To The Restless Dreamers…

Photograph courtesy of National Geographic.

To the restless dreamers, who always seek the next great horizon and chart new pathways, I salute you. I honor your adventurous spirit. I admire your eagerness to rip up the pages of what worked before, because you need to write something new.

I am one of you. Never content to rest peacefully in the status quo, I’ve always needed the excitement and uncertainty of a full life. It can be maddening at times, but those moments when my spirit is refreshed and the waters of life flow through me reward all the frustration.

In the last couple years I’ve become haunted by the brevity of life. It all goes by so fast, and I run with furious vigor but I can’t seem to catch up. What’s the point of all the ladder climbing? Why spend time caring what anyone thinks of us or the decisions we make? I cling to the awareness that life is short as a way to motivate me, to make my actions more urgent. Every moment wasted haunts me. I do not want to look back from the stiff peace of my deathbed knowing that I missed out on a wild, strange life. I want to break rules in the name of love. I want to risk everything for the chance to live passionately. I want to drive down the highway at night with my sunglasses on because who says everything has to make sense?

Life can get pretty dull. Mundane conversations, routine, predictable workdays…these kill the spirit. Childlike wonder flows when we toss the rules aside and instead live like a bunch of wild weirdos who will do anything to keep the storm of life pounding in our veins. Just cling to the promise that life doesn’t have to look gray. Believe that glorious colors pass in this crazy kaleidoscope of our lives. If you have the legs to run to the farthest dock, do so. And then jump. Because the waters there may be wonderful.

I don’t think small thoughts. My consciousness is filled with grand visions, poetic thoughts, near-hallucinatory imagination. I can dream up worlds that are utterly original and pretty insane. I see things unfold in ways glorious and unpredictable. It is in my nature to embrace all that is unique, out of the way, inspiring. I will never feel content with a quiet evening where nothing interesting happens. The environment must reflect what goes on inside me. Or else I feel trapped.

Imagine the following scene: You are alone in the wilderness at dusk, and it is raining hard. You notice a mildly threatening purple in the sky…rumblings of thunder are heard in the distance. You hear a coyote wailing in the distance. Now just embrace all that, because that is life stripped bare. Don’t run away for something safe and conventional.

I’d rather find myself up against a wild, elemental struggle than be bored. Maybe I’m just a bit weird, but I think that’s what makes me intensely human. Not all dreams are good ones. But to dream is to go beyond what is at hand. Sometimes I will find spiders in the cupboard, but I may also find a delicious new recipe. I must remain fearless in my willingness to open the door. I’ll discover soon enough what surprises await me.

Because life is so short, I refuse to play it safe and live small. I will instead put my foot to the gas pedal and fly down the highway of life with an open mind. New people, music, food, and movies lie ahead. Bitter disappointments lie ahead. Success, failure, love and regret lie ahead. What lies ahead is life in all its beauty and dreary sadness. I will know good times and bad times. I will sing, and I will sob. I will love and I will lose. Moments cannot be controlled, life cannot be contained, but if my spirit remains vital then no surprise will knock me off course for long. It is more interesting to gaze in wonder at all the colors — and even invent some of your own — than to be content with gray. Contented, relaxed, at home —these words don’t describe me. I am an intense, passionately alive man with a dream to push the boundaries, to keep moving forward with urgent strides, to live so wildly that the only thing that could contain me is death.

To all the restless dreamers, I speak to you as a fellow traveler on the road. Get the keys, I’m ready to ride.

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