Sunday 13 October, 2013 by Uncle Spike
This is a brief departure from my usual collection of short stories from life, I’ll admit. But it does reveal one of my core fundamental philosophies of life, the ability and importance of dreams; and doing our level best to make a few of them happen in life.
We are all, to a lesser or greater degree, bound by ties of family, employment, circumstance, and health, but how many times do you hear the words “Oh they are so lucky, I wish I could change my life”. Now whether it is a physical change of locale that is sought, a change of career, a relationship to be started, or even one to be ended… the ability to dream is within us all, or is it? Now I am no expert, I don’t have all the answers, but for me, my driving force in life is simple, to do whatever one needs to do to be happy, fulfilled and, well, to put it in a nutshell, ‘feel alive’.
Before you say how limiting it must be to be so self-centred or selfish, let me explain my take on this. It’s all about choices. I have made some fundamental choices in life, ones that have changed some of the core attributes of the very being that I am. I have changed jobs, many times, taken on new careers that are so diverse it is almost laughable. I have changed religion, or rather, I have allowed myself to be free to feel, embrace and practise what suits me. I have given up more vices than a person has the right to even try, and survived. I have moved continents; to where I believe is right for me. I have loved, seen death up close, lost some of those closest to me, and found true love more than once. Am I selfish? I would like to think not. I have dedicated much of my life to others, my family, those I have loved, and those less fortunate. This is not to say I am a saint, far from it, but I fundamentally believe that it was still my choice to do all of these things, my choice to take the back seat when others needed, deserved or were simply more fitted to being in the driving seat. But by doing that ‘by choice’ made me feel complete, supportive, helping to give back; it’s all part and parcel of living as part of the human race.
I have made many many errors, mistakes, major screw-up’s over the years, believe me, some are whoppers I can assure you, but again, this is just something that is part of who I am, it’s my history, where I have come from. To me, it all stems from one thing, my dreams, and my passion to follow those dreams. If you want to change your life, you can… all right, as much as circumstance can hold us back, make things harder to accomplish, we all can make changes to follow a few of our dreams, if not all. I’m a realist too; of course, I’m never going to be an astronaut now, or live the life of young Buddhist monk, win a grand prix, or become a famous tiger trainer. Sometimes life and circumstance does have more than its fair share of influence in what we are capable of, and I’m talking about the everyday limitations we all face; health, wealth, age, strength etc. But I can still dream.
This postcard (click image to enlarge) has been with me for decades. It is a bit old and battered now, having survived a period of prolonged backpacking in the 80’s, numerous changes in jobs, relationships and houses since then, and was in fact, one of the few trinkets or personal effects that formed part of my 20kg allowance that stayed with me when I emigrated after being widowed at 39. It is simple, succinct, but has always encapsulated something that I hold dear to me, the ability to dream.
Is it easy to follow your dreams? Hell no, it can be very demanding, often distressing and certainly loaded with upheaval, both on a personal and a material level. Sometimes it requires great personal sacrifice, certainly financial and plenty of time too, often it can entail the giving up of worldly goods and possessions, and in my experience, a loss of acquaintanceship; real friends of course, those you can count on 1 hand, will always stay just that.
Reinvention is key. To follow one’s dreams is pretty much guaranteed to invoke changes in your life, else what is the purpose of following a dream. So the effort you put in can often be relative to the success of realising your dream. On a simple level, I always loved to travel. I was not rich, I had a decent job, but never more than average salary, but I would get up an hour earlier than normally required, just to make my own sandwiches, and then more often than not, walk 30 minutes to work rather than drive. Add to that the choice I made not to go out at weekends to cinemas, theatres, pubs or clubs, and that combined saving, week after week, paid for well over 50% of my annual travel budget, enabling me to travel overseas for almost all of my vacation time each year. As I said, it’s a choice, pure and simple, a sacrifice entered into knowingly and willingly, to further the chance of living some, if not all of my dreams. Circumstances change, and that can limit our potential, nevertheless, I can still dream, and nobody can take away my dreams. I no longer have the funds for long haul travel, but that doesn’t stop me from reading adventure travel brochures in bed, I do, just ask my wife!
On a slightly unrelated note perhaps, I just felt I had to share this little morsel that a friend sent to me on Facebook this morning. It is a commercial from Honda actually, but it encapsulates all that is magical about dreams. CLICK HERE to view.. like it?.
Finally, I can’t recall whose great words these were, but someone once said “Life is not a rehearsal”. And that is what you’ll find at the core of Uncle Spike. Have a great day, and whatever you do in your life, make sure even a little bit of what you do today, is working towards the dreams you have for your tomorrow.