I’m not sure when I got the idea that I wanted to be a movie star, but I’m guessing it corresponded to the release of The Getaway with Ali MacGraw and Steve McQueen. I am not sure if wanted the girl, the money, or the coolness of Mr. McQueen.
As I got a bit older, I loved the idea of becoming a writer. So many greats that I was already steeped in. The usual suspects are Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Vonnegut. And then I read some of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and just about lost my mind. I was in college at the University of Texas at that time, studying English to my father’s lament. I went on a Whitman bender, then a Kerouac bender, the Anais Nin’s Journals. Then… etc. etc.
Also, packed into my ambitious soul was the desire to be a rockstar. I would sing along to James Gang Rides Again, The Beatles, and The Guess Who. I think I wanted the attention of my older siblings, but I was committed to being a star one way or another.
Several truths are apparent in 2024. 1. I am a writer. 2. I am a musician, but not a rockstar. 3. I am not an actor. 4. I know a close friend of Ali MacGraw’s, but I can’t tell you more than that.
Fame hasn’t really come through either. Today, I’m wondering if it’s sour grapes, my “okayness” with not being famous. Or, would I really want to trade my life for say, Sting, Bono, or Peter Gabriel? I do understand that my answer is NO. I also understand that I am clueless about what it would be like. I think of the summer when my girlfriend and I passed Gordon Sumner on the trails around Town Lake, in Austin. That’s Sting, btw, and he was playing a show that night. He was jogging with his bodyguard. All black clothing, a black baseball cap pulled way down, and “wow, he is skinny.”
Would I want to be Sting? Nope. Would I love to meet and chat with Ali MacGraw while I’m in New Mexico next week? Yes.
Here are a few alternative facts about my creative output.
I have 24 books available (in print) today on Amazon.
I have participated or led 5 different bands, to varying degrees of success. And, yesterday I recorded two new songs for Buzzie’s next release in March. So, I’m still a recording musician. SPOTIFY LINKS: Buzzie, Blue Cartoon, John McElhenney, Felix Culpa ATX, and the Martian Dust Devils)
What I Wouldn’t Trade
I have a lot of peace and simplicity to my life. My two children are nearing the end of their college careers. My house and car are modest. My books bring in about $20 per month, at the moment. My music (300+ songs on Spotify) brings in nothing.
And I am at a supremely happy place in my life. In a recent chat with a life coach, I realized I was not longing for more of anything. Sure, more money would smooth over the rough patches a bit more easily. But, I spend a good portion of my days doing what I want to do, not what I have to do, or what I’m paid to do. I am consciously eating less and better quality food. I am getting 4 – 5 workouts a week. I am not getting any younger, but I’m also not getting any fatter or more tired. I’ve found a comfortable path to follow.
Talking to the younger life coach, she was trying to convince me “if you had only started the program five years ago” you’d be happier. She was incorrect. And there was nothing I needed to ADD into my program or routine to get more out of life. Nothing.
Now, that sounds like bragging, and I don’t mean it to. But I am lacking for nothing. Yes, I have complaints. There are things I wish were different in my life. And there are creative plans I am hoping to achieve over the next 30+ years of my life. (Imagine if Kerouac or Thompson or Whitman had been able to use computers and word processing!!)
Tenacity: staying with the dream.
Longevity: living well, living healthy.
As a dear friend has started saying, “I’m chronologically enhanced.” What I am doing is living as big as I can, loving as hard and honestly as I can, and learning to let go of things I can’t control.
That about sums it up. How’s your dream coming along? What did you want to be when you grew up?