I’ve really been trying to reflect on what I posted last week and the feedback I received (thank you, thank you to those of you that read and had something kind to say!), and attempting to make positive strides toward actually changing something in my life, instead of just dreaming or wishing it. I’ll be honest, this week was pretty hard. A work colleague’s family experienced a horrible tragedy, and the entire week there seemed to be this cloud looming overhead with the thought that we are all just one phone call away from our lives being turned upside down. Anxiety is something I’ve grappled with for most of my 20’s, and when it does grab hold of me, it is, in many forms, paralyzing. My reaction to fear and worry is that I become more irritable, more tense, more stressed, and the way that I tend to deal with all of those cumulative emotions is to just shut down; which is really counterproductive when I’ve been trying so hard to get myself “unstuck”. No matter what corner of the world you turn to lately, there is something to be completely terrified or heartbroken about. And this week, I was reminded that tragedy isn’t just happening in Aleppo or Fort Lauderdale, it’s happening right here in my small circle, and it’s happening in yours too.
As I wrestled with all of my neuroses this week I realized: when the world seems to be burning around us, when we can look in any direction and see someone’s life crumbling before them, this “mediocrity” thing really doesn’t sound so bad.
After all, who am I to wish for a life with more passion, more meaning, more anticipation and excitement and purpose, when there are people whose only goal right now is to make it from sun up to sun down unscathed? Don’t my complaints about a lukewarm existence reek of entitlement and privilege in the face of war, poverty, oppression and death? And on top of all that, my baseline living, however uninspired, is, in a lot of ways comforting. When I said before that I wanted my ordinary life to be disrupted, did I really mean it? What would/could my life look like if I did? Would I like it?
When I started on this journey to be more intentional about living an inspired life, I figured I’d receive some pushback. I thought not enough people would read my words and I’d feel like I didn’t really have anything important to say (and maybe I don’t), I knew I’d succumb to my laziness from time to time, and I figured I’d probably experience some writer’s block. What I didn’t piece together was that those thoughts I wrote above about comfortable complacency are more fatal to my heart and creativity than all of my other worries combined. I realized that the very reason I should be pursuing a deeper life is because of the people hurting all over the world. The darkness of the world shouldn’t stifle me, it should stimulate me; injustice shouldn’t deter me, it should drive me. Because the only way the world gets worse than what it already is, is if we stay exactly as we are.
The world doesn’t need more people who are okay with being just okay. The world needs people who are roused from their routine, who have a vision or a craft or something to say or a willingness to listen. The world needs malleable, compassionate people who chase dreams and take chances, because the world needs hope. So, so bad.
I don’t know exactly how the stepping stones from ordinary to extraordinary lay out, or even what the first one is, and I imagine for a lot of people it looks different. But for me, I think my first step is to be vulnerable. I think the dreams that are so big that they scare us, are probably the dreams we are meant to be chasing after, so rather than conceal them, I’ll share a few of them here:
-Writing scares me. I fear that no one will read what I have to say either because it isn’t
important, or because I’m not good at communicating it.
-Playing music/singing/writing songs scares me (see above, coupled by the fact that it is so
easy to compare myself to much more talented and qualified artists).
-Sharing the dark/hard/embarrassing parts of my story scares me.
If you’ve stuck with the post this long, thanks for reading. What things scare you? What can we be doing to push toward making those dreams attainable instead of merely conversational? How can we use those dreams to positively impact the world? Some thoughts going into the new week.