“Just living the dream” he said as we walked out of class in college more than 12 years ago.
I had asked him to tell me about his photography jobs and was impressed by how much he was already working, but was also struck by the grandiosity and confidence of his statement.
Through many more conversations in school David and I bonded over a shared affinity for big goals and crazy dreams. His eccentric statements stopped surprising me and instead inspired me to aim higher and push through the boundaries created by societal expectations of the right path and the timing it took to get there.
Now, we sat across each other at a poké shop in Brooklyn having excited, nonstop conversation that often went back and forth between past, present, and future in the same train of thought.
There were no direct questions about what we had missed in the more than a decade of not seeing each other.
Instead, milestones were casually mentioned and the details pieced together by a mutual understanding of each other’s personality, beliefs, accomplishments, and goals:
Beliefs about our work/life balance were understood based on our stories of working ourselves to the point of exhaustion only to feel purposeless and depleted at the end.
Observations about our relationships were understood based on the similar experiences we each had with bad people incapable of giving love, and good people we were incapable of giving the love they deserved to, and everyone in between.
Decisions we were now making about health, wellness, fitness, and our own mental and emotional care taking were based on us each having made the mistake of de-prioritizing these life fundamentals before.
Fate, serendipity, the powers that be, or whatever you believe can be said here, but I’ll phrase it as:
SOMETIMES PEOPLE COME TOGETHER AT JUST THE RIGHT TIME TO MAKE A LASTING IMPACT.
The night before I had laid in bed restless, realizing I had been doing so much so quickly. I lived obsessively focused on my businesses and had subsisted off the acceleration for so long.
Now that things were running smoothly instead of feeling satisfied at the progress and even growth, I found myself wondering why I had rushed through it all.
Had I given enough time to those I loved along the way? I knew I hadn’t. Friends often greet me with ‘wow its been so long!’
When I do reach out to people they seem to be genuinely surprised. They mean no disrespect but their reaction is a painful reminder of how much time I’ve spent heads down working and have passed over many opportunities to make a phone call to a family member or visit an old friend.
Talking with David, I was reminded that if we don’t make time to talk with people about where we’ve been and where we are, its hard to decide we’re going. Those who know you, whether you’ve seen them in a decade or not, can inspire you once again.
Before the restaurant, I noticed a map on David’s studio wall that outlined an upcoming road trip.
Although having traveled all over the world for work, he had a strong desire to explore the world on his own time now. To take photographs all along the way and to just go.
New York had served as his home base. The place he had worked so hard and given so much of himself to build a name and a reputation.
Now having reached a place in his life that our college selves would say was mission accomplished – he was leaving the very next day and starting a new chapter of taking back control of his time, his energy, his heart, and his motivations.
David was ‘living the dream’ but yet he’s choosing another beginning.
On the crowded train back to Manhattan, clarity came to me.
IT’S THE LIVING, THAT IS THE DREAM.
IT’S THE EVERY DAY AND THE EVERY SECOND THAT IS THE ACTUAL DREAM COME TRUE.