[Sheet Music]

Lesson 98: Following Your Dreams/ Your Heart and Staying on Track

Following Your Dreams/ Your Heart

I knew very early in my life that music was my calling. I didn't quite dare to solely rely on it for a living, however, so I got a Master's degree in mathematics/ physics. I took a job teaching math, physics, music and information technology in high school ( temporarily I thought) and that's what I've been stuck with almost 20 years now. It's funny how easy it is to get stuck with something temporary - just to see what happens - and suddenly 15 years fly you by and nothing did happen because you were too occupied to enable anything to happen.

I have thought about things a lot lately and come up with a lot of answers. I have also come up with a lot of questions, a few of which are still unanswered:

  • is the only way to play like your life depended on it if it really does?
  • is the only way to have people realize you're serious about your art not to do anything else?

Dream big - you can't dream too big - the sky is the limit. Do not - never - ever let go of your dreams - this is the single most stupid thing you can do. I know what I'm talking about because I have lived it. Giving up on your dreams is unforgivable - there has to be a purpose/ a reason for your being here and your mission is to find it and then pursue it.

Staying on Track

I know everything about staying and not staying on track. I wasted ten to fifteen years "having a career" instead of practicing and developing musical skills. I played occasional ( easy) gigs from time to time, but I didn't practice. Then suddenly one day I woke up and realized I didn't have a life. This was Spring 2003, when I turned 40. I suffered a severe burn-out, that I'm still trying hard to recover from. Those wasted years are about the only thing I really regret in my life.

Now I'm back on track. There's nothing I can do to get those wasted years back, though - so I have to learn to live with it. I've finally realized that I have never and will never regret putting time into music, that no single second that I spend on music is wasted. I guess I have learned the hard way to value it more, since I once threw it away and found it again... Come to think of it, the things that I value in life more than anything are not money, not power but things that no money in the world can buy. Health, friendship, love, freedom, peace, spare time, clean, fresh air and water and last but not least: signs of mutual respect between fellow musicians, like:

  • Bob Russell linking to my website and actually having become one of my closest ( yet most distant) friends
  • a fellow musician whom I respect and look up to telling me that I have written a great song or played well
  • someone complimenting me on this website - I really spill my guts here, for good and for bad, this has really become my legacy, my life's work, my gift to the world - in the hope that what I have to say will make a difference for somebody, somewhere out there... :-)

Joke: A Wasted Life

A man sits on a bench in a park looking completely desperate. He covers his face with his hands and it is obvious that he is really unhappy. Another man sees this, stops and asks:
- What's up, man? You look like shit.
- I feel like shit, the man on the bench says.
- Well, what's the problem?
- You can't imagine. I have wasted my life.
- What do you mean? You're not even old yet?
- I have wasted such a lot of time. I have completely wasted 20 years of my life.
- What did you do? Did you drink, did you do drugs, did you go to prison?
- No, nothing the like. It's even worse than that.
- What could be worse? What did you do?
- I took a Master's degree in mathematics/ physics. Then I had a career, reached a high, respected position in the firm I worked for and in society and made a lot of money...

2006 Tomas Karlsson. All rights reserved.