How You Know

How do you know you’re chasing the right dream?
Easy. How do you feel when you’re away from it?
I gladly tell people that one of the reasons I wake before dawn to write is because if I go too many days without writing music, I get difficult to be around. Grouchy for no apparent reason. So I write.
I know I’m a writer because when I don’t write, I miss it. I know I’m a conductor for the same reason. I hunger for the time rehearsing and discovering. Without these things, I am not me.
So as you decide whether to pursue a dream, take a few moments to be apart from it. See what it feels like and what you miss. It will be a great compass for you as you head out.
Or, in my favorite passage from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet,

“This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity.”

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