Relaxing on a Saturday afternoon, listening to some great music in the backyard, I uttered out-loud a simple contemplation: “I wish I was in this band.” Upon hearing the statement, my daughter, just shy of 5-years-old, looked me straight in the eye and replied: “Dad, be the man that you are.”
It took me a second to absorb it. Did she really just say that? Did she really just think that? Stunned and a bit puzzled, I took a big mental step back and thought about what she said. “Be the man that you are.” With one quick response to a simple Saturday musing as I listened to Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears, she provoked a stirring of thoughts. I was reminded of a quote I once read from 19th Century writer Ralph Waldo Trine: “Do you want to be a power in the world? Then be yourself.”
We try to be our best (or we don’t and we feel guilty about it), but if we do not find immediate success, then rather than stay the course, we may wish to be someone else entirely. Wish for someone else’s good times, or fame, or wealth, or membership in a really cool band – it’s something we all have done. What fools are we to hope for someone else’s greatness when we have so much untapped power inside ourselves? This life, the one we breathe and drink and touch every day – well, this is the life we have. This is our here, our now, our reality. If we wish for dreams that can’t come true, then we may never tap into our true potential.
In addition, it is important to appreciate where you are. Soak it in. For better or worse, this is you, this is your life. Are you where you want to be? If not, you have the power to change it. But as you’re trying to get there, as you take a slow walk down the path to glory, why not just appreciate life for what it is? Why wish to be somewhere else or someone else? Why not smile through the tough times and the conflict? Find something good in it. In everything.
A good lesson for me for sure. And thank you to my daughter for reminding me.
By the way, that band really is sweet. If you like old-school, throw-down soul, mixed with high-energy funk and back-woods blues, then by all means, check out Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears.