I have always been a dreamer. I have always had a massive imagination that seemed to have no boundaries. From the time I was a toddler laying in front of the television racing my matchbox cars through the southwest deserts of the United States while hearing Dan Rather’s voice faintly in the background reporting the evening news to my parents, to now, a middle-aged man who imagines himself every afternoon at my daily status meeting looking at every person in the room and saying, “You know what? I’ve had enough of this bullshit. I’m out. Later.” I really do that a lot hear lately as my boss goes around the room asking questions about this and that. Then I snap back into reality. Give him the report on my department. Gather up my stuff and walk back down to my office. I ask myself this evening as I go into a long holiday weekend, “What keeps me there?” I answer myself back with, “Fear.” Fear is a dream killer and imagination smasher.
The Comfort Zone
Many Americans have a fear of stepping outside of their comfort Zone. It’s kind of like their home. They made it the way they want it. It’s cozy and warm. You view your home as safe, right. The difference between your home and your comfort zone is this; if you walk out into your yard, dig a hole in the ground, slap a flower down in there, give it water on a regular basis that flower will grow. In your comfort zone nothing grows. It’s a dead zone. Inhabited by spirits of your past that hold you prisoner in there, so you don’t outgrow them and leave them behind. They use their fear to control you. They make it your fear.
This fear is taught to us by our mentors, teachers, and parents. They don’t realize they are doing it. They are just teaching the younger generation what they have been taught. Let’s look at it like this. Take Little Johnny laying on the floor playing with his matchbox cars, imagining them racing through the desert, then his mother gets up from Dan Rather’s evening report and comes over in the middle of this intense, nose to nose race and just stomps down on top of the matchbox cars. Then nonchalantly walks on into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee like nothing happens. That would be messed up. Some would even interpret it as child abuse. Now take a child with a dream of say being an artist. Then toss him into our current education system where this dream is viewed as inferior and eventually the child is swayed into getting an education in a field that has been deemed as successful by society. Don’t you think that’s kind of the same thing.
Missing Your Calling
As a product of this education system my dreams and imagination were never nourished and dried up. My parents thought I should’ve gone to college like my brothers, but college wasn’t for me. That’s why I went into the military. That was fun and nurtured my imagination and dreams. If I hadn’t done that I would’ve pursued a career in music and everyone in my life would have shit a brick. I look back now and hold that as one of my biggest regrets — not pursuing that path. I’m not bitter about it. I mainly just wonder if I could’ve made it. Not like a huge rock star, just an average musician making a living doing something he loves.
I wrote this piece to just put it out there and feel that vulnerability. To get that feeling of relief that it’s out there you know. So many people guard that stuff, and it festers in them while they sit in their comfort zone. If you noticed I used fester, not grow to describe the feeling while in your comfort zone. Growth is a positive gain. When something festers it’s painful, inflamed and usually slows you down. That stuff must be tossed out. And maybe many who read this will toss it out as they exit their comfort zone.