Doubling Down...
To Make Dreams Come True

I have written scores of essays about the transformative experience that I had while dancing with death. I have always been driven, but that drive of the past pales in comparison to my leading death as we danced on two different occasions. I have also mentioned that one cannot fully comprehend how that experience changes one unless the reader has danced with death also. Intellectually, you might grasp it but not in your gut. To be honest with you, I would not have understood that phenomena prior to my dances either. However, I get it now. Trust me.

Additionally, I am sensitive to the strange dichotomy of wanting to write things that will be difficult for many to understand completely. It is similar to having a mother describe the birthing process to someone who has not given birth to a baby. Therefore, several weeks ago, Kristin, my daughter, and Ayanna, my granddaughter, were over for Sunday dinner. We have had that routine for decades.

In an attempt to address the phenomena of writing essays that cannot fully be understood, I asked Kristin what were the substantive changes that she observed in me after my dances with death. I do not know why she was reluctant to answer my question, but before I could rephrase my inquiry, Ayanna volunteered and rattled off a half dozen observations within less than two minutes that she observed.

A couple weeks later, at our Sunday dinner, I reflected upon my life. I commented about successes and failures that have marked my journey down my yellow brick road. I am happy with my successes, and I have coped with my failures. I mentioned that I take to heart what Teddy Roosevelt said, "...if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." Trust me; Roosevelt's Man in the Arena is an emotional guidepost for my life. 

However, I regret that I failed regardless how nobly I might have tried to succeed. Again, I asked Kristin what she thought even though she did not address my question a couple weeks before. She was not reticent to give me her opinion this time. She said that I ought to try again at one particular previous failed attempt.

The three of us discussed this for several minutes. However, I was reluctant to proceed as Kristin suggested, because I had some personal reasons. Finally, they had to go home. I walked them to their car and bid them good-bye. I returned to clean-up the dinner dishes as I played out in my head the disappointment not being able to try again at a previous failed attempt.

As I relived that and other failures, I started the dishwasher. As it began to clean the dishes, Steve Jobs' comment about creativity suddenly came into my head. "Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something."

I processed Jobs' comment. I understand what he meant; it happens to me all the time. Then it happened again. My mind raced creatively like a bullet train in Japan. Watch this very short video, and you will know what occurred within my mind.

Things in my life started to come together quickly. That evening, I wrote down several things that best describe who I am.

  1. I am a dreamer. I use what Bobby Kennedy said about dreaming all the time, "Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not."
  2. I have danced successfully with death along with a long list of others like Alan Seeger, Steve Jobs, Kurt Vonnegut, Abraham Lincoln, John Kennedy, John Donne, Saul Alinsky, Randy Pausch, Henry David Thoreau, and the list goes on. Therefore, I want to live a healthy and long life. Hence, I do 45-minutes of cardiovascular exercise and 600-crunches every day. 
  3. I am willing to dare greatly even if I fail.

Now, for those that have read any of the essays in Last Lecture and Dancing with Death, I have mentioned that even though I was driven prior to my dances, after them, I am on steroids. However, my chat with Kristin and Ayanna has increased my level of drive and determination even further. I can taste it. Therefore, I went to bed late that night mulling over and over how best to deal with one of my dreams.

The next day, I began writing this essay. Getting a plan for the future is essential for someone who has danced with death and who is 72. Additionally, being a dreamer is great, but being a dreamer necessitates working at the realization of the dream. Merely dreaming does not make the dreams reality. I made of list of additional goals:

  1. Interview Obama, Aung San Suu Kyi, Clarence Page
  2. Get an additional job so that I can afford to return to Myanmar
  3. Fix up the house beyond what I have already done
  4. Find my father's ruby ring
  5. Address some personal matters

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As I address my goals, I will dream dreams and say why not as did Bobby Kennedy. However, if I fail, I will fail while daring greatly. I am not going to be like the "timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

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This essay is honest and to the point. However, it is about me. One question remains, what about your failed dreams?

Burma flag

Burmese independence flag

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On Seeing the Light

On Seeing the Light

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Connecting The Dots

Connecting the Dots

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Darkest Before Dawn

Darkest Before Dawn

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Bobby Kennedy

Bobby Kennedy

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The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

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Dancing with Death

Dancing with Death

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The Hand May Be a Little Child's

"The Hand May Be a Little Child's"

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Man in the Arena

Man in the Arena

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An old man and his grandson

An Old Man and His Grandson

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Best of Times

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