalizing.
That summer I vowed to make the move to Jerusalem and find out if it was a place to live or visit. I tried to get there a number of times. My freshman year of college I was admitted to Hebrew U but did not have the money to make it happen. Fell in love my sophomore year and decided to skip the junior year abroad. Made basic arrangements for a job and a place to stay in 1995 and ended up getting engaged before I could make the move.
A couple of twists here and there and I could have been writing from 10,000 miles away, who knows.
Then again, I was supposed to be in Manhattan the week of September 11, 2001. If the economy hadn’t tanked before that I might have been there. Would I have been in the WTC? Probably not, but maybe, I did have a couple of clients in each tower.
I have a number of other could have, should have, would have stories. They make nice tales and they have their time and place, but I don’t want to become the man that lives in what could have been, but what could be.
I can be “what could be” because that man is working towards the future and even if he doesn’t live out all of his dreams he is a participant in life and life is meant to be lived.