The Launguage of Dreamers

There is a certain language used by people who are chasing after or living out their dreams. For example, they will never tell you something like, "I needed a job so I applied here and turns out I am actually good at this." It is unlikely you will hear them say, "My momma always told me I would make a good lawyer so I became a lawyer."

It is a fine line between fate and inevitability. The thought of fate sounds depressing. It is as if there were other options, maybe even better options. Defeated, following expectations foisted upon them, or maybe settling for the path of least resistance. What will be will be. Inevitability determines there was only one path. This was the only choice. Any other road would have led me to a lifetime of dissatisfaction and unfulfilled aspirations.

Such a subtle difference. I have only recently begun to understand the distinction between the two.

Jim Chaffin, drummer for some old school punk and metal bands I listened to when I was younger, provided a profound explanation for me.

He was interviewed on Mark Salomon's podcast, talking about his history of learning to play the drums. Started as a kid - like most of us did when we were younger, smacking utensils on pots, pans, and Tupperware from our parents' kitchen. Unlike most kids, Jim was keeping beat to bands like Queen, Van Halen, and The Cars. Him mom bought him a set of drumsticks and a neighbor allowed him to play on his kit. He started drumming in a youth group band and eventually moved into the post-punk and hardcore scenes.

Mark asked the why question. Why did you choose drums? Jim's answer: "I just wanted to bang on stuff."

That is the language of dreamers. "I just wanted to ..."

For people like this, all roads lead to this one thing that they have always wanted to do. It is the MacGuffin that propels them through life. If it is their profession or their pastime is irrelevant: it is their passion regardless of whether or not it earns an income.

This language reveals a hopeful inevitability. Not resigned to fate, but satisfaction detached from circumstance because this is the only thing that has ever mattered.

Do you have that thing?

Finish that sentence: I just wanted to ____________________.

I just wanted to help the sick feel better. I just wanted to teach everything I know. I just wanted to take beautiful pictures. I just wanted to tell stories. I just wanted to travel the world. I just wanted to raise a family. I just wanted to build houses. I just wanted to ...

Or, if you're like my son: "I just wanted to invent a time machine." He speaks the language of a dreamer.
Photo courtesy of BBC.

What is your MacGuffin? Are you giving into fate? Or are you going to chase inevitability?

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