I’m always more interested in someone’s second life. I think we got lost somewhere in the first life. We bury ourselves in what we should be and forget who we are. It’s easy to get on the path, the path we are told from the beginning that we should be on. We lose ourselves in careers and relationships and families. Some people don’t even look back at everything they stopped doing, being. She gave up painting when the baby was born, he gave up acting because the wife thought it was a ridiculous pipe dream. They gave up.
Sometime people are brave and hang on to their dreams. They pursue the writing career even when they can’t pay the rent. The band stays together even though their fans and few and mostly related. These people are brave and to be admired. Following the dream is hard especially when most often seem closer to failure than success. Although people may scoff, deep down they wish they were as brave. They remember the baseball career that might have been or the singer that only sings at home.
Some people blend the two and those are the people I am fascinated by. They are practical dreamers. By day the blend in with the rest but by night they become who they are. They are the singers on the corner in Harvard Sq or the writer of the novels that maybe no one will ever read or they tell jokes that sometime don’t get a laugh. But they keep singing and writing and laughing. They try to keep the dream alive, become who they always wanted to be or just even who they are. Some share their second lives readily. The map man I know does. Without asking he tells you about his passion for maps. Why aren’t you a cartographer, I want to ask, but never do. I know too well the feeling in the answer. I found out today about a musician that I never would have thought was a musician. He’s good too. I bought his CD on iTunes (search Bill Fagley) and it’s in the queue for my run tonight. I think of him differently now. I see him as more human, more real.
The practical dreamers are my favorite. The still reach and search and dream and live. They remind me of all that can be. They restore my faith in a world I think is suffocating in Budweiser, reality TV and the American dream. What is your second life?