Published 9:59 pm Tuesday, February 19, 2019
By Nathan Rice
Many people are familiar with a song by The Drifters called “On Broadway.” The song tells of a struggling artist on Broadway who sings about those who say he’ll quickly be heading home.
He defiantly states, “They’re wrong. I know they are, because I can play this here guitar, and I won’t quit until I’m a star on Broadway.” He’s chasing his dream, and nothing will dissuade him.
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Another song by a much lesser known group from the 1990s called This Train sings a much different tune. They realized their group wasn’t taking off, so they admitted their struggle in a song called “We’re Getting Nowhere Fast.” They sang, “We’re getting nowhere fast. We’re never gonna last.” They then add on, “Move into the guestroom — we hope our parents understand.”
I know most who write about chasing dreams will encourage everyone to keep pushing towards their goals, but I’d like to ask how we know when it’s time to hang up our wishes. Is it ever OK to admit that “We’re getting nowhere fast”?
I’m currently asking this about a dream that I’ve chased for a long time. Do I continually defy the odds and say that I won’t quit, or do I jump on board This Train and admit that it’s never going to last?
Two questions may help me, and others in my position, determine if it’s time to place the dreams in a memory box, or if we should continue to swing for the fences.
The first question is to ask if chasing the dream is hurting others. Big dreams and goals are great, but they become destructive if they cause us to lose sight of the things that are important to us or the people we love. We’re hurting those we love if we neglect them in the name of chasing a dream. We must force ourselves to look at the price we are paying to chase the dream. Not spending time with your children, ignoring your faith, and damaging your relationship with a spouse are just a few of the dangers of which we should be aware. Losing the people and things we claim to love the most to achieve a dream is a price most of us would say we aren’t willing to pay, but we must make sure our actions match our words.
The next question is to honestly ask if the love and passion we had for our dream is still alive and well. Sometimes we chase a dream so hard and so long that it becomes more of a habit than a passion. The excitement we felt towards the dream has been replaced with dread. There’s still a desire within us to reach the goal, but the excitement is gone. It’s more of a chore that we feel we must complete than a thrill ride we are enjoying.
We must not quit the first time going after our dreams feels like work, because it will be work, but we should take time to assess whether or not we still have the desire that led us on this quest. Sometimes life changes, and what we once felt was so important no longer seems like that big of a deal. Maybe we’ve already reached our real dream, but we haven’t realized it because we were so focused on our original quest.
I’m not encouraging anyone to quit chasing their dreams. I’m only asking that we pause for an honest assessment of our lives and our dreams.
I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet. The passion to reach my dream is still burning strongly. I’ve paused to honestly assess my life, and I cannot see anyone I am hurting. I am also careful to keep first things first while I chase my dream. I’m going to keep trying, but I’m doing so carefully.
Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.