Wednesday, February 8, 2012

dream impossible

image via eliseenchanted

A long time ago, I had a conversation with my then-boyfriend about what we valued most in the world. What was the most important to us. I said the family, my friends, love. His response?

"Time. It's the only thing you have a finite amount of, and can never get back once you've lost it."

Back then, I didn't agree with that being so important. I still don't put it at the top of my list, however, in the past few months I've started to realize how important my time is.

For those of you who don't know me, I work forty (or more) hours a week in a customer service call center. It's a steady job, it pays the bills, and has great insurance and benefits.

Because of all this, I feel like a spoiled, over-indulged brat when I tell you that I hate my job. I don't hate the company, I love the coworkers, but I loathe the actual job more than I can possibly describe. It is basically my job to be yelled at by people all over the world for things that are not my fault, and are frequently their fault, and I'm expected to just take it and stay happy and smiling. I'm sorry, but with the amount of money I spent on my education, I just feel that I'm meant for more.

The issue with this is that so many people in my life don't understand that. They don't get why I'm so unhappy when I have a decent, stable job in this unstable economy. Granted, it's not that I'm ungrateful, I'm just not happy. But still, a lot of my friends are happy with having a job. Their happiness and fulfillment comes from other places; raising their families, socializing in bars, snuggling with their significant others.

And while this is all well and good, and kudos to them for finding their happiness, but I've never been wired quite like a lot of my friends and family. My mother and sister, for example, have always been more family-oriented; their main goals were to get married and be mommies. Which is awesome (because Mommy is the toughest job ever!), and they've achieved that (well, my sister isn't quite married yet--JUNE!--but she is a mommy and a great one at that), so they're happy despite not having glamorous (and in my mom's case, enjoyable) jobs. My roommate waits tables and works his ass off, and his entire budget rests on whether other people are cheap bastards or not, which is stressful enough even without the added stress of the typical serving job. But his happy place is the social sphere, hanging out at bars (and sometimes at home) and dancing and being young and free and happy. And then there are countless others who have found that perfect someone and get to come home to wedded/cohabitational/conjugal visit bliss night after night.

I have no family of my own. I'm becoming a homebody in my "old age" and don't like barhopping much anymore (occasionally, but certainly not once or more a week!) and I've always been very demanding of my alone time. And I'm single (hooray). So, that leaves...a career.

Not that the career is what I'm settling for in lieu of those other things. I feel like I've always known that I'd be a career-first kind of person, or rather, a creativity-first person. My problem is that I'm too creative for my own good; I'm always coming up with plot bunnies, ideas, and projects that I don't have the money, time, and sometimes drive to see through. Gift and a curse, I suppose.

It's catching up to me, though. I'm starting to see what he meant by time being important, because having just celebrated my twenty-seventh birthday, I'm starting to suddenly feel the sands sliding between my fingers, and looking back at what I've done--or, more accurately, haven't done--is beginning to wear on me. Regrets are wringing at me like I'm a used, dirty towel that's good for nothing but smearing around the stains of my lack of fulfillment instead of cleaning them up and making them presentable.

I'm ashamed of myself, and I never used to be.

There are certain people in my life that I have accused of clinging to their past. The bachelor who criticizes his friends for falling in love, the girl who keeps going back to that boy despite the fact that he doesn't love her, the boy who refuses to trust me because of what she did to him. I never realized that I was doing the same thing. I'm grasping onto the familiarity, the safeness, the stability of my past because that's comforting and humans like comfort.

But I'm bigger than comfort. I can feel it.

I was talking to One Man Support Group Andrew (Imma make him a name badge...) about this, and in his usual OMSGA fashion (that'll catch on, I swear to God), he helped me break it down.

"What is your goal?" he asked.

My goal is to be my own boss. Ideally, I want to have my own freelance writing company, whether it be on my own or a collaboration. I want to afford to live the way I want to by doing something I really, really love doing, in this case, writing.

The issue is this: as mentioned, I work 40+ hours a week at a desk job where I can't be working on my own projects. I also have a LOT of friends, in different circles, many of which are at that position of serenity I mentioned before, and find their happiness through socializing. And some of them (most of them) don't understand why I'm suddenly starting to shy away from that lifestyle. It's not that I have any problem with said lifestyle, because as long as you're being responsible and safe and happy, I'm cool with ya, behbeh.

The problem is...friends can be needy. I love all of my friends, but at the same time, having so many great friends means that so many great friends want to hang out with you a lot, which means that evenings get claimed by others very quickly. Which leaves little to zero time to devote to trying to get my own projects off the ground. And, as I've mentioned before, I'm so very horrible at telling my friends that no, I don't want to hang out tonight. DAMN YOU, CATHOLIC GUILT.

I have only had two people in my life tell me to do whatever makes me happy, regardless of others' opinions. Those two people? Andrew, and the aforementioned ex. They're the only two people ever who have said to me "Do what's best for you," without the usual suffix of "but I miss hanging out with you," or "if that's what makes you happy" with the guilt and the tearing of my heart. Andrew, in fact, gets a little scary and capslocky with it, but that's only because he knows me too well and has to bulldoze through my stubbornness. I understand that people miss me when I can't hang out, or will miss me if I leave, or worry about me taking risks, and I appreciate it, but at the same time...they don't realize how unhappy I am here. Very few people do. In fact...only those lone two again.

My conversation with Andrew led me to realize that my only option is to sacrifice my happiness right now for happiness later. There's two ways to do this. First, to go part-time at work in order to free up some time to work on my own projects while still maintaining some semblance of a social life. And second...keep steamrolling on at full-time, and pretty much eliminate my social life, so that I have time to devote to getting my career off the ground. It has to be less money, or less fun, and neither decision is going to be an easy or fun one.

Regardless...things have to change. I'm never going to be anything living the way that I do now. I need to do something drastic. And I need the people in my life to realize that I need to be selfish with my time and my life in order to be what I want to be.

And what I want to be is everything.

This is the gamechanger, folks. No more depression, no more anxiety, no more popping pills just so I can make it through a shift without crying. No more feeling guilty for not being social because I have a dream that's bigger than this town, and no more spending money to make myself feel better temporarily because that money is my ticket for escape and freedom. No more letting other people tell me to play it safe.

Safe hasn't done shit for me so far.

Bigger than life.

Dream Impossible. <3

1 comment:

  1. I know how you feel about your career and creative stuff. I'm a jack of all trades and I've never specialized in just one thing. I have decided to work on writing and - I don't know if it will help you, but it's been helping me because I am terrible at plots and such.

    And I would say "Dream Impassible," for nothing is impossible according to the doorknob in Alice in Wonderland. :)

    Fight the good fight, Miss Em! :D