I never really understood the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” That is, of course, until recently.
You might be asking yourself, “Hey, what the hell man! No new posts for almost five years and you’re just going to breeze right past it like nothing happened?!” Well yes, yes I am. Here’s a micro ‘Survive This Life’ Lesson: Don’t live in the past. Be present and engaged in your life today. Sometimes that means you stop writing a blog for almost five years then one day decide that the time has come to return. Today is that day. You’re all welcome.
Be careful what you wish for… We all have dreams and life goals. Often times we subvert our dreams by doing stupid things and compromising rather than putting in the work and testing our mettle. I spent the last five years testing myself and here’s what I learned: You just might get it! Then you might discover that the thing you aspired to your entire life isn’t even remotely how you want to spend the rest of your life, or even the rest of the year, month, or current day.
What do you do when you get the dream job and discover that it’s ruining your creativity, your personal ambitions, and impacting your relationships with the people you care about? Well, any rational person would run away screaming and never look back, right? Right?!
Wrong. When you put in all the time and effort to achieve something that is important and meaningful to you it’s almost impossible to walk away. Why is it so hard for people to admit that they were wrong, that they made a mistake, that they’re unhappy and need to change? I’m really asking, because I recently found myself in that situation and I couldn’t admit defeat or walk away because I invested so much of myself into getting to here. RIGHT HERE.
Here’s some free advice from another survivor: if it’s not going to work out, and you know that it’s not the right fit for you… WALK AWAY. I’m not suggesting that you quit on spot and walk out the door immediately. Be classy, be professional, but get the fuck out.
This all may sound crazy to you right now, but the day you find yourself in this situation you will think back on this post and thank me. And when that day comes, you’re welcome!
Here’s why you walk away: if you really love something and discover that working in that industry isn’t a fit for you then this is what eventually happens. You wake up one day and discover that the thing you used to love is now the thing that you resent because it’s no longer your passion, it’s your job. Think back on the worst job you ever had, now multiply that hatred by five… You’re almost there… Now add in the shame of chasing something for years only to discover that you hate actually doing that job. Right. Now you’re with me.
The goal is to walk away BEFORE you hate the job and resent the lost time. It’s almost entirely impossible to not have some level of resentment, but you should remind yourself that chasing your dreams resulted in accomplishing something that many people aspire to and fail. The fact that it didn’t work for you doesn’t diminish the accomplishment. Sometimes surviving this life means acknowledging that our greatest failures can be couched in our greatest success. Either way you end up having one hell of a story to tell for the rest of your life, and it makes for an amazing interview answer when you’re asked about the years you spent working in professional theatre. Yeah, I really did that.
Here’s the key to surviving this particular shame-fest: check your ego at the door. Recognize that life is too short to waste doing something you don’t love. Find something that fills you with a sense of accomplishment, even if that something is accounting, collecting trash, or tech support. It’s perfectly acceptable to love something that isn’t glamorous. The trick is not allowing anyone else to tell you what’s important or worthwhile for YOU. Only you can make that decision for yourself; but don’t linger on it forever. An un-lived life is a sad and terrible thing.
Take chances, chase your dreams, challenge yourself to do more and go farther than you did yesterday. Measure success by your own metrics. Surviving this Life is far more important than keeping up appearances for other people. If at the end of the journey you can look back and say that you lived a full life then you’ve won.