It’s Time

Didn’t you know that this world
Is not meant to be dreamt in
But what hurts me the most
Is all the time that we’ve wasted
I’ve wasted all the dreams in my head
I’ll have to move out of this country instead
–Idlewild, “You and I are Both Away”

It’s time for the words to come.

I’ve kept them bottled up inside of me for a year now, only letting them out in dribs and drabs. I was trying to decide if I ever wanted to use them again. I was trying to decide if I even had the ability to care anymore. I realize now that I was looking at writing and telling stories all wrong. The question shouldn’t have been, “Why am I even bothering?” but, “Why aren’t I trying harder?”

The answer to that second question is actually quite simple: fear.

My entire life I’ve allowed a single, overriding emotion to drive how I make (or, more likely, avoid) decisions. I’m always terrified of what will happen if I do something and then it falls apart. I have a certain level of natural talent, charisma, and intelligence that has allowed me to never try too hard to succeed but also maintain a comfortable life. Up until now that hasn’t really been too big of a problem. I’ve allowed my fear to dictate a notion of acceptable happiness that has left me unhappy and empty inside. It’s encouraged me to tamp down my dreams and decide that good enough was, well, good enough.

It’s hard to chase your dreams, after all. You might fail. You might screw up. You might find the rug yanked out from under you when you least expect it.

The thing I’ve learned, though, is that if you don’t chase your dreams you might fail, you might screw up, and you might find the rug yanked out from under you when you least expect it.

Life offers no guarantees. If you do everything you can to make your world in your own image you might fail. If you do everything you can to fit in, do what is expected, and avoid making waves you might fail. The only difference between the two is that if you follow that second plan you can never succeed.

It’s time for the words to come.

I’ve spent my entire life both enamored with and jealous of the people I’ve known who’ve simply spent their lives following their dreams. They were usually musicians, doing the hard work of hanging out in shitty bars and making fans the hard way, winning over one set of ears at a time. I couldn’t believe anyone would do that at all, let alone think of it as a path to success. At the same time I wanted to be the guy who did that and succeeded. I lived my small life, pushing down my dreams, telling myself that it was okay to be the guy who had a job and a steady paycheck and went home to an empty house and worried about what would happen if I stopped getting that steady paycheck and had to face the world alone and lonely and without options.

It’s easier to hide. I taught myself to avoid the words. I got into the habit of picking up the computer with the intention of writing and instead spending the entire evening playing video games or refreshing Facebook and occasionally popping over to a blank Word document.

The thing about unhappiness is that it leaks out around the edges. There are only so many lies you can tell, there are only so many beers you can drink, there are only so many bank statements you can check. If you’re not living the life you want to live it builds up and up and up and eventually the pressure becomes so great that you can’t hold it in anymore.

It’s time for the words to come.