My Imagined Life Vs. My Real One

We all have imagined lives. Ones that we dreamt about when we were young and probably still dream about now. If you proclaim to be currently living your dream life then you're either extremely lucky or just plain lying. I won't lie in saying that I don't often dream of the life I'm "supposed" to live. In fact, it comes to me almost every night, in the dead of night, when the dark quiet is deafening. The time in all of our lives when our problems and worries seem to be magnified and prevalent.

As many of my close friends will tell you, I don't elude to the fact that I suffer from what I call "dangerous nostalgia." I constantly live in the soft, warm bubble of pleasant memories. The secureness of what once was instead of what is and what's to be. I know it's not necessarily healthy for ones emotional state but it's not something I can help, although I am trying. I guess what I'm trying to convey here is that this will be a little snapshot into my perception of my current life compared to what I imagined it to be.

As a teen, like most, I had delusions of grandeur of being a rockstar to being a multi-millionaire with yachts and mansions everywhere. However, as I grew older, my expectations and wants began to become more tamed and mateur. The rockstar turned to a writer and the mansions turned to bungalows. Not so far back, in fact, I day dreamt about being a successful writer with little places in Austin, El Paso and Santa Fe. I fantasized about doing regional book tours to all three places, educating and sharing my passions with like-minded youth and people. I imagined my little bungalow in Santa Fe, during the winter, writing at my desk while my wife hummed and cooked in the background. "Another shot of Chinaco, dear?" she'd ask and I'd nod in acceptance. We'd host exuberent BBQ parties in the summertime while our children swam nearby. We'd take long weekend drives into El Paso to visit and embrace my parents, family and nieces, all the while shaking hands to "brilliant novel, Esteban!"

Just a few weeks ago, I had a semi-concious "vision", if you will, where my hair was greyer and thinner than usual and I appeared to be at a book signing, answering questions, taking pictures and such. I looked up and amid the faces, one stood out to me. She was almost recognizable but not quite. Beaming and smiling with pride in a blanket of glow. She then nodded, turned and disappeared among the crowd. Upon coming out of this vision, I thought, "Maybe this is a sign that my ultimate success is still to come. Maybe she's the one that will contribute to my happiness and inspiration!"

What is success really though? It's different to many people, I suppose. Not to toot my own horn but, I've had my own restaurant, worked independantly for Willie Nelson's studios, had a song distributed by a major record label (which went nowhere) and am having a poem published next month but...it just doesn't seem enough. In fact, I often tell my dad, "Just you wait, dad, I'm going to make you proud one day!" in which he classically answers with, "Stop saying that! You have already made your mother and I very proud! You've accomplished more than most people your age!" I suppose in some ways he's right but...it just doesn't seem enough.

My life now, well, it's no surprise that it's not me. Although, it's a great job, it just isn't my forte'. I'd much rather be sitting in coffee shops, observing people and creating the characters for my next story or poem. I'd much rather be in the haze of too much wine watching lovers coo and quarrel. Friends laugh and embrace. Shy, artsy types sulk in the shadow heavy-corners of the room. I want to create and destroy worlds in the minds of readers! I want a reader to just hug his brother because a character in my story reminded him of him! Most importantly, however, I want go get home, throw my jacket on the leather recliner and say, "I'm home, honey. What a day!" In which "she" will respond, "Shot of Chinaco, dear?" Smiling ear to ear, I will beam, "Ahh...you know me so well!"

Thanks for reading.

Esteban Luis Soto (c) 2011

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