“There are years I can’t escape my mind.
My body quits, I get the blues
and fucking angry when love follows suit.
And can’t see they’ve left me behind.”
“Why do we have to listen to our hearts?” the boy asked.
“Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you will find your treasure.”
-Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
As a young adult, there are a lot of unanswered questions we ask ourselves. And since graduation many people have come to me with those questions. Our mind is constantly searching for context in this hazy mist of our future. It’s easy to take the mind’s bait, while laying in bed, and sink back into the covers, asking oneself questions that can’t possibly be answered. Here are some of the one’s I’ve encountered as of late:
- I already don’t like my job & I worked four years for this career. What will I possibly do with the rest of my life?
- What makes me happy?
- When will I discover what I love?
- Is there a purpose to any of this?
- There’s so much I want to do in life, and I already feel I don’t have enough time…
All of these questions are valid. In every transition period of any human’s life, these questions arise. Whether it’s high school or college graduation, engagement, marriage, kids, changing jobs, the death of a loved one – it’s easy to spend excessive amounts of time questioning everything from what coffee shop you’re going to study at to ‘mid-life crisis’ quitting of your job. You find yourself in the heart of life’s tornado, while everything around you progresses forward…and you’re stuck.
Being a person who overthinks everything, I have some advice to get out of the rut. But first a preface on the advice I give from my favorite book, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho :
“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
The advice I give, I have a hard time accepting, and living true to. This isn’t uncommon. But what I hope is, by joining hands with The Audible Threshold community, we can achieve success together.
The advice: focus on the vision that got you to where you are, not where you are going to go from here.
I always get stuck with contemplating the now and being unsure of the future. This leads me to nitpicking at my personal daily routines and thoughts. Let me give you an example from my best friend in college….we’ll call her Beth.
See Beth went through college wanting to be a teacher. And four years later, she now oversees her own class. It’s all she ever dreamed of as a freshman. But now, with overseeing her class she is required to daily deal with the insanity of 2nd graders, the insanity of their parents, and the insanity of her administration. Asking herself the question: “I already don’t like my job and I worked four years for this career. What will I possibly do with the rest of my life?”
This question cannot possibly be answered now.
What I told her was this: “You didn’t become a teacher to deal with the insanity of daily routines. Find out the big picture vision that you had that inspired you to be a teacher. Was it to teach students small lessons that let them tackle the big questions of life? Was it to teach students how to love life and develop an insatiable hunger for curiosity? FIND THAT VISION. It’s impossible to see the vision from a day-to-day perspective, but you’ll get glimpses. And if you find yourself not being able to actualize the vision – find ways to transform yourself now into that version of yourself.
Dissatisfaction with life can come easy in the mind. Weekends alone, monotonous tasks at your desk, and the lack of intimate relationships can do that to you. But by reminding oneself how you got to where you are, and finding the vision you at one time created, you may find solace.
Responding to all of this, I wouldn’t doubt you’ll question my advice, saying that a person cannot grow if they live in the past. But that’s not what I’m saying. Go ahead and dream big. Go find what creates happiness in yourself. Make new visions and run at them without hesitation. One of my favorite slam poems by Anis Mojgani says this perfectly:
“So when the world knocks at your front door
Clutch the knob tightly and open on up
And run forward and far into its widespread, greeting arms
With your hands outstretched before you
Fingertips trembling, though they may be”
What I’m trying to get across is that it’s hard to see the big picture when you’re only looking through a 24 hour kaleidoscope, where everything is convoluted, out of order, and easy to misconstrue. Sometimes daily shit must be prodded through to get to that dream of inspiring a generation of children through education. It’s a fucked up double edged sword, but if wielded correctly can reshape your perspective and fervor for your idea of success.
If you think this doesn’t apply to you, if you think this is wrong, or if you want something more specific to your situation…I would love to talk with you. I may not have the answers, but I’d love to listen and help you along your personal journey. Whether that’s through music or writing or video or conversation, there’s always an answer. Reach out to me on Twitter @logan_stoneman or through email firstname.lastname@example.org
“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” – J.P. McEvoy
And watch this acoustic performance, which is pretty much perfection.