The tension between what is … and what isn’t

It poemAsk a man about his dreams or passions. 
When you push beyond the sex jokes, you’re likely to get little more than a hollow stare.  At least that’s what I get when I ask guys about their pursuits and passions.   Many of them have long forsaken their boyhood dreams in order to afford the time and costs of manhood responsibilities … kids, wife, job, house, vehicles … the usual list.

There’s no doubt that these gifts in life deserve our time and energy.  We ought to take care of the things that take care of us.  But at the end of the day, do we have to always sacrifice our passions and dreams to be responsible men?

I have my own opinions and experiences, but I am curious about yours.  So, if you have a minute, leave a comment below:

Do you feel tension in your life between taking care of your responsibilities and pursuing your dreams?


Photo by Joe Covello.  It is rumored to be of John Steinbeck, but that’s a hard truth to nail down. 


  1. Chris Rawlings says:

    Yes. Definitely.

  2. NO tension on my end. I don’t have time to deal with that anymore. Maybe that’s what a midlife crisis is for? Are you having a midlife crisis toby?
    After my dad retired, I remember him talking about this a lot. He said he suddly felt free to do all the things he had wanted to. But by then he was too old and tired to do most of them. That left him kinda pissed off for a few years. Then l him and a few other old fart buddies started doing the RV thing. Now he spends all his time working on an old vintage Airstream trailer and even learned how to use the internet like a normal person so he could buy vintage parts for it. He’s on the road now headed up your way to Alaska. He said he and his cronies are gong to be the first crew through the ALcan when the ice melts. Look for him. He’s got an old restored moped in the back of his pickup pulling an old but shiny 30ft airstream. He’s in hog heaven. Too bad he waited so long. We could have been doing this together.

  3. Yes I feel tension. But what are our choices? Drop everything and go find myself? When I got done I’d find myself with no family or job.

  4. tobystevens says:

    Thanks for the input. Doug, what you mentioned about your dad is what I’m fishing around for. I’m trying to find out where most guys are. Why? I get my own fulfillment out of helping other guys awaken dead dreams inside themselves. So I thank you for all your input.

  5. Tension? no. Do I feel loss? Only sometimes but it is fleeting. When I signed up “til death us do part” I knew my “single” life was over and a new life had begun. That life was entitled: “greater love has no man than he lay down his life for”: his wife and later kids. The things I wanted to pursue as “dreams” were willingly put on hold in place of learning to love another person. To lift them up. That is, to help her become all God wants her to be. When kids came along- my life was willingly dedicated to bringing up the next generation. To have the joy of introducing them to the Creator, to awaken in them their own dreams, to be there thru the challenges and share in the joys.

    The funny thing is I found when I sacrificed my dreams, God had a way of bringing them about in his own way. It shows up when my wife encourages me to go hiking, skiing, or other “things” she knows I gain great pleasure from. It shows up when I share with my kids a moment of time doing something we all enjoy. I have now been married 20 years and my oldest is about ready to graduate. I do look forward to “retiring” but until then, I see value in sharing and encouraging the dreams of my family.

    Are there still items in which I beleive I would like to pursue? Sure, but they pale in comparison to knowing I have invested what God has asked me to in my wife and kids. Deep inside I believe there still will come a day when I will be invited to do great and wonderful things that I thought I might enjoy those many years ago. BUT it may not be until I step across from here to another Kingdom. If I still care about them then, I shall enjoy them with reckless childhood abandon, and with faith enjoy them with my kids as well.

    My dreams? I see them as God’s dreams for me and they will be realized- but it will be on His timetable not mine.