In a world of 100-dollar haircuts, Friday night drinks, and the ability to give my dog all the toys she wants, it’s easy to lose sight of what your original end-goal is. It’s even worse when Cosmo reminds you every month of that ever-changing, must-have item of the season… and I’m sure they’re not using the term loosely.
Many a time, I’ve written/thought about the growing pain in my life of not currently doing what I originally set out to.
Blame the hedonistic nature of a university student and/or the ability to justify why a fourth-year in psychology isn’t worth my time (read: bitter) and/or the skill to always look on the bright side of life , but here I am, almost three years later, a marketer in an awesome company filled with great people and countless opportunities to travel, filled by a void (irony fully intended) of a dream unfulfilled.
On the one hand, I’m voicelessly screaming at the sheer idea of a dream; a goal; a damn structure that I’ve hopelessly fallen out of line of. Is it the pain of my generation that we paint a picture of what we hope to achieve and consequently believe that anything outside of these lines is considered failure? And it’s not nice believing you’ve fucked up - I can tell you that much.
Seems the generation that precede us thematically tell me that life is what you make it, a ‘go with the flow’ attitude if you will, which is a damn pain because I’m quite sure it’s the group before theirs that told me I needed to envision what my life would be like at 30 and stick to it, i.e. this is what all your decisions will be based on, so choose carefully. Oh, and let’s not forget the group of people that tell you to live by your own accord; that it’s not what others tell you that counts, but what you believe in. Well, fuck you because I need structure in my life, damn it.
So here it is; a plethora of advice and options and belief systems, and just like with almost everything else in life, you stick to one until you think you’ll be better rewarded elsewhere, and off you go… until one day, you look back and kill yourself with shoulda, coulda, wouldas.
I want to be a writer.
I want to be a psychotherapist.
I also want to stick on this path I’ve stumbled upon, because anything else will leave me with a pay cut, a demotion, and the nerve-wracking insecurity of not being able to pay my next phone bill with money I might not have because of this damn economy.
These people who feed you with the idea of a dream don’t actually stop to tell you how scary that dream is, especially if somewhere along the road usually taken to pay student loans and mortgages, you then decide that the view on the beaten path might have been better. And the people who tell you that mid-level management is the ambition to have, well, they don’t tell you that unless you grew up wanting the security to retire at 40 (assuming you do really well and don’t kill yourself physically on the way, as those guys in Finance usually do), you’ll be bored to shits and that sucks, considering 70% of your waking time is spent in the workplace.
If you’ve made it this far, I thank you. And I promise there’s a point to be made.
You hear about the stories of successful people, who more often than not, have a tidbit to tell you about a time in their lives when they gave up everything to pursue what they felt was their purpose in life. This ends with them saying that it was the best decision they’ve ever made, that the hardships were well worth it, and that the key is to remain unwavering even when all you can do is survive on ramen and fresh air for a year.
Now that’s all fine and dandy, but right now, you’re only sounding like someone from a previous generation, telling me things about the end goal without actually telling me what it was really like (painting a presumptuous picture aside) trying to get there. This fear is paralyzing, but nothing will get me moving quite like the truth.
I am scared, and as is usually the case, I picture the worst case scenario where I’m concerned: homelessness and taunts about how stupid I was to have given up a comfortable life for an impossible dream.
And loan sharks. Even if I never borrowed money illegally. You never know.
In addition to telling me it will be okay, tell me how you dealt with this. Because I’m sure there was a point where you would have gone through it too, and I need the real kind of inspiration.