I was inspired by this post from No Passing Fancy to talk about a subject that is actually quite difficult for me. When I told her that her post had inspired me and that I was either going to write about it or do it in a voice post, she insisted that I write. I must be a sucker for a pretty face and a pretty voice or else I’m just really used to taking orders from women because here we are.
That post is all about her desire to follow her dreams. I was at lunch yesterday with a friend and talking about my friend Art Shimko and how one of the things I admire most about Art is his willingness to follow his own dreams. If there is someone I know and they have a dream they’d like to follow I am the most encouraging person in the world. It is too bad that I can’t be an encouragement for myself.
Some time ago, perhaps in the summer of 2014, I was given a writing assignment. I was tasked with writing my own obituary. The idea behind the assignment was that if I wrote my obituary I could see where I wanted to end up in life and then I would know in what direction to take myself. I liked this idea then and think it has merit now. However, as of this writing I have not completed even a first draft of this assignment. I still think about this quite a bit but I’m no closer to a solution than I was when it was first posed to me.
I consider myself to be a prisoner of practicality. When I was a child I never had that big dream for what I wanted to do with my life. I mean I had abstract thoughts of being married and having children but even in those instances I never had a specific type of woman in mind or a number of kids or how many boys or girls. I never even had a dream place to live. So when it came to a dream job I came up with nothing.
This hurt me in college. I majored in history because I like history. When people would ask me what I intended to do with a degree in history I just shrugged my shoulders and said “I don’t know”. I could have gone on to school for something else, I could have taught or worked in a museum or something like that. But none of those options held any appeal to me and as I got closer to a degree without any clue for what I would do next, the stress began to mount and that’s when a tough enough college experience turned into a nightmare.
If I had gone back to college for a sixth year and another year of uncertainty, I’m not sure you’d be reading this now. I don’t say such things lightly. It is just that’s how bad things had gotten for me those last couple of years. As I have said previously, I had lots of friends and a church family that I loved. Neither of those things were a good enough explanation for why I was in school at all. Those two things weren’t good enough reasons for me to put myself through the torchuredifficulty of another year.
I believe that I have a place in this world. I may not have been a big dreamer when it came to my future but I always assumed that by the time I hit 35 I would have figured it out even if I hadn’t quite gotten there yet. And yet, here we are and I have not clue one of what I am meant to do, where I am meant to live or with whom I am meant to spend the rest of my life, if anyone. Worse yet, I haven’t the foggiest idea how I’m supposed to figure this out.
I have written before and will make no secret of the fact that I don’t particularly care for uncertainty. I’m suspicious of the unknown which I think is partly because my mom used to insist I try a spoon full of some random food but never wanted to tell me what it was until after the fact. Note to anyone getting some bright ideas, I refuse to participate in this game as an adult.
So as I was saying, I dislike the unknown. So you can imagine how difficult it is for me to go through everything on a daily basis and not have clue one about what I am meant to be doing with my life. This won’t come as a shock to most of you I am sure but it is no picnic to exist inside my own head.
I think the most frustrating part is that I know that there are people out there who think that I lack ambition. I’ve essentially had members of my own extended family say as much and have even had one or two suggest that I am just lazy. I have an abundance of ambition but I don’t like to misdirect it. I can be as eager and motivated as anyone else. When my powers of concentration and focus are at their apex I develop incredible tunnel vision that can last for days or even weeks. When I care, I can work harder than anyone. My problem is that I haven’t found anything that I cared about in quite some time. Things that I have tried to do tend to fade almost as quickly as they have started.
Here is what I can tell you about myself. The first thing I know to be true about myself is that I do not need credit for anything. In fact, if truth be known I shy away from taking credit whenever I can. Walk into my apartment and you will not find a single trophy or plaque that I have won and it is not because I never won any. If I have a good idea and pass it on to someone else and they claim it as their own, so be it. In fact I would prefer it that way.
This is why a certain text message from a few weeks ago bothered me so much. A person wondered if we were now keeping score in the number of times that we had tried to contact the other and had either missed them or been ignored. Let me assure you all that the last thing I ever need or want to do in my life is keep score on anything. It gains me nothing.
The second thing I know about myself is that I enjoy starting projects more than I do finishing them. I’d rather be in on the ground floor of something than show up at the ribin cutting. A product of my inability to dream of a future for myself is that I do not commit to a particular vision of a project. If someone gives me an idea and that idea doesn’t fit my vision, I will make room for it if it is a good idea. I am not a “my way or the highway” type of personality. This does not mean that I am never forceful or argumentative because I am both of those things. But even if I do stick to my guns that does not mean I never listen. I hear more than most people who have argued with me think that I do.
People often ask me what my passion is on the theory that I should just pursue my passion. If I can be honest, I am not even sure how I would answer that question. There was a time that I would have said that sports were my passion but I don’t believe that they are anymore. Yes, they are still of interest to me but so are a lot of things. Old sitcoms could have been called a passion of mine at one time but that is hardly true now.
I started AudiobookEmpire.com because of an interest I have in Audiobooks. I thought perhaps they had become a passion. Maybe they still are but working so hard on that site and having so many problems without a lot of success (not that good things didn’t happen) made me wonder if I could ever make something of that. That’s sort of when that stopped being fun and started to be a chore.
My struggle is this. I feel like I am a prisoner of practicality. My wildest dreams aren’t very wild. While I have not yet completed that obituary assignment I did create a bucket list for myself. Most items on it were things like: places I’d like to visit, things I’d like to experience, people I’d like to meet or things I might want to learn or even try once. One of those things I thought I might like to try once was getting up on stage for amateur night at a comedy club. I think I’d like to do that once but not sure I’d ever want to do it more than that so don’t suggest it as my next career ambition.
The most painful realization for me is that when I try to look in to my own future, all I see is fog. Perhaps I am fated to end up doing some unknown job that I don’t really care much for but do it because it pays well enough. Perhaps I’ll settle for the fnext woman that pays me the time of day romantically speaking. The truth is that I cannot be told to follow my dream because I still don’t know what my dream really is.
I guess I always figured that life would be a series of things that happened to me and to which I would react. In other words I thought that if I just reacted to everything that I would eventually end up where I was supposed to be. It is just that breaking out of a reactive life and transitioning into a proactive life is a pretty monumental task.
I really don’t have anything picked out to go with this entry and found it a little bit depressing. So to combat the depression, here is a song about people who are not only happy but also shiny. They are shiny happy people.
Oh and so she doesn’t get mad at me, please check out my friend’s blog at ILikeTheRemix.com.