Are You Trying To Live Your Dreams?

Marc Chagall

He told me that he forgave me for killing his god and I shook my head at him. “It is ok, I am not angry with you guys anymore” he said. It is fair to say that back then I was young, dumb and stupid. We, this other boy and I, had just sat through a one hour lecture about art at the Vatican which had prompted a relatively heated discussion about religion.

There were about fifty students or so in the class but I seemed to be the only Jewish kid in it. Or at least I was the only one who was willing to argue with the others and state unequivocally that they were wrong, misguided and foolish. A smarter instructor would have taken control of the conversation and shut it down, but ours did not. And so I found myself standing in the middle of the room- trying to calmly respond to a million comments from a million directions.

The boy who told me that I was forgiven was probably trying to be polite but I wasn’t having any of it. I looked at him and said, “When you god comes back I am going to personally see that this time he really dies.” It had the desired effect and he walked away highly insulted and we never spoke again.

The Ghosts of The Past

Old Jack is a sentimental fellow who roams where he will and walks where he might. Sometimes those forays into the darkness and the light lead me places that bring me joy and sometimes they bring me sadness. Sometimes I shake my head and wonder if I had any sense or if I was just an expert at ignoring it. I suppose that depends on which side of the fence you stand upon. Some will call me a prophet and others a fool. But the real question lies in what I call myself.

That is part of why I blog. I write these words here in an effort to gain a better understanding of who I am and what I want. I write these words so that I can leave a legacy for others. I write these words to remind my children that I don’t blog about the times we volunteer at soup kitchens or the moments we spend trying to help those who  are less fortunate because I want kudos or thanks.  I mention it so that in the years to come those who follow me remember that we have an obligation to help. I share it here, so that my kids, grand kids, great grand kids and whomever else happens to stumble upon it thinks about giving a hand up to those who have fallen.

I see patterns and possibilities all around me. There are doors that I could open and paths that I could walk down but I am hesitant. I want to carefully consider the consequences and then determine what to do- but life doesn’t work that way. I tell the kids to Trust Me and I go with my gut. Decisions have to be made because we don’t know How Many Some Days We Get and life must be lived.

What A Wicked Tale We Weave

The blog posts have become a collection of links to old posts and thoughts about them. There is a point and purpose and a rhyme and rhythm to this. Part of my journey is documented within these walls and I am trying to create connections between that which was, that which is and that which will be. I look at this quote and my soul is lifted by it: Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~ William Wordsworth. I ask Do You Live Your Dreams Or Dream Your Life for a reason. I am curious to hear your thoughts and wonder what you will share.

It is why I ask Do Things Happen For A Reason and then return to read it again. I feel hints hiding just out of reach and clues that I can use to gain clarity. Some of these things are trivial and some are important. The kids brought up the house today and asked pointed questions. They remind me that I am the bull in the china shop and while I am confident that all will work out I admit to having some bouts of consternation.

And maybe that is why I come back here in search of the perfect blog post and determined to build connections and community. I look at the stories that I have written and smile. Song Sung Blue and other Colors, Instant Messenger and Timing are good. I see material there that has legs and I see opportunity.

But more than anything else I see ample evidence that I am working hard to try and live my dreams. I am not just writing about it or wasting away hours dreaming of what could be.I am asking and I am doing. The question is not will it happen but when will it happen,

And so dear reader I want to know, are you trying to live your dreams? Do you know what makes you happy? If you are not living your dreams what are you doing about it? Share it with us in the comments.

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  1. TheJackB September 18, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    @janetcallaway Hi Janet. Your second to last paragraph sums up it up for me. I have very few regrets but those that I carry are quite large. With some effort I might be able to fix a few of those but more important than that is the effort to prevent future regrets.

    I intentionally used the word “trying” in the headline because that is what I want to see in myself and those I care about…effort. It is easier to live with failure if you have tried than to wonder what if….

    I think that it its wonderful that you have been able to follow your heart and interest. I think that is something that would make a lot of people much happier than they are today.

  2. janetcallaway September 18, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Jack, aloha. Let me begin by saying that I absolutely love this quote:

    Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~ William Wordsworth

    In my opinion, it should be the mantra of all bloggers, all writers. If not, why write?

    Yes, Jack, I can honestly say that I live my dreams and always have. For whatever reason, at a young age I knew I had to follow my own path and do what was right for me even if it was against conventional wisdom.

    Following my dreams is what brought me to Hawaii 44 years ago and is what has fueled my different endeavors. Over the years I have done many diverse things in my personal and business lives. Jack, in each instance, I did something for as long as it felt good to me, as long as it felt right. When doing it no longer brought me pleasure or satisfied me, I ceased the activity or sold the business, whichever action was appropriate.

    To me, I would much rather do than wonder what if? To live a life of regret because of actions/risks not taken, makes no sense to me.

    Thank you so much for this wonderful thought provokign post. Until later, aloha. Janet

  3. TheJackB September 18, 2011 at 10:17 am

    @torczyner I love that, it is perfect.

  4. torczyner September 18, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Someone once told me about a “We did it” Easter parade in his town, complete with a float at the end with a sign, “And if he comes back, we’ll do it again.”

  5. TheJackB September 16, 2011 at 8:38 am

    @Al Smith Hi Al. I always see this in terms of talk versus action. Action makes all the difference, at least to me it does. Did you play high school or college ball?

  6. Al Smith September 16, 2011 at 4:57 am

    Love this post, Jack. My answer is way too long. I am heading out of town. Short answer. I am trying to. Not my original dream of playing in the NFL, but my more realistic dream of now, helping others and making a real difference in peoples lives. Love your writing Bro.

    I will not swing at Bill. Don’t want to hurt my hand on that melon Head. ha !


  7. TheJackB September 15, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    @FishSticked Some of my friends have tried to make me feel better about my own challenges by providing perspective in the form of stories that demonstrate that my life could be much worse than it is.

    They are right, it could be much worse but that doesn’t change the facts that I live with. It doesn’t make the crap smell better or the bitter food taste sweeter. The bad stuff is still bad and it is my reality.

    So when you say that some things might seem insignificant to others I get it. I won’t lie and say that there haven’t been moments where I would like to be 27 again. The chunk of time between where you are now and I am is huge- I could do a lot with it.

    But time travel hasn’t been invented so I deal with what I have as you do yours.

    More importantly the most significant thing you wrote about is that you have taken steps towards living your dream. I think that is huge.

    First steps are hard- now you have to sustain your effort and work on figuring out how to make it work. Not easy, but if you maintain some momentum easier than starting from a standstill.

  8. TheJackB September 15, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    @Craig McBreen Howdy Craig.

    Be careful I can drown you in words. I update more frequently than most people do. Been so busy lately that I have had to slow down but I can feel myself gearing up again. Of course the social media experts will tell you not to do as I do.

    They say that it is bad because the good people can’t keep up. Course I say the hell with them. This blogging experience is all about the writer first and then the reader.

    Write for you and you will learn a lot or so I think.

    As for you and your happiness, if you are happy than you fall into the category of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Nothing wrong with that at all.

  9. TheJackB September 15, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    @EricCostantino Hi Eric- as I said earlier I love hearing/reading that. And now while so many people go through hard times it is even better.

    I really do believe in the value of surrounding ourselves with happy people- it yields many rewards.

  10. TheJackB September 15, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    @subWOW I like the idea of running away from home. Ask Bruce- he wrote a song about- ‘ Got a wife and kids in Baltimore Jack…” 😉

    That kid did ask for it, but I didn’t give him as much as he deserved. Still, I should have walked away. Sometimes ignoring people is a more effective way of pissing them off.

  11. TheJackB September 15, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    @bdorman264 Be careful Bill or pasmithjr might take you seriously- I hear he has a wicked right. 😉

    I am not kidding when I say that I love hearing people talk about how happy they are. I’d much prefer to surround myself with happy people than sad. Good energy rubs off just as the bad stuff does.

    I am a scrappy guy with a bad attitude that manifests itself in the same fashion as the Incredible Hulk. I keep telling people that they wouldn’t like me when I am angry. 😉 I don’t get real crazy about religion very often anymore. I haven’t changed my beliefs and have strong opinions about them.

    So I figure that if I am not going to change there is no reason to expect anyone else to. I leave the missionary work to other people.

    Here is to being fat, dumb and happy- it is a good place to be.

  12. FishSticked September 15, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    What a complicated question to answer in a comment . . . but you asked, so I will try. Am I living my dreams? Yes and no. In some aspects yes and in others no. I have a family that I adore and they return that adoration. I’m months away from completing my undergrad (a process that only too NINE YEARS thanks to time off and part time status) and I have a great, solid relationship with both of my siblings and both of my parents. But at the same time I hate my job. I hate the thought of wasting 40 hours a week doing something I dislike. I’m 27 years old with a family and I’m still renting rather than owning, I’m facing almost $40k dollars in remaining student loans, and I have nothing in savings to make me feel like I’ve got anything to fall back on. And I’m not complaining here, I’m just laying it out as it comes to me. Some of these things (both good and bad) may seem completely insigificant to you or anyone else, but this is my reality as I try and filter through dreams.

    Now, am I trying? Hell yes, and I think I’ll always be trying. I think everyone always should be trying because there should always be a dream. For me, and I believe it is for you as well, it’s writing. MY dream is to write. I love it, I feel good doing it, and it comes natural to me. That’s why I blog, that was the first big step I took toward my dream. Since then I’ve taken others in the form of side projects, various ideas that I’ve done nothing more than write down (a big step for me), and my successful completion of a novella last fall for NaNoWriMo.

    But in the end I can honestly take your stance by saying that I am “working hard to try and live my dreams.” I realized this summer that I’d rather be able to look back at the failures I experienced while trying to achieve those dreams than the failures I experienced as a result of never trying to live those dreams.

  13. Craig McBreen September 15, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Jack, Hey man, I like the old Jack and the young Jack just fine!

    I feel like I’m getting acquainted with you through all of your writing, but there is just so much here to read. We all have those memories of joy and sadness of course, but your writing about them here is a big deal. I think I’ll learn a bit more about myself as I go on this journey too. Maybe living the dream, whatever that is, will come. I don’t know and I haven’t figured out what “the big dream” is because I’m told life is supposed to be bigger, grander. I’m really very happy with things that I have, … well family that is. Take care, Jack.

  14. EricCostantino September 15, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    I am living the dream. Trying to help other people, raise a solid family, have a damned fun time while I’m at it. Sometimes we have to remember how lucky we are to even have the opportunity to live the dream. Nice post Jack!

  15. subWOW September 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I cannot answer your question honestly without thinking about running away from Hom, starting all over again. So I will refrain. Since I have kids…

    I just want to comment on your youthful comeback. That kid totally asked for it.

  16. bdorman264 September 15, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    I am livin’ the dream and I’m not being facetious when I say it is good to be me. Somehow, someway, this knucklehead had some success in his life and has been able to stay married for 28+ years and raise two sons into adulthood who weren’t 1/10th the problem I was as a child. If I complain about anything, somebody should just knock me in the head.

    Good for you for taking a stand with your religion. I grew up (and still am) a Christian. Of course, we have been taught ours is the only religion and everyone else is going to hell unless they accept Jesus Christ as their savior. I’ve done my own readings on how ‘organized’ religions started and which ones made it and which ones didn’t and the same for which Bible made it. The one thing I do know for certain, this was all written by man and whatever the prevailing thought for the day was based on stories that happened 100 yrs or more prior to anything making it in print. If from all that you can discern what the ‘best’ religion is, good luck. Many a life has been lost in the name of religion however and to me, that is unacceptable.

    Ok, off the soapbox; if I’m dreaming, don’t wake me. I’m ok w/ being fat, dumb and happy and not knowing any better.

    That’s my story at your place today.

  17. TheJackB September 15, 2011 at 11:39 am

    @BruceSallan Bruce, Tikkun Olam is a big part of my life and something the kids head about. It is one of the things that I like about their school, every year they have a big TO project.

    I have written about living dreams and not dreaming life quite a bit but today I made a point to include “trying” in the headline because that is important to me. The time and the effort are crucial.

    Glad to see you here again.

  18. TheJackB September 15, 2011 at 11:36 am

    @Lori I love hearing about people living their dreams. I think that is great. Will head over to your blog shortly.

  19. TheJackB September 15, 2011 at 11:00 am

    @BetsyKCross Betsy I say better late than never. Some people never manage to make it happen. That is a nightmare that I don’t want to have to face. Better to try and fail than not try at all.

  20. BruceSallan September 15, 2011 at 6:01 am

    JB – “Living Your Dreams” is a big subject. I would suggest that living them best involves giving back to the world or Tikkun Olam, which means “Repairing the World.” I’ve lived many of my dreams, but the fulfillment and satisfaction I’m currently experiencing is more about the good I can do vs. the fun I can have. I think that is a very important distinction. As always, I enjoy your views, your writing, and YOU!

  21. Lori September 15, 2011 at 5:08 am

    LOL Jack! We’re on the same wavelength for sure! Read MY post for today! I couldn’t have said “Yes” to your question fifteen months ago but I can now – so here: YES! I’m living my dream!



  22. BetsyKCross September 15, 2011 at 3:08 am

    I would say that my dreams are living me! I really do feel lucky that I know what I love and what loves me back. Took long enough!

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