Every day, I must remind myself not to lose focus. The little challenges that present themselves throughout the day build up into an ironclad ball of frustration, causing me to curse everything and lose productivity.
Nothing gives me more anxiety than money issues. This summer has been riddled with nothing but financial burdens. I have 99 problems, and $99 might solve 2 of them (sorry, I had to).
Technically I still live at home but I stopped relying on my parents for financial help when I was 15, so I’m on my own for most things. This would be the first summer since I was a kid that I haven’t had an income, and it’s making me nervous. I took this summer as an opportunity to pursue the things that make me happy – I know that sounds dumb. Or maybe it doesn’t, all I know as that most of the adults I’ve met have tried unfathomably hard to burst that bubble. I’m pretty cynical, so I know it’s not realistic to “do what you love” for the rest of your life, but I’m not cynical enough to ignore my desires just to conform to what everyone says I should be doing.
I figured it wouldn’t kill me to spend the summer working on creative endeavors. I worked customer service jobs while juggling school for years, and I needed a break from the stress that comes with the service industry. I decided I would recuse myself from that constant hustle and bustle and focus only on the creative elements that I want to pursue. That’s why I took on this internship, and a fiction writing class, and even voice lessons. I keep telling myself that I have less to lose by working at these things right now than ignoring them and wondering ‘what if’ later on. If nothing comes from these pursuits and I realize that they’re only hobbies, then so be it. I have plenty of experience in the service industry and can finesse a job and I have my degree which can get me started as a paralegal at the very least. So I shouldn’t freak out all the time, right?
Well, I freak out about this every day. Maybe every hour. Maybe every half hour. Maybe literally every second of the day. There are 2 fears I have that keep me from getting out of my head; one is failure (shocker), and the other is the fact that I’ve been looking for my ‘thing’ since I was a kid. I feel as though everyone I knew growing up had that one thing that they were just good at, even if it was just a hobby, and I think mine might be writing. That’s why I’m enduring the struggle, that’s why I’m walking this path even though I have no idea where it may lead. Am I trying to be a best-selling novelist or a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist? I don’t know. I haven’t found my niche yet. Do I want to work on making music? Maybe, I’ve always daydreamed about it. How pragmatic is it to go after your daydreams? I don’t know! I KNOW NOTHING.
Every day is an uphill battle to carry on. I keep writing stories and working on my poetry, both of which are getting better (in my opinion, and I’m undoubtedly my own worst critic). I practice my voice exercises daily, and the other day I actually heard a difference when I sang. Every day I try to find ways to make something happen out of nothing when I should just keep trying to improve and let things happen as they should. But when my financial future is on the line, it’s hard not to freak out. I would just like some degree of control over my life, and that was easy when I was in school. Now, I don’t even know where I’ll be in October, and that is deeply unsettling.
Some days are easier than others. Yesterday, for example, was not a good day. I had an entire crisis about my future while I was sitting in the office. I wanted to give everything up and I hated myself for always wanting to go for the impossible. Days like yesterday I feel uninspired and am incredibly self-loathing. Today, I am more focused. I am reminding myself of the gut feeling that is driving me to do what I do. I’m not delusional, I would never go after something if I didn’t think there was even a 3% chance I could do it. The odds of success are slim, but that just means I have to work harder, right? There are a million people after the same things I am, but what sets us apart? Failure is guaranteed, there is no way around that. What I do with that failure is what will set me apart from everyone else.
The next time I have another crisis, someone please point me to this post so I can shut up.