Down but not Out

I haven’t been here in a while. I was chasing dreams that evaded reality. I’m hoping to be this elephant:

You're alright. Keep moving.

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Make The Jump

© Eric Dufresne

© Eric Dufresne

The latest episode of HBO’s Girls (S03E06) really struck a chord with me. I generally find myself relating to Hannah’s stories but never has one struck so close to home as this time’s. For those who haven’t watched the episode yet, please note that this post contains MAJOR SPOILERS. So, please stop reading now. For those who’ve seen the episode (or don’t care enough), I beg your indulgence for a while. In this episode Hannah gets a job as an advertorial staff writer for GQ magazine. She ends up being surprisingly good at the job and her peers even think she could someday replace their boss. This immediately sets off warning bells in Hannah’s head and she argues that she, unlike the others, is a “real” writer, and is only doing this job as a temporary gig. Her peers knock her off the pedestal she placed herself on, and enlighten her about how they’ve actually been published in better publications than her, took up this job as a temporary gig themselves, and are quite definitely “real” writers. This is when Hannah feels these people have been sidelined from their dreams by the lure of corporate comforts, and agonised over not wanting to end up the same way. She quits but then is convinced into reconsidering by a peer who tells her she can do her personal writing on weekends and at night. The episode ends with her coming home, wanting to write, but being too tired and simply falling asleep.

It’s like they picked up my life and adapted it for this episode. I’m at a job that was supposed to be a “temporary gig”, for almost three years now. I thought I’d write on the side and maintain a blog and figure out what I really want to do, while working 9 to 5. I’ve barely done two of those things and I haven’t even done those regularly. On the show, Hannah is concerned that the money and the corporate perks will hold her back from quitting at a later point. I feared this as well. However, that’s not what will hold Hannah back later. I know this now because it struck me after watching that episode. It’s not the money that’s keeping me from pursuing my dreams and it’s not the perks. It’s the fear of not being good enough, or rather, capable enough to successfully follow my dreams.

I haven’t quit my job yet because I like the money or anything. I haven’t pursued my dreams because I’m afraid of failing at them. At this point, I don’t need anyone to tell me I’ll succeed, or give me an inspirational speech. What I need, and Hannah will as well, is a push. I need someone or something to come along and shove me over the deep end or else I’ll just be stuck here admiring the view off the edge. Scratch that. What I really need to do is make the jump myself.

On the path of life

This post is an answer to the prompt “You’ve been asked to speak at your high school alma marter—about the path of life (whoa). Draft the speech.

The path of life is defined by two constants—change and uncertainty. You may have it all figured out in your mind but things will most likely go a different way, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As your life path twists and turns, you will too. With age and experience, ideas change, views change, situations change, means change, and longstanding dreams can also change.

When I was 13, I wanted to grow up to be an astronaut. By the time I was 16, I didn’t want to anymore. But you’ll say that’s ok, the resolutions we make as little children and teenagers almost always change, and I agree with you.

But then again, when I was 18, I wanted to be married by the time I was 24, I thought anything beyond that would be too late. I’m 25 and single now and I can’t imagine wanting to be married for a few more years. But who knows, maybe in a few years I’ll change again.

Life changed me, the decisions I made changed me, the experiences I had changed me, and quite importantly, the people I surrounded myself with changed me.

I currently work in writing and marketing. For almost four years now I have tried to decide between the two disciplines, and failed at picking just one. If you absolutely forced me to choose, I am still uncertain about which one I’d choose.

I realised that things started becoming more and more uncertain after I left school. Uncertainty was everywhere—which college I’d get into, which one I’d choose, what jobs I would apply for, so on and so forth.

I’m sure by now you get the gist of what I’m trying to say, especially because I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times before. And even though this might just be a reiteration, it doesn’t make it any less real or true.

So, what I’m saying is, you never know where the path of life will take you. If you are the type of person who likes to have a plan, go ahead and make one, but allow for inconsistances when it comes to implementation. This path will take you to some beautiful places and some horrible ones, some happy phases and some lonely ones, but know that it might change at any moment. I’m not going to end by asking you to enjoy the journey, because a lot of times it will be far from enjoyable, but I am asking you to remember that things change and when you feel uncertain, lost, and down and out the most, try to fret a little less because you could be next in line for change.