Ladies and Gentlemen,
I sit before you a changed man. The change is similar to a person who has conquered substance abuse or had an earth shattering realization in therapy that righted everything into focus. I know it to be true. I know I have rounded the corner on this ridiculous highway of life. I am certain for one glorious reason: I look back with repulsion.
It is like the ending of a bad relationship, a job, a friendship or anything that you'd have a prolonged, intimate association with in your life; when you assess it later, you feel like such a tool. How could I have wasted all of that time? What was I thinking? Why did I bother in the first place? Jesus, maybe I am seriously mental?
The feelings are normal and universal and probably healthy in some cathartic context. But for sure, when you have those questions, you know the ship has sailed.
I am ready to accept this fact. Scratch that. Too passive. I accept the FACT that I… Still too passive. Here goes: I will never be famous.
Oh my God, Jim! It took you this long???
I know! How the hell do you think I feel? I even wrote about on this site only a few short months ago, but the fangs sink in very deep. I want to be honest to the dozen people or so who ever read this: I honest and for true believed that one day I would sell a book and get to meet Jon Stewart. I really did. I honestly believed that all my lame jobs and sacrifice for one thing or another was all prologue for a great background story when I inevitably made it as a nationally-known writer or something. The something being...?
Here's why this is a mental disorder and is poisonous to your life. To detail the extent of its clutches would paint me as an infinitely deluded loser or childish ego-driven windbag. Either is close to the mark, but not quite the sweet spot.
I will say that this delusion can affect all of your major career decisions; but even more diabolically, your small decisions. I can't begin to imagine the number of potential friends I've dismissed because my mind was elsewhere. And besides the friendship and camaraderie, there is the sheer amount of contacts I could have made that would have helped your average sane person. There must be an endless gallery of missed opportunities based on wishes of something that I really knew would never happen. Yoda was right. Look it up.
It's faith, folks. It is an innocent thing. We need it. If we can't find it in church we turn to our lives and the potential we may possess. But for me, it just got in the way. Even when I realized it, when it hit me in the noggin, I thought: "I'll write this down and it will be an interesting chapter in the book I'll be famous for in the future…" NOOO! Then I took a breath and tried to go a day without thinking I was going to be famous.
I thought about my old career path that was abandoned for financial reasons yet seemed more practical after the cloud lifted. I wanted to be a college professor. A real, live, boring old stiff that knew more about Teddy Roosevelt than anyone cared to know. It felt nice. Then I thought about the long road of school ahead of me. There were still plenty of obstacles, but I was comforted by the process. I have not been truly 'busy' in a long time. I thought I'd have to sharpen my essay skills, because there would be a published paper or two in the future. And hey, maybe my book would be interesting enough to sell a few copies and it would get me a chance to be a guest on the Daily Show! Dammit!
It can't be your last chapter. I've written some books. Don't write the last chapter first. Write as you go.
I finished my day of normalcy with better plans. I'm really the same person. Only now, I don't care who knows it.