I still imagine shredding at my middle school talent show. I currently neither shred, nor do I attend middle school. But when I was about eight through fourteen, I would listen to songs and imagine me covering them at the middle school show and showing people how cool I was. I’m not proud of this fantasy still coming into my head a few times a week, but it does.
That said, I won’t let that dream inform my current goals. If I made that my goal today, I would be one of the biggest weirdos ever to go to a middle school, and that is really saying something. When I think of my dream now, I almost act as an anonymous performer. That is why I currently use a pseudonym, that is why I don’t perform often, and that is why I don’t sing.
This may not be the case for all singers, but when I see someone belting as loud as they can at inappropriate venues, making awkward small talk about how they are faux-embarrassed to be performing, or worst of all, singing at a small local club while acting as if they are too cool for that spot, not only do I feel a cringe that embarrasses me, but I don’t want to listen to the music anymore.
All this said, that may be why my current dream is to play in the background at various coffeeshops. I don’t want a sign with my name on it. I don’t want to sell T shirts. I don’t want people to come and seek me out, I just want to be in the shop playing in front of complete strangers. That is a far cry from winning any kind of talent show, but I feel like it’s the dream I see in the future for myself.
What are dreams from your past that inform your current dreams? If I kept holding that dream so much, I would probably be the karaoke bar belter, or the guy wearing sunglasses in a dive bar. I abandoned my former desires in an attempt to make my current desire happen.
But if you are trying to create while also remaining positive and enjoying the journey, it might be time to ask yourself “What do I want to do now?”
I recently let go of an ES-339 Pro that I had wanted since I was about 10. I thought the F holes were unique, my favorite rock bands used them (Wolfmother and Silversun Pickups) and I wanted to be just like them and make songs like them. But, after trying for a long while, I realized that their songs are not the songs that I have in my heart. I felt a determined focus on playing the songs that came from my soul, not from my brain.
I began experimenting and I eventually turned my setup from a wannabe Rockstar into that of a casual ambient performer. I wanted for my songs to be the soundtrack of the focused student, the insomniac, and the diligent worker, and the songs in my heart matched.
When you align your goals with your values, you feel free. When the voice in your head and voice in your heart say the same thing, your mission becomes clear. You have some control over the words in your head and I’m sure you are very good at listening to it, but maybe it’s time to check in with your soul and ask it who you are.
It may sound like giving up on your dream, but maybe it will be exactly the change your heart needed.
Jim Carrey once said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of, so they can see that it’s not the answer.” And I feel like your soul can tell you long before you become rich and famous.
I’m not telling you to give up on your dreams, I just want you to question if they are your dreams, or the dreams of the lonely eight-year-old from your past.