Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Night and Such

I don't usually post at this time of the day. Usually I try to get something online by mid-afternoon Central Time. But today was a day off for me. The Baudelaires went bowling and had a great time.

But here's the thing: Bowling doesn't solve problems. Go figure.

Sorry, dudes.
Lately my head has felt like a cheap stuffed animal: packed with scratchy sawdust and poorly stitched together. It's not a great feeling. And the more I think, the less I know. Which might sound great on some late-60s hippie rock album, but in the real world, it kind of makes you want to throw up.

Not my first choice for a life coach.
I sort of think I'm having a mid-life crisis. On the one hand, it's cool, because if this is mid-life, I'm OK with dying at age 88. On the other hand, when you think you've spent the last quarter-century building a life and furnishing a comfortable place therein, and you wake up one day and discover it's not a) what you thought, b) what you wanted, and c) returnable and/or refundable, it feels like shit.

I have a good friend who just discovered he's in line for a major promotion in the coming months. It will give him financial security and a bright future. But it will quite probably mean turning his back on a musical sideline that has sustained him and fueled his dreams for half his life. He's struggling with a potential huge shift in his self-identity. And his struggle makes me sad, because I hate to see anyone I care for in a tough place existentially.

But at the same time, I want to shake him and say, "Salary. Benefits. Money in the bank. Millions would give their right arm for those things and would accept them without hesitation." Which, while true, also ignores what I know damn well: that there's more to life than putting in hours and depositing a paycheck in return. And if I were going to be honest - if I had had a few drinks and it was Friday night and I was writing off the top of my head - I would admit that I couldn't sleep at night knowing I had advised anyone, let alone someone for whom I care deeply, to turn his back on his heart's desire for the sake of a paycheck.

The heart's desire is a precious thing. I believe that every heart has one. In a perfect world, we would all nurture it, protect it from the things that want to distract it and belittle it, and orient our lives toward fulfilling it - maybe not today, but someday. Whether it's providing for our family, traveling the world, developing a talent, or finding true love, the heart's desire should rule all. In a perfect world.

But the world isn't perfect.

The world makes us work to pay the bills when we want to work to make our dreams come true. The world makes us settle for what we have when we want to reach out for what would make us really and truly happy. The world makes us feel guilty for wanting more...for wanting different...for changing our minds in midstream. And the world watches us with judgmental eyes, telling us our dreams are selfish, impractical. Unreasonable.

It's not just the world. I tell myself the same things. I tell myself my Precocious Daughter needs a home, school supplies, music lessons, stability. She doesn't need a mom who gets to middle age and decides she wants to be an aspiring writer, a free spirit, a lover of life. She needs a mom who works hard and pays the bills. A family. A home.

So I put my dreams on hold. And I feel like a hypocrite advising anyone what to do about their dreams. I tell myself it's not a crisis I'm going through. It's just life. And this is what life is. And nothing more.

Nothing matters but what you can see.
If I had had a few drinks and it was Friday night and I was writing off the top of my head, I would think about that. 

1 comment:

  1. I tried to change careers in mid-stream. No one believed that I was being honest -- because I had been laid off. They all assumed that as soon as something came along in my field that I'd bolt -- even though I was taking advantage of the layoff to finally follow my dream. So now I am employed in my original field, and more "successful" than ever. Happy? Not so much. So sometimes the decision alone isn't enough.


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