Devotion In Reality

I started with a more explicit title -The Balance Of Dreaming And Reality- but I objected to pairing a gerund with a noun because they did not feel parallel to me. When the above song title popped into my head to replace the original, I jumped at it.

A literal understanding of this phrase really fits my theme -what does devotion, or a similarly pure and lofty desire, look like in reality?- and it’s a perfect excuse to share the inspiration, an Inch Chua ditty from a few years ago.

I had a minor incident today at work (D this is for you). The aftermath was a brief-but-revealing discussion that gave me one more sliver of insight into a colleague who is somewhat opaque to me, and got me thinking about a question I ask most of my peers almost every other day: what are you here for?

That’s not the literal question ask them. I actually usually ask them, “What’s your exit strategy?” But I am trying to get at, and I am often lucky enough to hear, the answer to “What do you dream of?” Or “What are you trying to get out of life?”

I ask other people out of selfishness. I am looking for ideas. I am trying to suss out what drives other people and ask myself if I am driven by the same values. I deeply admire people who are clear and unwavering, stepping consistently, faithfully forward toward whatever well-accepted magnetic force draws them: love, a specific topical or functional passion, a talent, money, even the negative ‘I suck at everything, I just suck less at this’ types offer a certain inspiration in their single-mindedness.

I wouldn’t want anything different than the way I operate. I am acutely aware that almost any other method of flaming hoop jumping through life would be easier than my constantly under construction, spare parts, Rube Goldberg version. But I believe that, conscious of it or not, even those single-minded folks at some point had to understand what “devotion” means in reality. That is, what does it look like to ‘live the dream’ every day? What does it take? Is that price worth it?

So coming down the stairs today, I found myself thinking, not about the specific salaried tasks I am dreaming of doing, but about what the dream is that I am trying to create. Is my dream about who I want to be? The experiences I want to leave room for? The things I want to have? Something I want to do or create? Does any part of that look like the reality I already have? What has to be changed? What should remain? And I’m left with a bit of existential Jenga(R).

Though it has its place and value (that’s not a math joke, but it should be), I know in my world existential angst is also sometimes spelled procrastination. Which leads to -perhaps?- the most important question: while my super-ego plays Rodin-model, what is it the rest of me needs to just cowgirl up and do?


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