Yesterday, my son performed in his third concert in four days. We toasted him and his drumming at dinner. My husband oversaw and/or played in 11 concerts in five days and we toasted him too. My daughter can't wait to be in a band with her dad, so that will make musician Three. And I am learning piano, as old and fuzzy-headed as I am. Musician 4.
It would be easy to see my son following in my husband's footsteps. My son plays drums, piano and makes music as he breathes. I picture him playing through his teenage years, into adulthood. I sometimes imagine him at university, studying music, then going on to be an inspiring musician. It is easy to imagine.
But of course, my son wants to be an architect. And an inventor. And a writer. And today, after sitting in on my daughter's art class, an artist.
Which makes me think two things. One: Why not be all these things? And Two: he is all these things already. He is creating, constantly. Building, inventing, imagining, writing, drawing, performing, playing—it never ends. My daughter wants to be a writer, artist, pet shop owner, farmer and a pilot. I want her to be any and all of these things, if she likes. And she already is, in some form or other.
So if as a kid we are these things, and we want to be all these things, what happens to our dreams when we grow up? Do we follow just one, thinking the rest are silly or too complicated? Or do we follow none because that's easier/simpler/safer and no-one makes a living making butterflies out of tissue paper, do they?
It is so easy to let dreams wait, or release them entirely. It's more practical that way, and we can always get back to them, one day. We always think we have more time.
Some of us do, heaps of time, we grow ripe with age and discover our inner painter at 60. It is never too late to get back to our dreams. But these dreams, squirrelled away as they are, in sock drawers and journals, and mulled over late at night, could be lived, right? Even a snippet of a dream could have the dust shaken off and flown. It could be beautiful.
If we lived as we did as children, believing we can be, or do, anything, think of what the world would be like. I'd hope there'd be more tap dancers, and cupcake makers, and kite-flyers and people rowing around in hand-made boats. And people who like to photograph flowers really, really close up. And people who write stories on walls for other people to read. And soup-makers. And jugglers; the world has room for a lot more jugglers. And there might be more smiling. And giving. And people sleeping well at night. Just imagine.