“This is a lesson in procrastination
I kill myself because I’m so frustrated
Every single second that I put it off
Means another lonely night I got to race the clock…”
-Brand New, Failure by Design
“How are you going to make an idol from the type of person you’re trying to avoid in real life? I’m afraid if America keeps letting people like that become the entertainers, pretty soon there’ll be no one left to work at Rite-Aid.”
–Natasha Leggero, Coke Money
Failure is isolating. I should take comfort in the fact that I am not the only twenty-something floundering in the world. I am not the only twenty-something with a degree floundering in the world. I am not the only twenty-something with a degree who no longer desires to use it who is floundering in the world. But it doesn’t make me feel better.
All I can think of are the ones in similar situations as me who have prospered. They had the same education and privileges and hardships as I did and yet they succeeded. I stumbled. That makes me feel like something must be wrong with me.
I struggle with the idea of fate and putting faith in fate. Am I destined to do what I love and, if so, should I take comfort in the fact that I will be where I belong eventually, even if things seem terrible at the moment? Or is fate just a bandage for the broken-hearted, something people tell themselves to get through the hurt of shattered expectations?
People say, “Yeah, things suck now but I’m meant for more. Everything will work out. I will live my dreams.” But, is that really the case?
One of the great hardships of life, and death, is acceptance. We have to accept a lot of failure, endure disappointment and oftentimes lower our standards just so we can get through the day.
But do we also have to accept that our dreams might never come true? Do we have to accept that fate isn’t real at all, that it’s just a nice notion? Do we have to accept that fate won’t always sync up with what we want? Why must we ache over something we can’t even control?
I always dreamed of being an artist and recently, a published author. But the insecurity and awareness of my limitations hold me back. I can practice and get better but will I ever be good enough to actually make a living doing what I love?
The truth of the matter is we all have dreams. A lot of people aspire to do great things but someone’s gotta flip the burgers and fold the shirts. What about their dreams? Are they where they wanna be or are they just biding their time until their big break? What if that break never comes? What if they wait in vain? What if they crack open and lose all hope?
What about them? What if I’m one of them?
We all stare stary-eyed at those one television who tell us to work hard, to be persistent, to keep practicing and we believe them because they did that and they “made” it. But we can’t base our judgment of ourselves on people like that because the dirty secret is talent isn’t as important as timing or connections or pure random luck. Sometimes talent has very little to do with success.
And that creates a disconnect between our talents and expectations. If we are so good, why aren’t we successful? Maybe we aren’t good after all or maybe we have the talent down but not the timing. Or maybe we don’t have the right connections. But how are we to ever know what keeps us from happiness and success and fulfillment?
People say to compromise. You might not make it to broadway but you can do local theater. You might not be in the bookstores but you can fill a spot on Amazon. You won’t fill a gallery with your art but you can fill a wall of a supportive friend’s house.
Is that good enough? Can we make it good enough?
I think it’s safe to say the majority of people out there have dreams but not everyone can follow them. But if we can’t follow them, why do we have them in the first place? What’s the point? What’s the lesson to be learned from craving a passion we can’t pursue?