“Blessed are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true.” (Henry Viscardi, Jr.)
Paying the price, that’s what sets some dreamers apart from others. It is that willingness to sacrifice, and to take risks that allow some to reach their lofty dreams while others stay rooted in their daily reality.
I have written before about having goals and vision, and even about having aspirational dreams. But honestly, I am happy with what some would call my fairly mundane existence. If I weren’t, I’d be actively working to make something different. But that isn’t how I view my life.
There is a saying that people will utter when they are doing something particularly mundane and boring… “I am living the dream”. It is a bit of sarcasm which says that the person isn’t really living in what anyone would call a “dream”, and in fact they are just grinding through their day doing what is needed to be done. Most often I hear this at work. Where I work, very few people are fulfilling their life’s dream by being there. The work is good, and important, but largely uninspiring.
But, I am not defined by what I do at work. And, I am not defined by whether my life meets the criteria of what someone else would call successful, or fantastic. I live by my own measurement. And, truthfully, I do think I am living the dream.
When I was a child and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer I most often gave was “a dad”. I didn’t aspire to be a fireman, a policeman, an astronaut, a doctor, or any of a host of other professions. I wanted to be a dad and husband. I wanted to be a part of a family team, and to be able to help shape and influence the lives of my children.
I think this aspiration may have been born of the fact that my own dad had passed away when I was 6 years old. I knew I was missing out on something in my life, and I wanted to be able fulfill that role in the lives of my sons and daughters. I watched the men who were in my life who were dads. I saw what they did with their children and I took mental notes. I saw that what they did when they got home from work was far more important than what they did when they were at work, at least in my opinion. It didn’t matter whether they were professionals or laborers from 9 to 5. The rest of the time they were fathers, and that was what inspired me.
I do think I am living the dream. I have a loving wife, and four amazing children. Every day I am proud to say that I am a part of this family because of what we have done together, and what we stand for.
Some dream of castles in the sky. Some strive for monetary wealth, and expensive toys. Some want to be high level managers, or hold elected offices. But I just want to be a dad and a husband. Decades from now, when I am at my final day, I will not look back at the accomplishments I had in project management, or any other job. I will look back at the difference I made in the lives of my family. I will look back and smile, and say that yes, I did live the dream.