By the time I was 16 I had a very simple goal. All my decisions and choices were based on this one goal: I wanted my entire life to be like working at a summer camp. I was 16 after all, I had no clue how else to express such a dream.
This was not only my dream and my leitmotiv, it became my way of life. Most told me it was an impossible pipe dream. That such a life simply did not, could not, should not exist.
As I write this, I am sitting on my boat in Mexico watching my husband surf. But such a life does not exist…
I’ve never had a time punch job. I’ve never fantasized of escape from within a cubicle while bitching about Becky who took my juice from the common fridge.
“Danielson. close your eyes and imagine the perfect tree. With that image in mind, open your eyes and start cutting. Keep snipping away at the branches until your tree matches the one you imagined.”
I’ve taken Miyagi’s lesson on how to trim a bonsai in Karate Kid and applied it to my life. Or have I?
It wasn’t easy. We all get caught up in the traps of needs and wants. Bigger home, new car, up-to-date gizmos (I have my eye on you iPad!) But in the end, it all comes down to the tell-all question: If your house burns down, what will you grab first?
Other than children and pets, people always go with the memories – the photo albums. I recently attended an ocean crossing seminar.The biggest tip they proudly gave us was not in regards to radars and communication systems but to burn our pictures on a DVD and stow it in a ditch bag.
So when it really trickles down to what matters most to people it is our experiences and memories.
Yet when a young woman explains to her family, her friends and all those who will guide her that she wants a life and a career based on amazing experiences she is called a pipe dreamer. We don’t want it for others because of our self-imposed rules and regulations of a sad and bland life. Fun is not associated with responsibility. Fun is for the immature who will never grow up.
It’s now dawning on me though how I’ve always lacked a certain je-ne-sais-quoi. It’s as if there is a void – something missing which I’ve always struggled to put my finger on. In this summer camp life of mine I’ve organized parades, managed rock bands, coordinated art & music competitions, trained thousands of high school students in leadership and student empowerment, directed art galleries, worked on race cars… It’s been a hell of a ride so far! But the missing link – I believe – is that I’ve done a lot yet I’ve always been a spectator. My first ever paying job was to be a clown in a winter carnival. That slowly became busker coordinator for events and then that grew beyond my wildest dreams. But I am no longer a clown. I make others do, and then I run off to prepare another stage for others to perform upon. And then I stand aside and watch.
I’m not standing by anymore. I will tell my stories, I will paint the world a brighter happier place. I’m no longer a camp counsellor in this summer camp of life, I’m a participant and watch out because my laughter is loud but infectious!