So, to recap Part I and Part II of this series,
I basically equated one of my teachers with a well-intended, roid-raging version of Mr. Keating from Dead Poets Society.
Ya, that’s a pretty rough metaphor. So, “Dr. Reality Check,” if these posts somehow make their way back to you…….(as they inevitably do in small towns)…ummmm….you can tell it however you want, when you make your own blog. I’m just doing what you taught me. Sorry, but you knew this day was coming when you enticed me into taking an extra course, “for fun”. Yes, I’m grinning as I write this.
But in all fairness, I’ll admit, it was one of the most important classes I took in college. And inspired a blog post a year later. I’d call that a compliment. (I see the meaning of it all now. Hey, better late than never)
As I was saying,
It turns out, this class had a lot more to do with life than I thought. [See part 2 for backstory]
We only hated him because it resembled life all too well.
#1: What do you want to be in life? What are your highest aspirations, if nothing stood in the way?
[Give essay answer]
#2:Now list 10 specific steps you will take to get from here to there.
We face these impasses, after a ridiculous amounts of training and motivational speeches, without a plan, and go……
“Ohhhh. Shit. I got nothin.”
Not because you don’t sincerely want a real solution, but because you have always relied on the “right answer.”
Generic quick-fixes have a funny way of never being directly applicable to our life. In the real world, you have to think for yourself and want things for yourself. Nobody else can administer the motivation. There are no presets. There are no fill-in-the-bubble quizzes. And, sadly, the majority of us don’t realize this until its too late.
Way too late.
It sounds simple…because well, it is. The first part always is, remember? You read this and probably mutter, “Yayayah. I know. This is nothing new.” But this isn’t about reading something on a computer screen and changing your life. I’m not that conceited. Hell, I won’t even pretend to give you advice like that. Its near impossible. But mostly, I just won’t. It’s not up to me. You have to want it for yourself.
I will just settle to be your inspiration. That’s it. That’s all I can do for you. I just want to show you through actions and not just words— the important part. The second part. Your goals, dreams, aspirations. And the stuff down deep you haven’t even uttered out loud, much less to someone else. The stuff you think is impossible, so you try not to dwell on it more than a few meager, depressing seconds.
Like the screaming teacha’ suggested,
Write all those things down. Even if you don’t show anybody at first.
But most importantly do it. Until you get it onto paper, it’s just theoretical, swirling around with your daydreams of a mid-afternoon nap and Reese’s cups, with hardly a speck of chance to be realized.
You can’t step forward on stones that haven’t even been laid out!
#1 Reason: It stops feeling imaginary. It becomes a possibility.
#2. It reminds you of your goals, everyday. Which you’ll find is really helpful for the times of hopelessness. (Post it on the bathroom mirror?)
#3. It makes it easier to verbalize, to construct, to explain, to share with a trusted and close friend.
Confiding in that someone, sharing your vision is a double-whammy, a 1-2 punch to the gut/ego. They will hold you accountable, but will also encourage you or offer helpful suggestions (unless you have that sarcastic best friend who likes to motivate you by insulting you, calling you sissy and whatnot). It’s a balance. So pick someone who knows you. They’ll be like a doubt-fighting sidekick. But without the tights. (unless you want, ladies)
So, this part isn’t even about the faith of “stepping stones”. You aren’t there yet. This is (figuratively speaking) about mapping your route on paper, road by road, instead of just pointing to a state, mouth dumbly gaping, shouting “I want to be there….”.
You’ll be surprised by how it makes those far-away dreams seem a little more real, and just a tad bit closer. And this doesn’t even have to do with your school or job, necessarily. I’m talking about bigger things. What is it you want to do, to make a difference? outside the 9-5 everybody works. [If your biggest aspiration is a job, you need bigger goals. If you don’t believe me, see Kid President.]
What impact do you want to have, beyond just showing up and punching in the right answer, to get you by?
I don’t want to just “get by.” I want to live a radical, interesting story– one you can’t even attempt to nod off to. I don’t want the usual “solution” for my problems, or to embrace the status quo, just because that’s what we were taught.
Following my own advice
Big announcement for my friends (and acquaintances/followers): In the upcoming months, I will be preparing to chase after my dreams, instead of just talking about them. Real preparations for a NON-hypothetical adventure. Rather than just whining about unpleasant circumstances and what I wish I could do, I’m going to make radical changes. I’m just going to do it.
Whether or not I succeed, is not the point. Whether I leave this chair, instead only writing about them, IS.
This spring, I’m going to be embarking on an epic, solo road-trip across America. On foot. For a couple months. This is something I’ve been planning for a while now.
At the lowest point in my life…..l want to show you this leap of faith IS possible.
And I will- show you- not with words, but with actions. I will follow through on my own advice, which as we know is the hardest thing to do. I will abandon all my fears, knowing it “only goes up from here”. I will continue with my project of complete honesty and traversing the unknown, no matter where it leads.
You can keep me accountable and encourage me.
I reached a point where I want to stop talking about my desires in life, and start chasing them.
Funny how, all of a sudden, when you have to flesh out that second question Mr. Reality Check asks, the realization hits:
We’re scared to actually go after some lofty goal. It’s easier to shoot the shit. Trying means failing is an option.
But I’d rather have 1 small dream I’m actually living out, no matter how insignificant, than die having 100 unfulfilled, lofty dreams.
It’s the illusion of actually living that kills us. Sometimes, it’s the talking about dreams that kills us. Because that’s all it ever ends up being. Talk. And more self-doubt. And excuses.
But, 10 years from now, do you still want to be making excuses?