It’s Been A Pretty Fine Dream Life

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Daydreaming is better than Daydrinking.

When I was 10 I wanted to be a doctor.

A rich doctor.

Don’t believe me? Here I’ll prove it to you.


When I was 20…

I wanted to be a singer/songwriter star. Maybe a Cat Stevens wannabe… again, let me show you.

When I was 30…

I wanted to be a blueberry and sheep farmer.

When I was 40…

I wanted to own a BunsMaster bakery franchise.

When I was 50…

I wanted to be an Entrepreneur that helped older folks write their memoirs for their kids and grandkids.

When I was 60 (now)…

I still harbour songwriting and rock star fantasies like when I was 20. Some of us never grow up, right Peter Pan?

Version 2

None of those fanciful dreams were ever totally fulfilled.

No doctor… no bakery… no sheep… no Groupies.

A lab tech… some cinnamon buns… a few chickens… and Open Mic’s.

Am I disappointed? Nope…

My happiness and success aren’t measured by the end result as much as the process.

A life of failure? Nope…

It relates to Robert Louis Stevenson’s quote:

To Travel Hopefully Is A Better Thing Than To Arrive”

Wants and dreams are the summer clouds that shift and re-shape in the sky when we lay on our backs in the cool, soft grass. One moment there’s a T-Rex, the next a leaping horse.

What’s wrong with chasing after dreams from cradle to coffin?

I’m very aware that life is finite.

Yes, Santa Claus is actually Mommy and Daddy, and yes, life ends… I’m sorry if I’ve burst your bubble…

Damn Adam and Eve screwed us and immortality all over one silly apple. Snakes.

Philip Roth, the famous, and infamously cranky American writer (Portnoy’s Complaint, The Human Stain) who died this past week said about death:

“Oblivion. Of not being alive, quite simply, of not feeling life, not smelling it. But the difference between today and the fear of dying I had when I was 12, is that now I have a kind of resignation towards reality.


The idea that I’ll melt away into some bone meal fertilizer relatively soon is both scary and motivating.

Scary, well there’s nothing I can do about that… you know, Desiderata’s accept what you cannot change.


But motivating, now there’s something I can participate in.

Reinvention and creativity and self-discovery are themes I come back to again and again in my blog posts because I need to remind myself ad infinitum that life doesn’t end at any particular age.

Signposts like age 65 or retirement are made-up constructs, kind of like legal drinking age. I know the law says no alcohol before 19, but that didn’t stop me and my little buddies from throwing up on homemade red wine beside the elementary school at 13!

I’m gobsmacked when I read of the young age of passing in many famous persons who imagined and created wonderful projects in such a short lifespan.

Sylvia Plath, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, George Gershwin, Martin Luther King, Vincent Van Gogh, Eva Peron, Avicii.

But I’m also energized and stimulated when I see those who created their best in later decades:

12 People who found late success

Staring out my window on this summer’ish sunny morning, a lemon-yellow Swallowtail butterfly lazily rests on a pale pink dogwood bloom, absorbing energy from the sun’s morning warmth before resuming its purpose. I’ve seen this a hundred, maybe a thousand times and it still invigorates my spirit.

These are the quiet moments that recharge my batteries and lower the temperature of the boil that sometimes brings me close to the exhausted edge. It’s like cross-training my muscles so that I don’t get crippled by laser-focusing only on one area until a hurtful flame erupts. Soulful respite.

Life and vigour move along hand-in-hand for as long as our bodies, and more importantly our minds, remain awake and enthusiastic for the passions that burn inside.

This week I’m reminded of mortality since I’m practicing some music pieces like Dust to Dust (The Civil Wars) and Angel (Sarah McLachlan).

It would be possible to feel despair but what I take away is inspiration to continue daydreaming, searching those fluffy cloud formations for ideas and visions.

Do you think it’s too late for me to become a rich doctor?

Rich doctor.jpg



Do We REALLY Have to Work?


I have a strong tendency towards laziness.

I love to just sit and think or allow my mind to wander in whatever direction it desires.

I’m so lazy that I don’t even give my brain directions about what it should think about. It decides and I just watch and follow. It’s a stream that meanders in all directions with no riverbanks to restrict its flow.


The other day my brain decided that I’m going to stop working for a living.

Just like that, no job.

I’m not retiring, I’m quitting. And it’s not because I don’t like my job or my boss. My boss is great, and most days my job is pretty good.

So … What’s Up, you ask?

Jesus didn’t have a job.

Well, some say he was a carpenter, but I can’t find any pictures, descriptions, or drawings of his work, and I did a full Google search.


Unlike Muhammad, he didn’t become a Dad, so he wasn’t a stay-at-home working parent while his wife was out making the bacon (she wouldn’t be Jewish I guess). Some suggest he was a bootlegger who turned water into wine and then sold it to his followers who grew in numbers because they liked his stuff, but that’s just idle rumour.

Jesus had a dream job of being a saviour. How many kids tell their Grade 2 class they want to grow up to be a Saviour? None in my school certainly.

But truthfully, I don’t want to be a saviour… too many liability issues and guilt. And then you end up crucified.

I’m seeking out a sunny field of tranquillity. It’s a kind of mid-life crisis of form and understanding, a nighttime retreat into the womb of safety and comfort.  To be childlike and carefree with only the smell of green grass and sand between my toes, swing sets in the park, ice cream on the beach. A job implies responsibility and worry over bills and leaks in the roof.

Engagement and enjoyment of life is defined both by what we do for a paycheque and what we do as passion. Sometimes they coincide and often they run separate roads.

I don’t think I’m alone in my thinking. After all, millions have read the 4 Hour Work Week and The Joy of Not Working . How many of the thousands of people working at WalMart are there because they love to work? –Damn, ANOTHER clean up in Aisle 7. Hell, even the CEO is only really there because he gets a HUGE paycheque that lets him do the things he really wants to do.

Money-spewing lotteries are over-the-top popular because the multitudes hope and pray that a few lucky numbers will give them their dream job of a life of no work. It’s an ubiquitous feeling that work is a penance we pay so that we can eat and have a boat to fish from off a sunny Caribbean beach for 2 weeks every winter.


I’ll admit that jobs have their place. A job is an important source of social capital, it provides daily structure for many, a place to meet friends and kindle romances, a detouring path away from crime and prison for young men, an example of industriousness and duty to children and a source of self-respect for parents.

But really, nobody has a born purpose in life to buy and sell stocks. Or create an ad agency. Or ride a dusty tractor all day long. Or work in a cubicle. Those are tiny side effects of being alive. We’re conditioned in western society from Day 1 to build ourselves into a work machine that produces something of value that others are willing to pay something for.

No matter how much talent and ability and know-how we possess and want the world to beat a path to our personal toll booth, dropping gold coins into our pocket of wealth, unless what we have to offer is desirable at a reasonable price, we starve.

People start up businesses by the hundreds and thousands every week, and then a short year later they shutter the front door forever because their incredible (to them) idea for sponging up currency that couldn’t go wrong, didn’t connect. Dreams are shattered and bankruptcies are born.

The real purpose is to do the things you enjoy, with the people you enjoy and who inspire you, as much as possible. If this happens in a job setting, great. But for the majority in this world of billions of souls, work life is lived as Bob Cratchit under the heavy thumb of their own Scrooge.  Work is a necessity, undertaken as a servitude for a turkey on the table at Christmas and some coal in the winter stove.

So we’ll continue working to survive like we always have. Maybe someday we’ll devise a way to put a million dollars in each baby’s bank account at birth and the work week will become a relic of an ancient era. Robots and technology will run our factories and our supermarkets and our transit and sewage systems.

Robot in home

I wish I could live to see such a day, but I consider myself lucky to see this moment in history when I can push a switch and my house is instantly made cozy warm, or refreshingly cool. In winter, I can fly like a bird to an exotic beach with loads of fresh, juicy fruit and cold bottles of beer laid out for my picking. If I want to read any magazine or book, I can open an electronic gizmo and have it sent instantaneously through the electronic ether to my lap. While I sit in front of a huge entertainment centre in my living room with 1000’s of movies and other media delights at my fingertips.

Most of my weekly blog posts are about 1,000 words long.  It’s a good length that doesn’t usually tax you, the reader, too much.  I was going to quit at 800 words today and just relax on my sunny, warm deck.

But this luxuriously wandering, creating mind that wants me to quit my job just wouldn’t listen and take direction from me.

I guess I’ll go on being lazy, starting tomorrow…

Lazy cat

I Live a Whole Life Inside My Head


Walter Mitty

(This is the 1947 film- there’s a newer version of the movie coming next year with Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty)

In Grade 9, I was in Mr. Batchelor’s English class in Ontario, where we read James Thurber’s short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (it was made into a movie too). To this chubby, barely pubescent 14 year-old lad he was sooooo cool; the main character Walter Mitty lived a vivid and exciting imaginary life inside his head as an escape from his everyday, mundane existence. And even Mr. Batchelor was kind of a “Mitty-like” character himself- he was eccentric and also kind of groovy (that’s ’70’s speak!) in an odd sort of way. I liked him a lot!

The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: The Unreporte...

I don’t think that Walter Mitty had the same secrets in his head that Bill Clinton dreamed about!

As I age, I’m finding Walter Mitty rising to the surface in myself…I spend a lot of time inside my head daydreaming and thinking, and just generally becoming more distracted from real life. I’m not withdrawing from the world in any substantial way. It’s not an anti-social sort of event, so long as you don’t think that saying, “talk to the hand” a lot is anti-social!

It’s probably a reflection of how immensely boring I really am, but when I talk to people, I can often see their eyes glaze over. They retreat within their head to their own imaginary “Walter Mitty” world that has nothing to do with what I’m saying. Maybe they’re saving the earth from nuclear annihilation or environmental catastrophe. I can’t tell. Of course, in today’s tech-heavy world, much of what used to be internal thought and reflection has morphed into texting and online interaction that distracts folks from the here and now.

(Sometimes, the ideas flow through my head like a fountain)

We all have obstacles that surface daily and often struggle for a solution that works for us and hopefully for others too (what we like to call a win-win situation). I enjoy being on my own and just letting my thoughts flow in all directions … sometimes it’s productive or creative imagining or  “what will I do about the challenge I have to deal with tomorrow” stuff.

The subconscious is an absolutely AMAZING entity that solves problems and brings up creative ideas. I can’t count the number of times I’ve sought a fix or an idea that just won’t come to me consciously, and then, as if by magic, when I let it go and allow my subconscious to ply away in the hazy recesses of my frontal cortex, VOILA, the answer surfaces, sometimes in 5 minutes, sometimes it takes 5 days! I have great faith in the brain as a computer that works in the background even when we’re not aware.

(Just as an aside…using the term subconscious is frowned upon by the academic psychology crowd, who prefer the term unconscious. I personally prefer subconscious because unconscious implies a coma-like state to me. So bear with my use of subconscious, OK?)

But daydreams are like night dreams that you have when you’re sleeping- they dissolve quickly and can be lost forever, or at least for a long time, so I always try to write the helpful ideas and thoughts down as soon as I can. I’ve found that sending an e-mail note to myself from an iPad (iPhone or any other device would work just as well) works great day or night.

Other times, my daydreams are far more airy-fairy. I just time travel into scenes from my past and people I’ve known. Fortunately, I don’t seem to dwell on any of the negative experiences, but indulge in the fun and pleasurable moments. There’s a lot of joy for me in recounting driving my newly purchased  ’67 Rambler car when I was 16 (at least when it didn’t need repairs!), or inadvertently blocking the exits to the gym while kissing a lovely young thing at a Grade 10 dance. Being smooched on by my Aunt Nina has just a little less appeal, but it’s all part of a life, right?

I’m not completely like Walter Mitty; my daydreams don’t revolve around self-aggrandization…I don’t pilot jet fighters or do brain surgery in my imaginings…Oh alright…I might admit to sometimes seeing myself as a woman-pleasing, wonderful Latin Lover but that just might be TMI for you to handle.

(This could have been me at the Grade 10 dance…it was the only time we kissed)

I think all of us live another life inside our heads to varying degrees. It’s an escape and respite when we’re worn down and need a break. It’s a way to resolve our issues and problems that nag at us. It’s a route to accessing our inner creativity.  How much of a Walter Mitty are you and what does life look like inside your head?

(“Walter Mitty” is the ice below the surface)