Dreams are a funny thing- they morph and change even seconds after you wake up, becoming more vague and diffused the longer you're awake.
This past week I was driving to Nashville to meet with some complete strangers to talk about intimate details of my music career. I knew I was going to hear a lot of things that I didn't want to about my career. It's hard to be a full-time musician. Only the best succeed. You have to follow a specific cookie cutter approach to make a living as a legitimate musician. You're going to have to work like a fool for almost no money. All things were important and necessary to say for the people that said them to me. Hard to hear, but very helpful. (Fortunately, I've been getting this same speech over and over again for the past 5 years as I've worked on becoming a full-time professional musician, and I've built up a thick skin.)
I ended up spending the night sleeping on a couch in the recording studio of a kind stranger that insisted I not drive back to St. Louis that night. As I lay in the studio trying to fall asleep, lots of thoughts flashed through my mind- why am I doing this? Is this really worth the tremendous sacrifices? What if I'm not good enough to be a career musician? Is this lifestyle one that I really want? I was dirty, dead tired and hungry, and I couldn't get my mind to stop racing. It was pitch black and completely silent in the studio- nothing but the sound of my own breathing to keep me awake.
And then it struck me. I do want to do this. I'm exhausted, discouraged, running out of money, sleeping on a futon, and I still have a deep, burning desire to do this. Even if this is how it has to be for a long time, it doesn't change one bit how much passion I have for living this life. I'd just been awake too many hours- the dream was getting hazy in my memory from the bloodshot insomnia of tight budgets and too many bills. I needed sleep.
Make sure when you want to give up on a dream that you really have changed- not that you have changed the dream.