I wanted to be like Bruce Springsteen.
Fans, world tours, it all sounded pretty good.
Then I looked in the mirror and realized my desires were more in line with a Kardashian than a musician. Was I just wishing to be a guy who has written a hit or did I actually want to write a song?
A moment of truth. Damnit I hate moments of truth.
Stardom and fame are what Bruce has when the cameras are on but did I want what Bruce had or did I want what Bruce does?
What he does is he plumbs the depths of humanity and puts it into music. He’s a master of craft. If my admiration was genuine then this is where I needed to be.
If I just wanted the fruits of somebody else’s labor I’d be condemning myself to life in a pipe dream.
“If only I were…”
We say it all the time. Insert any adjective: famous, rich, sponsored, etc. A ‘cameras on’ type of trope.
“then I could…”
We give away all our power by proclaiming we can’t do things for reasons beyond our control.
But the moment of truth revealed that I didn’t need lightning to strike. If I wanted to channel Bruce all I had to do was pick up my 6-string and try to make a tune.
Well that was terrifying because I couldn’t blame the universe any longer. Now I had to actually go and do something. Sh*t.
That’s when the epiphany hit.
If we want to be a rocker, a dancer, a painter, an athlete this is good news. These are not titles that we have to wait for gatekeepers to bestow. We are not the labels that somebody else decides. We are what we choose to do every day. Setting our alarms and doing the thing, that’s what being a professional is. We can be pros right now if we really want. This is what it takes to be in the club.
And not just for the stuff on T.V. If we want to be head chef, a venture capitalist, a senior manager then start making recipes, invest in companies, help some new people around the water cooler. We don’t need permission. We just need to do it. Do it and proclaim with pride that we are an athlete, a dancer, an investor, a leader, a good friend, a good husband, a good parent, a good son. That’s all it takes to be in the club. That’s what it takes.
If you get down on it even just a little bit every day eventually somebody might notice. Somebody might turn a camera on, give you that promotion, or just thank you for being friggin’ sweet. And they also might not. But you’ll know who you are when you stand up and look in the mirror.
So now I face my test. My reflection looks back and asks, ‘are you gonna go write a song or what?’
I let out a sigh, grab my helmet, and walk out to The Hawk. Destination: Falls City. To a little place called ‘The Last Frontier Saloon’. It’s kind of strange for a guy on the wagon at 10am on a Sunday but I’m riding out. There’s truth in those walls and I need to go be around it for a little while if I am what I claim to be. There’s life in that place and somebody needs to write a song about it.
I gota ride out If I’m gonna face myself in the mirror tomorrow. Because that’s what Bruce would do.