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Mr. Manilow is right

Friday, April 27, 2012

Everyone who knows me well knows that my favorite singer/songwriter/performer in all of the music world is Barry Manilow. That generally elicits some groans and snickers from many people, and I've come to take that in stride. (And for the record.........I am NOT a "Fanilow". There is a HUGE difference between people who go by that moniker and those of us who are simply fans of the man.) While Barry's music has inspired and spoken to me throughout my adult life, it's his story that is most amazing.

Barry grew up in a very rough neighborhood in Brooklyn. His mother was divorced from his father, and they lived with his immigrant grandparents. His mother remarried when Barry was young, and it was this man - Willie - who introduced Barry to the world of music. He started out in the mail room at CBS, married his childhood sweetheart, only to realize that his was not the "typical" American dream. He ended up divorcing that sweetheart, and began the trek to realize his dream. He wanted to compose, produce, and play music for others.

Wait, you say...................for "others'?? Is he not a singer himself?? The answer to that is - yes. He's a very reluctant singer! He started his career as a piano player for Bette Midler and actually produced her first album. He ended up opening for her when she went on her first tour...........and then came "Mandy". The rest is pretty much history.

Oh, except the two times his agents led him down horrible paths and he went bankrupt.

Oh, and except for the time that he thought the Broadway play he had co-written with one of his best collaborators was finally being staged only to find that the producer misused the funds he had and didn't earn enough otherwise to get the production off the ground.

Oh, yeah, and except for all the times he got blasted in music reviews and was essentially labeled as someone who would fade from the limelight as he lost his following.

This is the man who, at an age over 60, is still entertaining audiences around the globe - despite having had recent hip surgery.

This is the man who Rolling Stone Magazine dubbed the "the showman of our generation", and whom Frank Sinatra pointed out during an awards ceremony early in Barry's career and said "He's next!"

Despite the odds stacked against him, Barry never let go. His dreams were realized as he HAS written, produced, and played for others...........many others. But his dreams ended up extending far beyond what he originally envisioned because he allowed them to. While he was quaking in his 70's platform boots, he didn't allow fear to hold him back - to dream outside the dream - to "explore strange new worlds" so to speak.

In this journey I've called My Life, I had often wondered in the past about the dreams I've left behind. I've finally learned at the tender age of 56 that the dreams I've left behind don't matter. It's the dreams I've yet to realize that DO. It's THOSE dreams I still need to be strong enough, courageous enough, to go after. To not let die. To live and chase.........to an end that I may not yet also realize is out there.

The part of this journey - my weight loss - that seems to have stalled me cannot stall me any longer. I've had to pause and look at the successes I've had since I was at my highest weight of 237 lbs. 13 years ago:
1. I managed to shed 90 lbs after that weight was hit. In all the years since, I've not gained back to above 190 lbs.
2. In the last year, I've managed to stay below 180 lbs.
3. In the last 6 months, I've dipped back into the high 160's twice.
4. I've gotten more active than I've been in years, and have discovered distance biking.
5. I'm learning to be kinder to the lady in the mirror.
What I still don't have quite right............what I still have not yet accomplished - and what I hope to turn around once and for all during a Spark Team challenge I'm in (BLC 19 to be exact):
1. Get my mindset to finally acknowledge that this is NOT a "diet". This is an eating STYLE!
2. Remember that the numbers on the scale are not the biggest indicator of my health.
3. Remember that staying healthy depends on staying active as well.
4. I am never too old to dream.

With the help of a friend and Advocare, I've embarked on a new eating plan. Not a plan that eliminates specific foods.........but a plan that incorporates healthy eating habits that seem to be working for me. I have found that I need the structure and accountability right now.........even more so than what I was able to get from Weight Watchers all those years ago when I shed those initial 90 lbs.

My dream? To bike cross-country. Last year, we did a short, 110 mile, 2 day trek from the central part of the state to the west end of the state. This summer, we're going to traverse the entire state going from west to east and biking along the shores of Lake Erie. We have weekend rides planned as well this year...........and after that? We'll see...............!

Here's to dreams, Barry. You've said it best many times............... this life is NOT a dress rehearsal.

"Deep in my heart, there´s a trembling question
But I am sure that the answer´s gonna come somehow
Out there in the dark, there´s a burning candle
And if I can think, if I can talk
If I can stand, if I can walk, if I can dream
I´ll make my dream come true" ------- Barry Manilow "If I Can Dream"
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You have accomplished so much already; you will certainly reach your goal.
    It is true - this life is NOT a dress rehearsal.

    3352 days ago
    Wonderful sentiments!

    Thanks for sharing....

    3352 days ago
    Love it!
    3352 days ago
    Psst....I'm a fan too!! Love the way you've equated his struggles with our own struggles to get healthy. I see you're a biker. There's a message board here that's a biking challenge. My biking is limited to the gym, but there are some serious road warriors on the "team". Basically, you set a goal for the month, then post your progress to the goal. The name of the "challenge" is Biking Challenge....May 2012. Posting links in blog responses never works, but I'm sure you can search it easily enough. Come join us!!
    3359 days ago
    Linda -- wonderful thoughts. I especially found helpful that "this is not a diet." I can SO get into that mentality, and then, when I get to maintenance, I'm at a loss for what to do! Thanks!
    3374 days ago

    I really enjoyed reading this and have always loved Barry Manilow. I didn't realize how many challenges he has faced, but you're so right -- do not give up and do not focus on the "might have beens."

    3374 days ago
    You my dear friend...have a way with words! I so enjoyed reading what you had to say and I am quite certain that as you walk the path of life you will most definitely realize your dreams. BTW....I too love Barry!
    3374 days ago
  • ELIZ181
    Wow that is very thought provoking.

    You will make your dreams come true I am sure of it.
    3374 days ago
    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. I don't doubt for a minute that you will attain your dreams.

    BTW-I bought panniers for my bike yesterday; I doubt that there are any 110 mi trips in my near future but I'd like to make it my "around town" form of transporation.
    3374 days ago

    Great stuff!!
    3374 days ago
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