Contrary to what we collectively conspire to believe, there’s no expiration date on achievement.”
Who the f#@k are ‘you’ and why should we care? The reader will want to know if you employ the dreaded ‘I’ and write about yourself.
Today I stumbled on the Aristotelian three principles for successful rhetoric. But don’t let the next paragraph scare you off. It’s less brainy than it sounds and will attempt to address the above question, which is incidentally the only place you’ll ever see me substitute ‘fuck’ with ‘f#@k.’
My laptop displaying Aristotle’s Ethos, Pathos and Logos was a timely accident that coincided with my How do I get people to read my damn blog? pickle. Briefly, Ethos is the appeal through the character of the speaker where she has to prove her credibility or authority on a subject, Pathos is the emotional appeal, and Logos is appealing through reason by way of words. Pathos is easy and organic in discourses about the self, as selves are given to emotional emission. But because in your eyes I am nobody, I have to derive my Ethos (character) through Logos (words).
What am I claiming to be an authority on? Dreaming of greatness while sitting still. Make no mistake, this is a more involved field of expertise than you might imagine. It takes years of practice. But I will encapsulate it for you in one sentence: When you don’t back up all that dreaming with doing, even if opportunities fall in your lap — because sometimes they do — you’ll let them pass by since you’re so comfy sitting still.
Going about everything all wrong can be great fun. But on a whim, you might decide to change your field of expertise and learn to become an authority on how to actually get somewhere. And suddenly, you have a journey, maybe even a process you can share — which by the way, does not include visualization.
Obviously, keeping objectives clear in one’s mind is useful, but that isn’t the same as dawdling with visualization as a means to an end. Right now, I’m giddy with my new communication enterprise in which I blog about my personal baggage, hoping to glean worthwhile conclusions.
My objectives are to publish writing, make films, and be a well-rounded human being who is healthy, kind and doesn’t suffer from poverty.
It happens that writing on these topics serves as a mental generator. Writing, unlike virtue — because they really lied to us about that one — is its own reward. My mind is awake and bouncy because I’m actively engaged, instead of passively wishing. And while not directly related to whether or not I book my next audition, this nifty mental generator is decluttering my psyche so that maybe next time in the audition room, I might be more present.
Adults invariably ask kids: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As a willful little girl under the rule of parents and teachers, my response was usually, “Free.”
You can see where this is headed.
So what’s doing everything wrong?
I smoked cigarettes under the bridge by the East River by the time I was in the 5th grade. I didn’t finish High School. I didn’t even finish Junior High School. My literacy has more to do with devouring books off the shelves of my parents’ extensive library than formal education. I’d run away for several days at a time and bring my hapless parents to tears. I could’ve been a rapper with my tales of the street. (Not really.)
But I was an innocent rebel, less participant and more wide-eyed observer, so I didn’t get too caught up in runaway activities. I opted for a High School Equivalency Diploma and started college at 16, but then I didn’t finish college. I accumulated 120 units of mostly Incompletes.
I spent a decade sleeping until 3 pm, because in New York, nightclubs kept going until 4 am. Of course at 4 am, it was time for illegal after-hour clubs, and I was a devoted Club Kid back when it was a thing.
On the other hand, I visited twenty countries around the world by the time I was twenty. I lived in Iran, France and Italy. I hitchhiked and smuggled myself on trains and across borders without entry visas through whole countries and adventures I wouldn’t trade for High School trigonometry.
Later, I didn’t have trouble finding regular jobs: I was as hirable as I was fireable. In a five block radius in SoHo alone, I had seven jobs in two years — at a gallery, a restaurant, a movie theatre, a shoe store, a real estate office, a design shop and an art glass store.
People kept hiring me, even those who fired me, often rehired me. Apparently, I was a lovable fuckup with excellent manners.
I don’t advocate a jobless, pseudo-vagabond life, but what I wanted out of life, out of a career, was monumental in comparison to what I perceived was within my reach. So I figured while I smoothed out the kinks in my work ethic, it was just silly to forgo adventure.
I could toil later for my larger-than-life share of meaning.
Recognizing we live the life we choose keeps us free of regret. I sure know my life is the sum of choices and not circumstance. The good news is, contrary to what we collectively conspire to believe, there’s no expiration date on achievement.
But even as a teenager, I scolded myself: You’ve got to get your shit together. This stuff won’t be cute when you’re old.
Naturally I didn’t listen.
Now that I’m ‘old’ and wild and free, I catch my breath no less than before at my expansive dreams. But I do wonder if the dreaming ever goes away, if one day we wake up and think, guess I was wrong believing I’d get more.
I don’t know what I want the answer to be in these two scenarios: the one where we die dreaming, versus the one where we realize dreaming is for suckers.
I guess between the two, I dream of — no, I demand — an appealing third option. I want to reach into my very dreamscape and pull out the prettiest possibility and re-plant it in reality.
Maybe that’s the dreamiest way dreamers tell themselves it’s time to work their ass off.
Let’s see where all this poetry gets me in a year’s time. (continue)
- Whether you do things right or wrong, you can only do them like you, and being you requires no apology. (Assuming you’re not a malevolent asshole aiming to hurt people, and if you are, remove yourself from society and land in custody.)
- Regret, as you’ve heard, is useless. We are where we are because we consciously or subconsciously chose it. That means at any point in life, we could choose something completely different. (Unless you’re in custody.) How lucky and exciting to be able to choose our lives.
◊ Thanks for your comments, shares and likes. Most of all, sincere thanks for reading.
◊ If you enjoy and want more GG, do sign up!
◊ You can also follow GG verbal and pictorial missives on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
~ Tell me your thoughts below ~
WordPress informs me that below this paragraph or elsewhere on the site, random ads out of my control might appear unless I spring for the no-ad upgrade. If so, apologies.
I thoroughly enjoyed, and related to, this post. For a short time after I finished school, I chased my enormous dreams with fiery enthusiasm and boundless energy, and I pursued my passion in spite of all the naysayers. However, several disruptions later, I was (as you aptly put it) “dreaming of greatness while sitting still”. Two decades later, I finally woke up to my reality and realised that the dreams were never going to materialise if I never took any action.
I’m glad that you’ve started moving again. Keep moving and you will gain momentum.
Pleasure to discover your work. Bianca x
Thank you, Bianca. It is so true about momentum: If you move, it will come.
I like your writing and attitude. You sound like you have had and are having some grand adventures.
Thanks very much on both counts. Grand adventures for sure, but sometimes peace and wisdom are a welcome respite. Of course once you get enough rest, off you go again…
I will continue to read your posts and try to live vicariously through your adventures……
And have adventures of your own and blog about them…
I won’t lie in saying I am jealous of the experiences you had. I was too straight-and-narrow. High school. Take some time off, work, then go back to college. Get into debt. Realize my degrees are worthless. Find myself on the short end of a crappy industry. And now, with all going bad, all I have are dreams. I work my rear off and try and find what I need to do, but sometimes I wonder what will happen. Dreams keep me pushing forward.
I don’t have many regrets in life. I look at things in the way that if I had chosen B instead of A, my life could be even worse. I might not be close to the people I am or, worst case, I could be dead. Who knows? Do I have some petty regrets? Sure. But in the end, my decisions shaped who I am. One day, I will land on my feet once again and I’ll look back at this time without regret, knowing my choices were made for whatever reason I had at the time.
An excellent post. I’m really enjoying your writing.
You can call mine the “un-mommy” blog. The mom blogs are great – and have you seen how funny and clever?! But there’s lots of room for counterbalancing the female blogosphere.
Thoughtful series of posts. I enjoyed reading them – made me think for a change. Thank you for your writing. A couple of observations: I think that reality is subtly biased toward the positive – no matter how the situation appears – look for it ; Dreams can come true if you stand in the future, look back at the present, and then pull the present toward you: standing in your image of the future without using the present to make it real is a fool’s errand.
Anyway, thanks for waking up my brain cells. Keep up the good work.
That’s a lovely way of putting it, “stand in the future, look back at the present, and then pull the present toward you.” Thank you for your words, and most especially, the thought behind them.
Out of curiosity, why do you use a censored version of the word “fuck”? And this was a great and insightful intro to your words.
1- I find it funny visually and conceptually (reminds me of comic book exclamations when meant for young children).
2- I didn’t want “fuck” in my first sentence – both as a show of respect towards sensitive readers, and as their preparation for what was to come.
I like your use of words, and I like how you are not afraid to expand their meanings. Well done!
Thank you and welcome to the blog.
Lovely and honest and hit the nail on the head for me.
Thank you, my dear.
I needed to read this after my weekend. And I prefer the option “dreaming into creation” which is probably my delusional way of justifying I have control over my expectations of the future…which I don’t but I dream I do. Or whatever 🙂
You are a fascinating person…glad I was directed here. Our lives are so different and I know I could learn more than a few things from you.
I feel the same way about you.
I strongly believe we have more control than we think over our future. Some things can’t be helped, which means, all the more reason for us to take charge of everything we can.
I have to come back to read this full series when I’m not wrapping up my lunch break. It’s always a balancing act between the work it takes to get somewhere, the thrill of being in that moment you created, and revving up to propel yourself to another stage of being. You sound like an expert at being in the moment you wanted to have, which I personally think is the hardest part.
Jennie, if there were only one concept towards which I would want all the current and future posts on this blog to culminate, it would be “balance.”
I’m in constant fear of not being adventurous enough. Not taking advantage of opportunities because I over think them, inevitably “what-iffing” them to death. Or fearing the unknown too much to ever experience anything. It’s a difficult balance with me. I fight/battle/argue with anxiety any time change (or the possibility of change) rears its head. Yet, my soul is a risk taker. A wanderer. An explorer.
I look back on a lot of things and think, I DID THAT? But how many opportunities did I squander with the what-ifs?
Like I said, it’s a delicate balance.
I admire the risks you took, as well as the solace you find in rest.
A thinking, feeling person like you, would have made choices for good reasons. If you chose not to take whatever risks, it wouldn’t have been out of fear. I don’t believe it. And the beauty of it is, there will always be more opportunities and choices for you to make. Ultimately, you are too self-aware to let something like “anxiety” dictate your behavior.
Regret is most certainly useless. It serves no purpose and I feel like I can only make the choices that were best for me at the time. Hindsight is always so clear, but if we didn’t take the risk, we would’ve missed out on the adventure. It may be helpful to know this is coming from someone that only one year ago, sold almost everything, packed her bags and moved her family across the Atlantic to Germany. 🙂
I can’t wait to learn all about your decision to move your whole family to Germany!
“Recognizing we live the life we choose keeps us free of regret.”
That’s rather profound, and I’m a bit angry about it, because since I read it I’ve been trying to construct a decent argument in my head against it, and I can’t.
I am at heart a pragmatist. A settler. A withdrawer-into-a-safe-space-er. And it pisses me the hell off, because I see so many people who have LIVED. Who have ADVENTURED. And I stand on the sidelines and I watch the unfolding of their tales, dripping with envy and the knowledge that I could never allow myself to do it – to be so reckless, to put up with the discomfort, discomfit and uncertainty of living that kind of life. Nor could I cope with the reality of what it would do to my family if I ever decided to up sticks and follow my…well, I can only call them ‘fantasies’ because I know (being an habitual over-thinker) that the realities would be very, painfully different, were I to attempt any of them.
And so I stay home. I do nothing. I go nowhere. I have no adventures and never have had, because I wonder if escaping childhood with even a remote semblance of an acceptable human being (now, perhaps (jury’s out)) has been my ‘adventure’, and whether the innate and life-long knowledge (I’m trying so hard to combat it) of my own lack of worth, renders me undeserving of adventure, excitement or the ability to carry them out.
Or perhaps I’ve just ended up lost inside my own head, wrestling my own soul, and the challenge there is too consuming to allow my focus to drift, in case I end up really lost.
Whatever it is, it sucks. And I hate that I can’t regret my choices, having chosen them.