Don't Let Your Chance Pass You By: A Moment with Bill Reflection
I Have a Secret
I don’t share this with too many people, but I can trust my literary friends, so I’ll share this secret with all of you.
I am addicted to the television show “The Voice.”
It seems odd to even write those words. Anyone who knows me knows I rarely watch television. While the average American might watch five hours of television each day, I can go weeks without watching a single show, and in fact I once went seven months without sitting in front of the television.
So you see, this addiction is completely out of character for me.
I was thinking about this fact the other day after watching the latest episode of “The Voice.” What is there about that show that has me so interested? I mean, it’s just a bunch of singers trying to win a competition. When I think of it in those terms it is nothing special…right?
It finally came to me yesterday…..I can relate to the contestants.
Josh Kauffman on The Voice
One of the contestants is Josh Kaufman, a thirty-five year old father of three with some serious talent. I mean to tell you this guy can sing. During one of his reflective moments he shares with us the struggle he is going through. He is at a stage in his life where he has to decide to give up music and get a real job so his children can be raised properly, or continue to chase a dream that is at best a crapshoot. This competition is really his last chance at realizing his dream.
I get it, and I suspect many of you do as well.
I have spent the last six months of my life working on my newest novel, “Resurrecting Tobias.” During those six months I cut back on paying customers so I could devote more time to the novel. Listen, we could definitely use more money. If I had a real job, Bev wouldn’t have to work so hard. Life would be easier on us if I joined the workforce and came home weekly with a regular paycheck. I could substitute teach starting tomorrow and make $125 each day. Heck, if I had substituted during those six months that I worked on my novel, I would have made $15,000 by now, and believe me when I tell you that we could definitely use that money.
Instead I wrote, and now, six months later, I have a novel and no money.
Meanwhile, Bev works full-time.
My guess, and this is merely a guess, is that Josh won’t quit even if he does not win the competition. He really can’t quit because, well, singing is a passion for him, and when he answers the call inside of him he receives nourishment every bit as real as the food all of you eat.
Andrew is my wife’s son. He is thirty-three years old and he is a musician. He has had his own band now for over eight years, working local gigs and barely scraping by from month to month. He manages to pay his bills by working carpentry part-time. Chances are that if he made carpentry his full-time job, he could make more money.
That isn’t going to happen.
Andrew has a passion for music, and he has a dream of being a full-time, successful musician.
He is following that dream.
How Many of You?
How many chances do we get in a lifetime?
When I entered college back in 1966, my dream was to get a journalism degree and be a writer. I wrote for the college newspaper as a sports columnist, and I totally loved every moment of it. The first time I saw my own byline I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
And then my father died, and my mother needed me, and there was no way I was going to travel the states in search of writing gigs and leave mom, so I changed my major to business and took the first job I could find after graduation….and now, fifty years later, I am following my dream.
Fifty years later! Thank God I lived long enough for my second chance.
How about you?
Are you following your dreams?
Yes, I can relate to Josh and Andrew. I can relate to any writer, musician, photographer, sculptor or artist. For that matter, I can relate to anyone who hears a voice within, a voice calling to them, urging them, demanding them to take that one chance and to feed that insatiable beast. You know who they are. You know who you are. They are the ones who are restless. They are the ones with visions of exotic places dancing through their heads, and they are the ones who can find no happiness in substitutions but only in the real deal. They were the starry-eyed daydreamers in grade school, the turbulent rebels in high school, and the ships without anchors as adults.
Follow the progress of my novel on my website
Is Time Running out for You?
We all have, if we are average, about seventy-five years to play with during our lifetimes. That’s if we are lucky of course. My dad died at forty-nine. A friend never came back from Vietnam and never saw his twenty-third birthday. A neighbor went face-to-face with cancer and lost the battle when she was thirty-nine.
In other words, what are you waiting for?
How many more chances do you think you have?
My fictional character, Toby King, from my new novel “Resurrecting Tobias,” has a few words for you:
“Trace it all back, and we arrive at that moment. What if we had had that child? What if I had simply gone to college, graduated and gotten a sports writing job like I planned? What if we had settled down in suburbia with the picket fence, two cars and a couple of children, living the American Dream till death do us part? Those are the shouldas, couldas and wouldas that will keep you up at night for a lifetime.
But we choose our paths, and we crash and burn along those bastards, and in the darkness of night they come back with a vengeance, ripping and tearing at our waking hours until the past, present and future all carry the scars of our decisions, and the scar tissue builds up until we no longer resemble the persons we once were.”
Can you relate?
How many more chances do you think you have?
So Yes, I Have a Secret
I suspect I’ll continue to watch “The Voice,” and I’ll continue to cheer on those who are taking their chance and risking it all. They may, indeed, crash and burn. They may, indeed, be forced at some point to toss aside their dreams, and follow the path of least resistance, succumbing to the economic reality.
But for those contestants, cheered on by yours truly, that moment of surrender has not yet arrived. They see their chance and they are taking it. They are embracing it, desperately clinging to it, and breathing in every last ounce of joy from it.
And when their final days are upon them, and the twilight settles down on their lives, changing their brilliant colors to black and white, they will look back on that magic moment when they tossed aside their self-doubts and their fears and they said to hell with it.
They listened to that voice inside of them and they tried.
At the very least they tried.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)