Change for a Year

Take a year. Change your life.

Singing from the Mountaintop and Achieving Your Dreams


I started blogging because I hated myself and I wanted to change. So many people I knew were feeling suffocated. Life has a way of doing that, of slowly taking over, creeping in from the edges until those visions of a wide open future become more and more narrow.

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” -Henry David Thoreau

I don’t want to die with music in my heart still unsung, a whole playlist of hopes and dreams that never got a chance to make noise.  So I created this blog and challenged myself to pick a new adventure each year, to each year sing another song from my playlist.

Today I read a great post by Christian Mihai:

“And, truth be told, it’s easy to believe in a dream when you don’t have to really stand up for that dream, when you’re living a comfortable life. But when things change, that’s when your dream either withers away or becomes the only thing that defines you.”

But sometimes dreams fade because you’re comfortable.  There’s always tomorrow. There’s always next year. And then you get trapped by that life — not necessarily a bad life — but not quite the song you wanted to sing either. So you live, as we all must, occasionally content, sometimes full of quiet desperation.

I’m six months into this first project — going vegan and dropping 100 pounds — and my mind is beginning to wander. Other dreams and projects are pulling at the periphery. Actual dreams are hard work to achieve. And that’s why I picked just one. One year. One all-consuming dream. It seemed simple enough in concept: no matter how busy life gets, everyone has a few hours a week they can dedicate towards something. All it takes is focus.

And here I am, with only six months left! I’m at the top of the hill, the tipping point, and it seems like I just started. A year-long dedication goes quite fast. It’s easy to see how people lose whole years. I’ve wandered into other dreams this year and I’ve looked forward to other projects for next year and I’ve proven just how easy it is to get off track. Dreaming can be exciting, and sometimes new dreams spring out of the blue, like becoming a full-time writer.

Without this blog though, I never would have even started. When people ask me why I blog, I’ll tell them it’s because I dream, and it’s the only way I know to turn those dreams into reality. But one race at a time. One song at a time. First, I have to cross that first finish line and complete my first song.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
-Emily Dickinson

Time does go fast, and life is precious, and it’s easy to keep on hoping and die with a song still in your heart. In keeping with that theme, here’s an amazing, award-winning short film:

Or if you just want to rock out and enjoy life, turn up the speakers and thank Abbey Gallagher. She turned me on to one of my new favorite bands, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and they will be rocking Alpine Valley in three weeks time. Tickets will soon be booked.

I passed once on seeing George Carlin. “I’ll catch him next year,” I said. Months later he died, and I forever missed my chance.

Rock out with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals:

Or get mellow and groovy:

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  1. Keep going. You’ll get it!

  2. Congratulations on getting through six months. I know it’s tough — I made a decision to change about eight months ago — and sometimes it’s a bit difficult to keep your eyes on the goal, but it seems like you’re doing great! I definitely admire your progress!

  3. So inspirational. It’s amazing that you were able to see what you didn’t want in life and transformed it into this very positive ‘new’ you. Way to turn your dreams into reality. Keep going!!! 🙂

  4. Congratulations on reaching your halfway point! It’s all downhill from here! Your comment about missing out on the chance to see George Carlin struck a chord with me. I had an opportunity to go see The Ramones in the mid 90’s. Free ticket, a ride to and from the show, and a meal from a fast food place of my choice would have all been included. I declined in favor of staying home to watch the latest episode of Seinfeld, which I could have easily watched anytime. (deep sigh.)

    • I lived in Florida and had a chance to go to Universal Studios for free as well and passed because I was tired. Not quite the same as missing the Ramones, but I think people do that all the time, at least I know I do.

  5. ‘A year-long dedication goes quite fast. It’s easy to see how people lose whole years.’ You identified precisely why I retired early and dedicated the next ten years to seeing the world one country at a time. I wish you well on your present and future goals. – Mike

  6. Tear in my eye. Thank you for the inspiration!

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