How Not To Do What You Want To Do

When I think about what I want to do…the list is long. When I look at my life and wonder what I’m actually doing and where the time is going…it’s a lot different from what I want to be doing.

How does this happen? Where does the time go? Today is my brother’s 27th birthday (happy birthday, big bro!) and it was an old friend from high school’s bridal shower…a friend I have now known for ten years. That’s a decade. When did I become old enough to have friends for that long?

Well, since I’m almost 24, I guess awhile now.

When I met this friend, during our freshman gym class (we bonded over swimming–we were the good swimmers in a class where the majority of our peers were afraid of the pool) I had visions of where I would be in a decade–sort of.

Who thinks of decades when they’re fourteen? I thought of traveling, having a boyfriend (it was not my most ambitious year), making friends, being pretty, going to college. Maybe making a difference in some vague way.

(On a side note, whenever I think the term “making a difference” an image of Jane Goodall with African kids and chimpanzees comes to mind. Maybe she’s my idol, a little…I bet she thought in decades at fourteen).

Anyway, alone in my room at night–this was the first year I actually had my own room, as it took my father about a decade to finish the basement– I would sit at our old crappy computer and write.

I don’t know that I had much ambition to be a writer, per se, but I just wrote. I carried around a diary and wrote it in during most of my classes, sometimes at lunch, filling the pages with my day.

I found a bunch of these journals in the basement (which, now after several floods, is back to half-finished…thank you, Montana) the other day as I was “packing” for my impending move.

Which leads me to yet another question: when did I stop writing so much? When did I let life get in the way of my writing? I never seemed to let class get in the way of my writing, as evidenced by the number of journals I wrote, and certainly my social life never impeded on my writing time, as evident in the number of stories on my old hard drive. (Proof of this can also be seen in the volume of books I own and in the leftover journals–how could I talk to anyone when all I did was write in those things?)

I suppose I stopped writing so much when I started college, actually got a viable social life–and spent my years of college making up for lost time in the social realm–and started to see some of the world.

Even with these changes, being a real writer has always been a little seed of a dream at the back of my head. I’ve accepted and also forgotten that I’ve always wanted to write–and always figured I would, someday. I’ve given it up at rejection, gotten distracted by other pursuits, been convinced it wasn’t sensible, convinced myself it was too competitive and maybe I wasn’t good enough. But it’s never gone away. I’ve also accepted that I have a million other things I want to do, too. (Like Jane Goodall-ing around the world, perhaps).

However, pursuits and travels aside, an English Lit degree in my hand, and I find myself back where I started–alone, in my room, at night, writing.

Have I come full circle? Is writing a dream I’ll ever make come true, or is it a dream I have just to dream?

I’m confident I’ll find a new dream, another dream–maybe my new job will lead me in new, unknown directions, and open the door to a new dream that never entered my mind. I know I’ll keep my writing dream–maybe even realize it–or maybe I’ll never make money from writing.

But it’s comforting to know I’ll always have writing, even if I only ever write for myself (or this blog, although thanks to my relative silence I’m not sure if anyone reads it). It might be an unrealized dream, it might be a line I never cross, but the true dream, really, is dreaming.

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