I've been swamped lately, but I had a conversation recently that stopped me in my tracks. It was with a close friend who's also a professional musician. He said, "You know, I’ve played Madison Square Garden three times. What am I supposed to do next? I didn’t dream beyond this point." His words resonated with me deeply. I've graced the stage of Carnegie Hall multiple times myself, and yet, here I am, pondering the same existential questions. What do you do when you've not only reached but surpassed your wildest dreams, and find yourself surprisingly unfulfilled?
This emotional conundrum isn't unique to me or my friend; it's something many high-achievers grapple with. What's the next mountain to climb? How can I dream even bigger? What can I do to bring about more meaningful change in the world, or to feel a deeper sense of fulfillment?
Sometimes, the answer might be to pause and bask in gratitude for the present moment. But for many of us, the crossroads beckon with a multitude of directions. Some may continue jet-setting around the globe, performing in illustrious venues, savoring world-class wines, and networking with incredible people. Others might take a sharp turn, perhaps becoming a safari guide in East Africa or even switching gears to practice law.
The key takeaway for me is the liberating realization that life's path isn't set in stone. As I approach my 39th birthday, I'm more aware than ever of my own mortality and that of those around me. This newfound awareness has intensified my desire to live life exactly on my terms.
Being a musician is a dream come true, but it's also a career that evolves and becomes more complex with age. The trade-offs you're willing to make shift dramatically over time. I can't speak for plumbers or astrophysicists, but in the world of music, it's never too late to dream anew—even if that dream diverges from the one you've nurtured for decades.
So, as you navigate your own life's journey, remember to periodically check in with yourself. Reevaluate your dreams and goals, and make sure you're actively walking towards them. Life is too short and too unpredictable to do otherwise.