To All My Dramatic Dreamers (Myself Included)

Yesterday, I wrote a piece about superstitions and my experience with the paranormal. I forced myself to write it. After I finished, I decided to hold off on posting it and wait till the next day– today. This evening, as I sat in front of my computer ready to publish my piece I decided to write something different (which is this post that you’re reading right now). Why? I can’t really say. Perhaps it’s because what I had originally intended to post didn’t seem adequate enough. It felt rushed and forced and all it had to offer was mediocrity. I can’t deny that I’ve been in a stump these past few months. As you can tell from my lack of posting, I’ve lost enjoyment for my craft and have been feeling passionless, which is scary because I’ve convinced myself that writing and reading are my bread and butter. I’ve told myself that it’s all I have to offer the world.
Reading and WritingReading and Writing Reading and Writing
I’ve lived most of my life assuming that my career would center around these two words that have consumed me for most of my academic life.
 Then all of a sudden I lost any motivation and desire to continue reading and writing, and I was lost– am lost. I know this isn’t groundbreaking. Everyone is lost at 21. Boo hoo, Via. Welcome to the most inclusive club on Earth!

Despite this suffering being a communal affair, I still feel helpless. My world has tilted from 23º to 90º and I’ve been left with the one question that has paralyzed any forward movement in my life: Do I like reading and writing because I’m actually passionate about it or do I like it because I’ve been told that (relatively) I’m good at it? Thereby convincing me to love it? Because if I didn’t actually love it, where would that leave me? What would I do then? If I truly loved something, why did I give up on it for months? Why did I lose any desire to continue? Why did I dread reading and writing during my final semesters? Hello, existential crisis.

I thought back to my undergrad and realized how I fell out of love with reading and writing because I felt forced to do it. I needed to write that 10 page exegesis because I needed that grade to pass and ensure my parents’ sacrifices for my education weren’t in vain. I needed to work those hours at the Writing Center, reading and peer-reviewing other students’ papers to make money. I needed to complete my Literature degree because I had already come so far. I was so surrounded by what I thought I had loved that I felt suffocated by it.

And then I thought about the potential career I had planned for myself (publishing), which more or less, would be the same thing. Would my attitude towards reading and writing– my supposed passions– shift from adoration to resentment then? 

Then I wondered if anyone else has thought this. Do accountants become accountants because they love numbers or because they’re good with them? This question reminded me of an article I read claiming that we do ourselves and our community a disservice by building a career solely off of something we love. It argued that, more or less, following your dream is a waste of time if you’re not one of the lucky few. This post went against everything I’ve been taught. Not follow your dream? How… pessimistic– or perhaps, now, realistic? After all, it’s called a dream because not everyone has what it takes to make it tangible. Or maybe they do, but they’re perpetually screwed over by the injustice of a fickle world. I questioned constantly the validity of this statement. It had merit. There are countless artists– writers– out there who love an industry that doesn’t love them. There are hundreds of unrecognized talents who are overshadowed by those who were in the right place at the right time but are mediocre at best.

Then I considered the idea that I lost my love for reading and writing because I lost faith in my ability to actualize my goals– because I was afraid what I wanted to do wasn’t what I should do, that it wouldn’t be profitable or I wouldn’t “make it”. And then my mind went on a tirade bombarding me with questions of my quality of life if I were to pursue a career in publishing that has less than fruitful results for the majority. Then it bombed me with questions regarding my happiness were I to do something I could find security in but didn’t fulfill what I really wanted. Then I paralyzed myself even more from my inability to just decide. Then I attacked myself for being so consumed with needing money. I rationalized this desire by understanding that I obviously need money to survive. Then I thought about how broke I was and questioned how I could ever become independent. After I went through this– for lack of a better term– episode, every romantic notion claiming that we foster happiness by following our dream was folded in half and stored in the far off drawers of my mind. 

And then I went crazy.

When I calmed down enough, I then thought about the binate system we’re conditioned to follow: this or that but never both. Or or or or.  It always had to be one or the other. You either follow your passion and risk a less stable life or you choose a profitable job which you might be good at but have no real interest in. In the midst of this dimming thought, I realized I never asked myself why I couldn’t do both. More than that, why did the choices have to be either good or bad, or bad or worse? Why couldn’t the options be good or best? With such a dismal outlook, it was no wonder I “lost” passion. 

I thought back to Bukowski’s famous words: “Find what you love and let it kill you.” I had been consumed by this line when I first came across it. I remember reading it, letting it sink in and thinking they were the most profound words ever arranged in a 9 syllable sentence. Fuck yeah! I couldn’t wait to be killed by my passion. MURDER ME, CHARLES BUKOWSKI! MY BODY IS READY.

But here I am, years later, figuratively dying and wondering why does it have to be so dramatic? After all was thought and anguished over to an overwhelming amount, I thought about those who follow their dreams as a hobby while they pursue more profitable avenues; they continue to hone their art in some hope that one day they’ll find their big break. A practical and reasonable choice. I don’t think it’s giving up–more like… being wise. Why does following your dreams often equate to being impetuous and foolish? Why is there no smart way to accomplish your goals? Practicality isn’t romantic, sure, but that doesn’t make it a less viable option.

So here I am, slowly trying to figure out a smart way to be what I want to be. Do I love reading and writing again? I’m working on it. In fact, this is the first time I’ve been inspired to write all summer and I must say that I feel satisfied having completed something of value– at least to me. That’s a start. I’m also thinking that I’ll try the practical route and see what comes from that. I might also change my mind the next day and just wing it all, but I’m thinking that that’s okay too.

So while I’m often subjected to boughts of hopelessness and despair and all the dramatics of life in regards to the future, I’m quite eager to figure it out as I go along. I’m learning to trust myself and understand, that for all my mistakes and flaws, I know I’ll be okay in the end. Again, maybe that seems arrogant, but what I’ve also learned is that you need a little ego to be where you want to be in life.

 

What do you guys think? I’d love to hear your opinions below. Let’s have a discussion!

5 thoughts on “To All My Dramatic Dreamers (Myself Included)”

  1. Hey via,
    I’ve been in almost the opposite of the situation you’re in. I went for practicality, and for years did something I was really, really good at, but had zero passion for. I made decent money and even at this moment, could get back into that field. I had been very unhappy for a very long time, but I’m on a different road than I was just a year ago, and that small fact in itself is comforting to me.
    No one but you can say if reading and writing are your true passions, but if you ask me, you’re much more than relatively good. Good luck in the future, I know you’ll find yourself again soon enough!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey, Zi! I’m so happy to read that this current stage in your life seems better than the one previous. It’s never easy learning lessons and figuring out what’s best for us, but I guess that’s just life. All we can ever really do is keep fighting and working towards something better. Thank you for sharing your insight and experience and thanks so much for reading! I always appreciate it. We’ll get to that coveted future soon enough.

      Like

  2. Hey Via! Von here. 🙂 Decided I should finally check out your blog. (By the way, “relatively good”? You have to give yourself more credit.) I just thought I should offer you a new perspective hoping it helps shine light over your quarter-life crisis. Lol.

    Is “reading and writing” really your actual passion? I think you need to look further into it—what is it about reading and writing that you love?

    For example, I’m a nurse. Yes, not something most would consider the “dream” and a lot of what the job entails is definitely not something I find particularly fascinating. However, I am passionate about the human life, the soul, the struggle to survive and have the chance to make meaning out of life. Nursing is my outlet for those passions, and that’s what I love about nursing.

    Of course I didn’t have to be a nurse to follow those passions. I could have done something that most would consider more honorable, such as being a medical doctor. Or I could have been a motivational speaker and presented life-changing lectures at TEDTalks around the world, but no. I’m a nurse, and I’m proud of that. And I’m proud of that because someone has to be the nurse and to do the job. The world needs nurses, and as much as I’d love to be selfish, be well-travelled, and seen with honor, I chose to be a nurse because it was what the everyone needed.

    In the long run, my job as a nurse is exactly what it is: a job. Not something that one would want to do, but something they have to do. And honestly, what’s wrong with that? Why is it that we’re so concerned about physical description of what we do as opposed to the meaning and results of completing the job? “Reading and writing” is a task, so of course you’re getting sick of it. It’s mundane and it’s work, but it’s important. It’s important because of what it offers to the people—may it be a place for college students to hold their crises (lol, sorry) or a bridge that helps reach out to people who share the same experiences. What is it really about reading and writing that you actually love? Is it the outlet that you want express your passions through? If you believe you’re good at it (yes, you are, no Einstein here), then are you willing to take advantage of that ability and offer it to the world?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Von! Once again, I am blown away by your words.

      I think we often get caught up in making the perfect choices and trying to have the perfect career, when nothing is ever really perfect. It’s so easy to be so overtaken by the need to do or find something that we’ll enjoy every moment of every day (which is unrealistic) that we don’t really stop to think if we can do something else of value concurrently.

      I cannot even express how meaningful your response is and how much insight your few paragraphs have offered me. You’ve definitely given me and any readers here a lot to think about. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond! I appreciate you.

      Like

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