George Bernard Shaw said, “Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
Over the course of as many days, three people have posed the question to me, "What holds you back?" I like to think I'm intrepid, but the fact is, I get timid about stuff. I worry that I make wrong decisions. I'm concerned that if I throw myself into something I'll end up finding out that I took the wrong direction. Most of all, I don't want to just find myself flitting around my passions and hoping for a better day... I want to be a Bohemian, but I want to be a Bohemian with purpose! Sigh. Am I a walkin', talkin' contradicion, or what?!
Funny how advice, suggestions and solutions come my way just when I'm pondering such things. But, I guess the very nature of ephiphany is that it shows up when you least expect it. I've recently stumbled across a few different websites/blogs that discuss much the same issue - the idea of being a renegade in a world that has solid expectations to the contrary. One such website is MildlyCreative, run by a guy named Ken. In a November post he wrote: "Some day you won’t be here, but you’re here today and that’s a gift. You ought to have something to say about it. When you’re being creative, when you’re making things, you’re really making meaning because you’re engaged in the process of discovering and expressing what it means to you to be alive."
Creativity comes in so many forms... some of us are artists, some are engineers, some are doctors, some are Mothers, some are atheletes, some are... you get the idea. Creativity is whatever you most desire to do, the thing that drives you (or should), that impassions your mind. It's the old saw, "If you could do anything, what would it be?" In his November article, Ken also said, "Fear says, 'Creativity is only for geniuses.' Fear says, 'Creativity is only for crazy people.' Fear is a damned fool."
No matter what other ruts there are along the path, the thing that stops most of us is some form of fear. By and large, we have been ingrained with the standard that we are obligated to work certain jobs, pay mortgages/rent and bills, stuff to accumulate, and call it a good life. I'm not saying that isn't a good life, but what would happen if we all persued what we really, really want to? What if we all lived an unconventional life? Such a thing is possible, but it's really difficult to get rid of all the preconcieved notions that hold us back, and the guilt that follows in trying to break those chains.
For the past year, I've been working to break those chains. For the past six months, I've been working even harder, disregarding my trepidation and just going for it. I refuse to be held back, I refuse to come to the end of my life wondering 'what if' and wishing I had at least tried. Part of working to break the chains is discovering and analyzing what's holding me back in the first place. It isn't an easy task. Self-surgery rarely comes with anesthetics.
What holds you back? What would you do if you could do anything? Why aren't you doing it? Let's go crazy together.