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10.25.2011

Are you living the dream?

Last Sunday Tio had a rap song stuck in his mind and kept repeating a particular line, "every day I wake up and dream the dream", until it got do annoying it lost all meaning. Then he'd paraphrase it to "Grampy, every day you wake up are you dreaming the dream?"

Finally I took the bait. "Do you think I am?"

He gave it some thought and replied, "I think so. You like making flutes and you don't want any money."

That made me laugh - as though those two things were related. Good thing I chose flutes, thinks I, because it'll keep me poor. "That's not what I've said," I corrected. "I said I don't CHASE the money. Big difference, huge. I could make great money in flutes if I lived near the factories and kept a job there. I could also make good money doing other things that are about the money, and not the life. Which, by the way, includes not taking you guys in. Because if I was into money, rasing you boys is definitely counterproductive."

"What's wrong with going after the money?" he asked.

"Nothing, I guess, but it depends on how or why you do. If you spend your whole life working a job you don't like just because it pays well, think of all the time and energy you spend going after the money without enjoying life." But then again, Tio is at an age where 5 bucks and a convenience store is all the happy he needs.

While we sat together on a cold stone park bench watching Doc play, I wondered about his original question: am I living the dream? After 35 years making flutes, at many times awkward and unpleasant, I finally found a way to enjoy the work every day. My marriage is wonderful, even though we barely have time for each other right now, health is good, we own out home outright and have no debt so the economic slump isn't hitting us in the face like an icy gale. Then there are the kids...

Would life be better without them? Would I be 'living more of the dream'? It would certainly be easier. We'd have more pocket money and a retirement fund. We'd have more time and room in our home to do the things we do. But better? No. That's where I guess I'd make the distinction. Raising these boys is my Everest and as tough a climb as it is, I dare those who climb mountains to stay home with their children and see which summit is the easier, or the more rewarding.

I guess I am living the dream. I wouldn't want it to be too easy. What would be the fun in that?