Livin’ The Dream

Ask me one day how I’m doing and I might respond with “livin’ the dream”.  Sometimes it’s a trite saying; something like “fine”.  I try not to use it as that, though – I’m assuming if you’re asking me you’re actually interested, so I endeavor to answer honestly…and it’s not too often these days that I can honestly say I’m “living the dream”.

But that got me to thinking – maybe that’s not true, maybe I am living the dream.  It all depends on what dream it is.

When I usually think of “living the dream” I’m thinking about kicking back on a beach, living in an oceanside hut and playing beach volleyball when I’m not enjoying local cuisine and beverages.  With an Internet connection, of course – I couldn’t leave The Paul Gillespie Experience, right?  And having enough money to sustain that lifestyle, whether that’s as a professional beach volleyball player, a photographer or an independently-wealthy Powerball winner (or whatever).

But then I had this dream the other night that was … odd.  I’m not entirely sure how to describe it, nor could I explain how I ended up in it or how I ended up in the part of it I was in.  It wasn’t bad, per se – it was just strange.  Not a kind of dream I normally end up  having; or at least not the kind I normally end up remembering having (since apparently most people only remember a subset of their dreams, which I suppose could be a blessing or a curse depending on the dreams forgotten).  It did involve Volleyball Beach (I know, I know – go figure) kind of, so maybe that was the link.

So the question becomes whether or not I’m really living the dream – a dream I had years ago.  I can tell you my dreams certainly have changed over the years, and those are just the ones I can remember.  So am I living an earlier version of my dream now, and I just don’t realize it?  Maybe not exactly what the dream was (I’m willing to bet that I never dreamed about specifically living in Grandview in a 5-bedroom house with a veritable gaggle of kids.  I am also pretty sure I didn’t dream of spending the vast majority of my summer free time on sand playing beach volleyball.  Nor do I have any doubts that being the Director of Special Pricing for a Fortune 100 company was not part of the dream.

Maybe I didn’t dream of these things literally, but did I maybe dream of them conceptually?

I’ve always been good with kids and I grew up the oldest of five, so having a whole bunch of kids isn’t that unusual.  Grandview?  Probably not – I didn’t even know it existed until I was a teenager (I went to a debate tournament at Grandview High School my sophomore year), but considering I grew up in South Kansas City and figured I’d always live there that’s not far off.

What about the beach volleyball addiction?  Not a chance – I didn’t even like volleyball when we played it in school.  But I did love baseball (dreamed of being a professional baseball player, even) and played it all the way until high school; after that it was softball.  So maybe the dream wasn’t sand volleyball-specific, but rather was sports-general.

But how about my career path?  Considering I’ve always loved math doing something with numbers (pricing, although saying “pricing = math” is the equivalent of saying “building a house = cutting wood”) was probably in the dreams from an early age (shut up and quit making fun of me) so maybe we’ll call it close enough.

That’s oddly depressing, to tell you the truth.

I like to think that I happened upon my career as a matter of coincidence, good timing and hard work, not as something I dreamed about.  If I were a professional baseball player maybe the sentiment is different there.  Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy what I do and I’m pretty good at it, but it’s just not the sexy kind of job that should be plaguing kids dreams.  They should be dreaming of playing for the hometown ball club or being an astronaut or a firefighter or police officer or super model or captain of their own Navy cruiser.


Or is limiting dreams to just those that are sexy artificially limiting them and setting them up for failure or disappointment?  We can’t all be second basemen for the Royals.  Someone’s still got to design the stadiums, sell the concessions, manage the team, sell the tickets, buy the tickets, keep the grass green, build the stadium, put the cars that we drive in to get to the stadium together, broadcast the game so everyone else can hear it, etc.  If we all ended up emulating Frank White society would crumble around us.  Not because Frank is a bad guy (he’s one of the best people you’ll ever meet), but because the world is so vast that we need a whole host of different people to keep it running.

Except politicians – the more I live the more I realize that save for a very few (a very very few) the world could do just fine without them.

And besides, even if we could all be second basemen you don’t just automatically turn 18 and suddenly have that job.  You have to put in your dues – pay the blood, sweat and tears necessary to move up the chain from high school to college to A, high-A, Double-A and then Triple-A before you make the roster of a major league ball club.  It’s not a right, it’s not an automatic; it’s a process, and that process can involve a lot of pain and disappointment.

Now I’ve gone all off-track.  I started this post after having an odd but interesting dream, and now I’m sitting down at Omega Coffee in Laurie finishing it, but on a completely different track than I originally started it on.

But I’m still intent on living the dream.  I have a bunch of work ahead of me to figure out how to get there, but I will live the dream one day – the one involving oceanside huts and cuisine.  I just have to find a break in the dream I’m living to work on it.

What about you?  Are you living your dream?

(post image courtesy of

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