Originally posted October 2013
Traveling down a two-lane Texas highway a few weeks ago, I had one of my favorite CDs playing. For more than 40 years I’ve listened to the Oak Ridge Boys and loved every kind of song they’ve recorded. I even named my new car “Elvira” and love to blast that 1981 hit when I’m marking those miles. Oh, and here I guess I should mention I’m a senior citizen?
A little over a year ago, I retired after 48 years of working. The day I turned 65, I said my goodbyes and wanted to get out my map and compass to find my new path.
But I had to face surgery and rehab first, so I delayed even acknowledging my dream let alone acting upon it. Actually I didn’t even have a vision of the plan–I couldn’t see anything there but a vague shape like the imagined face you see in a cloud. All I knew was it would include writing (based on the encouragement of a high-school teacher who told me to NEVER STOP WRITING).
I was singing along to the lyrics of the Oak’s song “Before I Die.” There’s a part that says:
While I can still breathe…
while this old heart still has another beat,
it’s time I put some livin’ in these dreams…
…and those words–along with the Oaks’ unmatched harmony–collided into an almost religious experience reaching clear down in my soul and pulling out all my hesitation and fear shouting clearly to me:
if not now—when?
I’ve had that feeling that the earth moved a bit on its axis only a few other times in my life; i.e.,
- when my children were born,
- when I achieved a long-time academic dream,
- when I made a huge turn in the road (a relationship) which landed me on the correct path.
It took me only a few days to see the outline of the dream as clearly as if the blueprint had just been delivered to me marked “complete and ready for construction.” The idea came to me so vividly and I knew exactly how I would capitalize on the broader audience available through technology. So now, believing it’s MY time, I sat down to create a blog.
Now about that new-world creation called a blog…as soon as I found out what it meant I decided I’m actually thrilled with the idea a blogger’s words can live for “infinity and beyond” – how cool is that? So off I went into the blogosphere.
Then, I had to have something to put on a newly created blog, and I thought about my life. I figured others think about that, too, so I would write about something I knew better than any subject. Me! and there it was…my dream from long ago…my challenge. I’m so glad I recognized it even if it was 50 years older now (maybe it was because my vision/thoughts were 50 years older now, too). The realization was exciting as I unrolled the blueprints; they magically were complete, visible and clear. Thus was born New Journeys on Old Roads – Traveling with Van Hess
Here’s something I’ve learned. Managing dreams involves a little patience, magic and opportunity. Sometimes we walk away in haste tending to the mundane things of life and forget we must tend our dreams. Sometimes we just push them away and ignore them and they seem to wither away. But sometimes they just won’t let go of you. Here I would warn you that not allowing them to develop can often leave you with regrets. My experience with regrets is that they are not worth having; they drain your joy and bog down your mind.
Obviously, my life, like that of many people, contains hiccups and hindrances—but my fervor and need to share it overrule; and I can truly say even with the pain vs the love, the tears vs the laughs, life has more often than not tipped the scales in favor of the good outweighing the bad. If you’re stuck in the bad, maybe making a list of “Good Things” vs “Bad Things” would be a good exercise; and it may surprise you just how quickly your scales will tip in favor of good things.
Since life required me to have a practical side, I worked detail-oriented jobs; but the dreams always crept into my mind during those 48 years of working. It took both sides to live my life (oh, I should mention here I’m a Gemini–the twins).
Listening to the lyrics of that song while I traveled an old familiar road, I’ve been down a hundred times, it seemed as if I’d been dropped down on a new road I’d never traveled. The words made all the difference to me. I knew I would not be ready to leave this world unless I “put some livin’ in those dreams.”
OK – I’m packed! Got my map, compass, my music, my computer, my camera, all in my car named Elvira!
See you down the road! If you need a little help in identifying your dreams, find a quiet place, take a back road, and let them find you!
Listen: The Oak Ridge Boys and “Before I Die”
Follow me on Twitter @ VanHessTXred
Information regarding reference to “Before I Die” BEFORE I DIE (featuring William Lee Golden)-------- 3:53 Woody Mullis & Trey Matthews © 2011 Sixteen Stars Music (BMI)/Egan’s Creek Music (BMI) Administrator: HoriPro Entertainment Group, Inc. IT’S ONLY NATURAL” FROM CRACKER BARREL -RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 19, 2011 Visit the following site for news, music, history & tour dates of the Oak Ridge Boys: http://oakridgeboys.com/
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