Most people would agree that the world would be a worse place if someone they loved wasn’t in it.  And if anyone loves you, anyone at all, then it’s clear that the world would be a worse place if you weren’t in it.  Less beautiful, less interesting.

 

If you are mentally healthy enough to believe this obvious truth, then turn it around.  The world is better with you in it.  More beautiful, more interesting.

 

When I imagine a terrible future for our world, I’m usually not in it.  Or if I am, I’m a victim, and very passive.  This is telling, because it suggests a way forward.

I don’t go to music for the same things anymore.  That leaves me wondering.  What am I going to music for?

 

I once gave one of my books to a friend to edit.  He returned the book back to me fully edited.  When I asked him how he liked the book, he couldn’t tell me much about it.

 

I took my family to Universal Studios this Spring.  We were especially looking forward to the Harry Potter parks.  When I got there, I was hoping to feel the magic.

 

But at fifty years old I can no longer submit to make-believe the way I used to.  I don’t have the need to live in a fantasy anymore, because I like my life.  And so the park just seemed like a park, and I was feeling very down.

 

I heard a story about Robert de Niro that fascinates me.  He came into an audition one time and read for a part.  The producer remarked that he was astounded by De Niro because while all he seemed to be doing was reading the lines, it was utterly convincing.

 

I find it interesting that De Niro ’s performances are always “him.”  He doesn’t seem to be “acting” that differently in each movie.  And yet the characters he plays could never be mistaken for one another.

 

How does he do that? 

Every once in a while someone will give me a very nice compliment about my abilities, tell me I’m great.  But the truth is that such compliments are very confusing to me.  What’s confusing about being called “great” at something?

My favorite scene in Saving Private Ryan is where the Nazi soldier is fighting Mellish, the Jewish soldier.  The Nazi subdues Mellish by literally quieting him with soothing words so that Mellish will no longer resist the knife being stabbed into his heart. Obviously I’m not rooting for the Nazi, but I found an important lesson in the scene.

 

Prodigies are fun because you think, “Wow, if they can play like that now, what are they going to be like when they’re adults?”  But prodigies aren’t fun because a lot of them burn out.  Child actors, child musicians, only a very few end up staying the person they were at a young age.

 

It’s nice to be able to predict a winner.  Everyone tries.  Marshall Crenshaw was touted as the next big thing in the early 80’s (He’s actually amazing, but have you ever heard of him?)

 

From my end, as much as I’ve done, and done well, almost no one ever told me I was going anywhere.  In high school my English teachers loved me, but that’s 9 million nerdy kids.  Only one guy ever said he thought I had real potential:

 

There’s a silly proverb that says a broken clock is right two times a day.  Not too profound.  However, if you compare the broken clocks to clocks that supposedly work, you’d be surprised at how the broken clocks come out!

 

Recently I stood up to someone that has been damaging me.  I don’t usually do that.  Once I had, I was essentially free of the damage, because there was nothing this person could do to hurt me anymore.

 

And yet I still feel like attacking them.  I still find myself fighting them in my head.  I still think of them as the enemy even though they are defeated.

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Years of Possibilities (pdf or e-book)