Monday, June 18, 2012

Your Bliss is Where Your Heart Pounds

Many of us learn at an early age that we are to follow our dreams.  Follow your bliss. Do what makes you happy and the money will come.  There are several ways of saying it, but it all boils down to the same thing.  We're to go for it.  Life's short and you have to live!

I'm not sure what age it happens but eventually, in many of us, the live your dreams speech gets tempered with practicality. Suddenly we have to be practical and think it through.  Those childhood dreams of being an actor or writer suddenly seem too unrealistic.   Too unreachable. We need to start thinking about getting a "real" job.

That's what I did, and I struggled.  I was an A student all through high school until my senior year.  I had a bad case of senioritis and I had no idea what to do with my life.  It seemed everyone wanted me to make a decision that would affect my entire life.  Who gives this responsibility to a seventeen year old?  I wanted to go to college, but didn't know what I'd pursue.  The acting and writing seems too far fetched, so I struggled to find something else that would make me happy.  The choices were overwhelming considering none of them felt right in my heart.  

I followed many different paths, always finding myself down the road and miserable and wondering why.  I'd reach out in despair, only to be told by a good friend, spiritual advisor or therapist that I was supposed to follow my bliss.  My bliss?  What the hell is my bliss, I'd ask?  Through all that practicality, I'd forgotten what made me happy.

A few years ago I rediscovered it when the economy tanked and I lost my job of twelve years.  A job I had grown weary of, but it was steady, nonetheless.  I began pursuing my writing and I had a novel in progress.  What I noticed during the course of writing the novel is that my work on the novel was directly related to how unhappy I was in my regular circumstances.  For example, in a job I hated, I wrote almost every day.  The writing kept me sane and was going to be my way out.  As I got an old job back (the portions I liked), I got complacent and my writing slowed down.  

Eventually I always came back because the writing is what I love.  I took the long way to get here, but I'm here. I'm pursuing what makes me happy.  It doesn't matter what my name tag says at the day job, or what title might be on my business card.  Those things don't define me.   I am a writer!  I say it proudly and with certainty.  Everything else is pretend.  

When I start believing that I'm the other guy, I just need to come back to the keyboard and remind myself who I really am.  The rest is bullshit.

For some the keyboard is a stage, or a concert hall, or any number of venues in which your dream plays.  Where you feel most alive is where your bliss is.  Go for it, otherwise, you're just taking the long, lonely miserable road that is going to bring you back here anyway.  It's fate.  It's destiny.  It's your dream. Your life.