I live my life in advance. I don’t live for today, nor for tomorrow or even yesterday. I’ve come to realise recently I live in the time beyond tomorrow or next year. I live waiting for the big pay off, but don’t guard my pennies so to speak.
Instead of taking life day by day, doing the steps I need to take to get me where I dream of being, I look into the future and find myself thinking “I’m going to be how bloody old when I do this?”
University is a prime example of this. In 2009 I began a degree studying Ancient History. It was just a BA but I thought “well, it’s better than nothing and at least I’ll have one.” I booked in and got myself ready and just as I was about to start I found myself thinking “are you kidding me? This is going to take until I’m 39/40 to finish. Jesus. That’s too long, I’ll be wasting my time.”
So I withdrew from the course. I was a dreamer waiting to be a writer. I couldn’t waste 3 or more years on a degree. I had novels to create. So in the last 3 years, since first considering doing a University degree I’ve written exactly 0 novels. That’s right. None at all.
I’ve come to understand inside my head I’ve got this barrier. It’s called age. More accurately “getting older” and “being mature, a grown up.” Somewhere along the way I’ve developed the belief that because my goals will take time – my degree, writing novels – ill be “too old” by the time I finish them.
I admit there is bugger all logic in that thought process. God willing i’ll reach that age anyway, I may as well reach it with some achievements under my belt.
Recently I quit drinking. I kept facing a similar problem when I quit in the past. I didn’t quit “for now” or “today”. I quit for FOREVER.
The idea of quitting for forever freaked me out. Never again would I consume alcohol. Never. Usually when that thought hit, and stared down decades of sober living u would freak out and dive head first into the first box of wine I could find. Preferably the cheaper the better.
Two weeks ago I quit smoking. Everything was going along swimmingly and POW out of nowhere came the realisation “you will never smoke again”. And off I ran and hurriedly consumed the first cigarette I could get my hands on.
Forever is a long time. The idea of forever or never again terrifies me for some reason. As does being “too old” when I achieve something. I need to accept and understand I will never be a best selling novelist before I turn 30. I will never own my own publishing business before I turn 35. I’ve passed those ages. I’m now 39.
I am not dead, in excellent health and have no physical or mental impairment that will prevent me living another 50 or more years if I look after myself. I will never be too old to do anything until I’m in my grave.
There will be things I will not be able to do at 90 I can do at 39 physically. That’s a given. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do something even if it is simply have a beautiful rose garden when I am 90.
Somehow I’ve compartmentalised my life. I’ve boxed it up and decided at some random age I am no longer capable of dreaming or achieving without making myself look like a fool. And that quiet frankly is what appears to be under the carpet of this problem.
I will finish my University degree at 45/46. It’s a ridiculous age in my head. In my head Im thinking “finishing a university degree is the start of someone’s life. They may continue, but first degrees are for 21 year olds. I’m going to be too old and I’m going too look like a damn fool.”
This is complete and absolute bullshit. I’m too old and experienced to be starting my life at 45, that bits correct. But I’m not too old to complete a degree. Hell if I go on to do a MBA or something ill probably be 50 or close too it by the time I finish.
If I work consistently on an eBook novel, a small part daily ill have it drafted in a couple of months. It may even be ready to be published by the time I’m 40. If I just take the steps one at a time I may have several novels in the market by the time I graduate from my degree.
Frankly this is a fairly big issue for me and one that is deeply ingrained. I understand one blog post isn’t going to make it disappear forever. It’s going to take vigilance. I’m going to have to pay attention to it and address it each time it comes up.
I guess the point to this post is there are a variety of fears that dwell beneath the surface. It’s not enough to remove one and then think all is going to be rosy.
To paraphrase Shrek “We’re like an onion. Peel one stinky tear inducing layer away and there’s another waiting for you.”
Actually I’m not sure that quote is anything like the one from Shrek but you get my meaning.