The following may come across as "Duh!?" for some, but maybe not:
It has occurred to me that I must struggle. I know that sounds like a weird thing to say, because let's face it, most of us are lazy and want happiness thrust upon us. I've realized that without a bit of struggle, without throwing my world into upheaval, I will die miserable, and probably alone.
Incidentally, I came across this quote by George Stroumboulopoulos earlier today:
"I don’t have a balanced life, and I don’t want one. I need to be erratic. I need to be driven by high highs and low lows. I want emotional range in my life. I don’t want my life to be easy. You know people say, I just want a good life. I don’t fuckin’ want a good life. What is that? I want to feel things. The most important lyric for me is Bob Dylan’s ‘He not busy being born, is busy dying.’ So which guy do I want to be?"
Since my MELTDOWN in November whereby my future was considered for the first time in ages, I've done some serious contemplation. I realized that my life had been one of complete convenience, without a shred of struggle, and that my future was also doomed to the same stagnancy that corrupted my youth. It is quite amazing how long people can live lying to themselves, denying their true desires, goals, and ambitions.
Dillon departing for Korea made me think long and hard as to whether or not I'd be on the next plane over, following in his footsteps. I did want to teach, after all, and the experience would certainly look good on my teachers college application. And the money--the money would be nice too.
Course selection for Winter 09 classes begin. I can either kill myself to pursue my prestigious double-major, or I can take a couple classes and ultimately finish with a B.A. English without exertion. I think long and hard. I call around and ask people what they think. Do I need a double major? Should I just be done with school and actually start my life?
I was never unhappy, at least I don't think I was, but November brought upon a tinge of depression as great change suddenly side-swiped my unassuming ass. I woke up one day and realized, " Fool! You don't want to be a teacher! You want to string words together and have people think you're important!" I have always wanted to write, but I was certain I needed a "back-up". Realizing the "back-up" (ie, teaching) was something I had zero passion for, I started looking for "back-ups" that would suit my passions.
At the time I was reading The New Kings of Non-Fiction, and found myself invigorated by the possibilities of contemporary journalism. "I can be a journalist!" I told myself. Journalism would be the ideal back-up as I'd be doing some kind of writing on a daily basis. Then the search for schools began. Humber College seemed ideal for this new life-plan, but upon my research I came across another program: Writing for Television. Fools, I thought, breaking into film and television is a tough gig--good luck! Meanwhile, I'm attending Journalism seminars, half-listening because I'm plotting out a screenplay in my head.
One day I call Chris Richard, with tears in my eyes, and tell him about my disposition. I tell him the future is uncertain and it scares the shit out of me. He says, "I don't see that as a bad thing at all. The fact that you're calling me about this tells me you're unhappy on your current path, so think about it what's really important to you, and act on it." I thank him and hang up the phone. How can uncertainty be a positive thing? Naive bastard, I thought.
Sometime after this I lay in bed and cry, utterly confused and wondering "The universe is gonna fizzle out anyway, so what's the fucking point!? Waaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!" followed by more tears and more confusion. Not long after my sissy-period I come across this nugget of truth, thanks to Tim:
"To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest...
...What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?"
In other words: Shut the fuck up, stop worrying about the "back-up", neglect so-called comfort and pursue your dreams. Back in November when I'd look to my future, I saw nothing but fog and it scared the shit out of me. I was in the process of derailing my life and my predetermined future was imploding inside my mind.
I decided to do away with the double-major and settled for the less prestigious B.A. English. Now I look to the future and I see that once foolish Writing for Television program at Humber, living in Toronto, and most importantly--WRITING. All the while, the forecast calls for poverty, unease, and anxiety ridden nights where I'll crouch in a corner, thumb in my mouth, weeping, "When will it happen? When will I be published? When will I have a film produced?" Nothing will go as planned and I'll lay awake most nights, restless.
I know it sounds all kinds of dreary, but it really isn't. It won't be easy, but it shouldn't be. I'm not deluded enough to think I'll be some measure of professional anytime soon, but goddamnit, for the first time in my life I'm doing away with convenience and I'm accepting the struggle required to achieve my dreams. Without struggling, I will grow conformable, and with that comes a lifetime of working at Zellers, hating my existence because I settled for a soul-crushing lot in life.
I will not have my dreams go unchallenged. I will not have my dreams mutate into nightmares that mock me for never realizing them. I look to the future and it's still really foggy, but I'm finally okay with that, because I'll actually be doing what I want to do.
Perhaps Chris wasn't so naive after all. Thanks, Chris, wherever you are...