Before anyone goes and critiques my artistic ability, let me preface myself by saying that I have very little to no graphical talent. But, I will also say that the above picture is mine. It isn’t a clone of anyone’s visual representations of an image. It is mine. Solely mine… not much to look at, but is my intellectual property.
Suffice it to say, I still have issues with the whole… being 30 thing. It’s been since July and I still can’t honestly bring myself to accept that I won’t be getting any younger. I know… I know… However, I do find some solace in the notion that eventually all of my hair will fall out. One less thing to be conscious about, right?
Honestly, I’ve found that one of the things that has become increasingly difficult is to arrive at a decision that I would want my life to follow. It’s not so much even a career choice or anything goal oriented. It is definitely something reserved for someone a little more… youthful… and that is chasing dreams.
The more and more I look back now, the more and more I realize that I was bribed to give up the things I embraced as a child for more “grown up” things. The paradigm is that as an adult, we have a certain responsibility to live in an ordered world and contribute to that world appropriately. Whether it be that we contribute in a manner that benefits society as a whole or offers those around a glimpse into how we portray and delegate our talents to the world around us… it doesn’t matter to our peers or perhaps even parents because of some Seussian philosophical principle. As a youth, I learned all too quickly that dreams are just that in the eyes of those who have lost something so precious… passion.
As adults, we’ve been to a degree indoctrinated against pursuing our interests because it conflicts with our status as adults. Too often we’ll be accused of being irresponsible or childish for not being secure. While, for the most part, I would agree with such an assessment. We will forego whatever obligations we’ve already made for an opportunity to regain a piece of what made us special. While, some would argue that we never really lose those attributes, they definitely take a spot on the shelf because of other “priorities.”
I, myself, have fallen victim to this… as I’m sure most of us either have or are in the process of doing so. There’s nothing more damaging to anyone than failure. Especially when the opportunities you have come few and far between and you know that they diminish with each passing moment. Personally, I’ve found very few things lately (Consequently since I turned 30) to be deserving of such an emotional investment and it is a very lofty investment. Sure, I have talents that I would love to see work for me… literary composition, for example. But, as a child I did enjoy drawing. As I got older, it shifted from graphical artistry to music. I’m very fortunate for music to still play such a role as it did when I was younger. It just affects me in different ways now than it did then. Most people wouldn’t think that I was a child that had the talent to take those dreams and manifest them into something relevant or even something substantial. I’m not saying that my childhood was debilitating. I was very much so encouraged as a child. I had a very good idea of what I wanted to do… and perhaps I still do. But, I’ve found that something that had diminished over the years along with a multitude of other things was the conviction to pursue my dreams… passion to persevere.
It’s a sad realization to know that you’ve been bought. I can admit it. I’ve been bought. Not by any one particular person or principle… but I’ve been bought by this illusion of what “productivity” is and that to maintain this illusion of what that represents, I’ve had to give up something very unique and special. Or, at the bare minimum reduce its capacity to affect change in my life. The damnedest thing about this whole concept is how easily the process was and for how little it took to take us away from the things we’ve held most dear. Some of us can’t tolerate losing this quality. Some people can part with it for the sake of assimilating into a new environment. However, all of us in the end have to come face to face with the idea at some point or another we would have to choose between chasing dreams and being productive…
As we get older, it gets progressively more difficult to make a distinction between the two because we’ll make decisions that enable the other. Such as, we will pursue higher education to facilitate our intentions of taking a position in a certain field. Or, we will have to let go of those aspirations because Life throws a curve ball such as having a child early or having to assume “adult” responsibilities early. For me, it was the latter. I’m big enough to admit that I wanted to be free. One thing I didn’t consider was that that I wasn’t big enough to be free. I don’t mean “big enough” as in if I was mature enough. I mean in such a way where that my responsibilities as an adult would not have consumed my desire and passion to see my dreams through. Instead, those aspirations were subdued by things like money and success… at least from societal point of view. As time wore on, I always said that at some point, I would go back and make an effort to realize some of these things only to be dissuaded by accepting that my responsibilities would have always taken precedence and always been more important. Hence, why we choose to work on “projects” in our “free time.” Kinda like this entry. Ironic, isn’t it? =)
But, being a person that is occasionally able to realize when I’m getting the shaft, I’ve come to know that passion is a lot like faith… having passion gives you just enough reason to continue what seems to be a futile pursuit. Just in the same faith gives you enough reason to believe that no matter what may or may not come, it will never be enough to convince you to quit. I’m also big enough to be able to speak freely about how many times I’ve wanted to quit. I’m big enough to speak freely about how I wanted to throw everything away because the harsh reality of my life was devoid of something that things like faith, passion, and dreams created… Vision.
As I got older, I would look back and often wonder just where I could have made better decisions. I won’t say that I’ve made some “wrong” choices. However, I’ll be the first to admit I’ve made some very questionable if not downright asinine or even brain dead ones. But, I’ve also come to know that getting older created very unique opportunities to gain insight and dispense wisdom to those who are in a season when they are facing the same choices I’ve already endured or continue to face every day. I’ll also be one of the first to admit that as… consistent… as I’ve been about making decisions, I’m hardly as adamant about making decisions that sustain my vision for identity. Making decisions about regulating your daily exploits is absurdly easy… as it should be.. but the real question is that making decisions that feed your imagination and creativity just as easily. There’s a saying… feeling comfortable means you’re feeling controlled. Boy, was I being controlled… because any time I’ve felt uncomfortable, there was no control… I was free… and I had forgotten what it felt like to exist in such a way.
Which, brings me to the picture above… Never minding what it actually is, it’s representative of a project that I’ve always wanted to complete. But, much like a lot of other things that are within my personal orbits of obligation and responsibility, it’s spent too much time on the outer reaches than it has ever spent being close to the center that is my attention. Now that I have an opportunity to show it the love and attention I believe it deserves. If you want to know what it is… just ask me. I digress…
The truth here is that we abide in the choices we make. We abide in the things we love not because of how they make us feel… but we abide in those things because we choose to. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to know and appreciate just how difficult change really is. Not because of new ideas or new scenery… but because of the progressive rise in difficulty to choose. Change is a fundamental process of Life.. and I’m big enough to admit that I haven’t been living lately. But, something I’m glad to become aware of is that all of the things that identified my childhood and captured my passion for the future are still with me as I’ve transitioned into adulthood. They’ve followed me. Not because out of some capacity of loyalty or trust. Rather, because they’ve made a choice to love me in a way that I believe that no person ever could. It’s awe-striking to see that even after all these years and as many times I’ve made choices that place things like “passion” and “vision” in a place where they don’t affect change…
That now, I feel them so completely and see them so clearly… and the invitation that they have given me to follow them leads me in a way that I haven’t felt since I was a boy.
Maybe because I haven’t taken a minute as an adult to ask that boy who so loved football, cars, the stars, and literary expression… how all of those things would fit in my bag as I traveled.
The boy didn’t care how… and neither should I.