By Larry Feinstein
In 1986, I moved to the high desert country of the Cerrillos Flats, just south of Santa Fe, New Mexico. I lived in a little adobe house, the curvy walls filled with sand and tires, giving it a bit of a Hobbit-house feeling. I bought an old pickup truck, some cowboy boots, a wood burning stove and a hybrid wolf pup.
Hell, I even became a volunteer fireman. I had come from New York City and had a dream about a completely different kind of life for myself.
I am not sure when we begin dreaming and I don’t know how to distinguish between the sleep ones, filled with symbolism and the waking flights of fancy, the day dream kind. Some little boys want to be firemen and the lucky ones find the chance decades later. I’d get the urgent phone call and race out to my car, slap the blinking red beacon on the roof, becoming a five year old for at least a few seconds.
I quit the Turquoise Trail Volunteer Fire Department after responding to a one car accident on Highway 14, a straight ahead, two lane road that would occasionally put drivers to sleep. I walked over to the front of the scarred VW camper and recognized the lifeless driver, who had hosted a party I attended weeks before. Even our dreams have shadow sides.
I recently had a revelation about the difference between having a dream and living one. The farther you are away from living a dream, the more perfect they appear, like a beautiful illusion. No matter what choices we make, there is no magical path. Our baggage is portable and goes wherever we go. The idea that our imperfect lives can be replaced by manifesting some imaginary persona is the domain of the child. I did quit the volunteer fire department and my dog ran away, but I took the chance.
There is great safety in letting your dreams tumble to the ground without trying to realize them, with habit overriding possibility. We strangle the promise of adventure with fear and anxiety of the unknown. Regret is one of the most painful words in our language. I wouldn’t want my last thoughts in this life to be about regrets for chances not taken.
I am turning 70 this year, and I have a new dream. It’s inside the engine driving my writing and the Mind and the Motorcycle blog.
On a bike ride last year through Kaua‘i, I decided to mark my 70th year of living my dreams. I would take a solo ride along the California Coast and further north and write and record my thoughts along the way. Now, the calendar is pressing on me, as the trip is this summer.
Like most dreams that come closer, they stop looking perfect when we choose to inhabit them. The dream doubter knocked on my door, like the Trickster who started whispering in my ear that I might not want to follow my dream. The dream faith I had that brought me to New Mexico and then Kaua‘i felt like it was abandoning me.
Faith and worry were sitting like a seesaw with me in the middle. Out of nowhere, I started accumulating a list of items I couldn’t live without and didn’t have. I needed a tent, sleeping bag, foul weather gear, heavy leather jacket, a helmet, gloves and the ability to communicate from wherever I happen to stop because all of this is about sharing my adventure. Speaking of adventure, I don’t have the vaguest idea about the roads best for a bike. How many miles should I ride in a day? What will happen to my orderly, comfortable sense of life? A wave of helplessness began pushing me down below the surface of my dream.
The good news about waves, whether ocean or emotion, is they pass over us and we get to come up for air, look around and reconnect with the joy in our dreams. Please consider this a formal invitation to keep me company on my celebratory, virgin ride up the West Coast this summer.
Until then, hold fast to your own dreams and I’ll help you hold them too.
- Larry Feinstein has spent a lifetime in marketing and wondering what we’re all about. Share your dreams mindandthemotorcycle.com. Let’s create dialogue.