The Practicality of Childhood Dreams

At the age of eight, I found the love of my life. From that point on, whenever someone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always answered with, “a writer”.

From that point on, my parents wore a tight smile, hoping to distract from the worry in their eyes. It was a look that drove me to announce in my junior year of high school that I changed my mind–that I was going to pursue a more traditional route. It’s a look that still shadows over me as I contemplate life in 9-5 intervals.

practicalitychildhooddreams

Do what you love is replaced with do what you’re good at. I’m good with numbers, good at accounting, surprisingly enough. It’s what I’ve claimed to want to do for the past year or so. But when I think about spending the next 40 years doing that, day in and day out, I feel a creeping sense of despair.

In the long run, surely it won’t matter. It’s a just a means to an end–the real joy will be my personal life. I can always write in my free time.

But doesn’t everyone say that? Will I really bother to make the time? It’s what I love, and yet sometimes this blog goes unattended. My novel gathers dust. Having that balance between figuring out a realistic job prospect and chasing your dreams is difficult. My mind is almost one-track at times, trying to find a favorite where there is none. Until I get to the point where I’m at now–pursuing not one or the other: standing still.

My circumstances make me think that I can’t commit to such a reckless and selfish path. How simple it would be to say that I’ll live my life for no one but myself! How simple it is to dole out that advice and assume that there is no situation that could possibly supersede your pursuit of happiness. And, in fact, it is that simple. If all you want is your happiness, it’s incredibly straightforward.

There was a time when I wouldn’t have minded holding down a minimum wage job or two. Living with a less-than-desirable roommate who hates me, but needs me for rent. Collapsing into bed to get maybe three to four hours of sleep–all for my writing. All for the slight chance of a yes.

And now that I work an overnight minimum wage job, that willingness hasn’t dissipated in the slightest. Now that I sleep an average of four hours a day, I know that if it weren’t for my responsibilities, I’d take off. I’d pack up my things, head to the middle of nowhere, and sacrifice myself for my love of words. Even knowing that all I have mediocrity–whether in reference to my skill or possessions–it’d be a just trade.

Maybe even a trade made in my favor.

So for now, I stay in limbo. Caught between my sense of obligation and my desire to be more than just a girl who does what she should do–honor be damned.

And in the meantime, I’ve got my blog.

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