What holds us back? It's fear. It's the idea that we may fail. We're content. We'd rather be entertained than entertain. We aren't natural adventurers – if there isn't a map, we're afraid to attempt the journey. So what do we do?
We can cry. We can point out the mistakes of others, and their flaws. We can look inward and search, though sometimes fruitlessly. We search for things we love, enjoy. We can classify needs as wants and wants as needs; those that have come before us have defined such, but it's different for every individual. I need to feel free. There is no such thing as destiny, there are the paths I choose and the decisions I make. I don't care about what Laszlo thinks he has figured out.
We look to our mentors and idols and role models for courage, but being their clone can never make us happy; most of us don't have one, we have many or we have none.
We want to ask for help but don't know the words; we can say the word 'help' but that's the extent of our knowledge of what we require. Whether it be a level of nurturing or love or duty, does anyone know what the next growing step is? We can only hope that there is a next step, a next corner, a next obstacle, and that when we reach its summit, that we feel accomplished, if but only for a moment.
Sometimes we're alone. Those whom watch us grow and mature and blossom, those who counsel us and nurture us, they know us and know 'where we're coming from' but unless they're you, they can never fully understand us. The only person who can completely glimpse into the decisions we make and the reasons behind them are ourselves; unfortunately, most of us will never be capable of this feat. And quite a feat it would be. Perhaps upon reaching our death bed we can look back and see and understand ourselves purely, though that could only benefit the dying.
What are we left to do? Risk. Risk change, risk losing wants and needs, risk failing goals. Risk losing the love others have for us. Risk sanity. Risk control. Risk others not following through on their commitments. Risk others' opinions of you, positive or negative.
We crave. We need challenge. Occasionally we are willing to go all in. Sometimes once in a lifetime, sometimes never. Wants and needs become forever blurred; perhaps challenge is a want, for it is not air, food or water. It is, however, an appetite by definition. Without hunger can we consume the air and the food and the water our bodies and life-forces require to survive?
Some reach their bar, their level, their capacity. Others will not and never can. Behind every goal is another. Be a hero. Help those in need. Have a family, provide for them, guarantee their success, or, at least guarantee that they will never struggle. But is struggle not appetite of another flavor, that next level? Without that taste in their mouths, do our children stand a chance to succeed? If my children cannot surpass me then I know I have failed.
And what about others, those who help build and shape a system that confuses equality with will? I refer to a system favoring degrees over a hunger that cannot be taught or certified or diplomaed. Ancestory and income level are not things that can teach us how to be insatiable, nor is school or college. Perhaps you're born with it or learn it through struggle at early life stages. I have it. Success is not a want, it is a need. I don't know what happens if it doesn't occur, if it isn't reached. Give up? To what end?
I'm ravenous. Sometimes I think there's something wrong with me, though most times I know there's something wrong with the expectations of society. I refuse to conform to the ideas and the teachings of mediocrity. These lessons are not for me. I like to fail. I was able to ride a two-wheeler before my third birthday and somedays, with all my heart, I wish I was still that fearless, relentless three year old with bloody knees and holes in his jeans. I must have that drive left in here somewhere, in some forgotten, uncharted chamber of my heart. Where did the disconnect happen that I now consider mediocrity, a consideration that makes me nauseous and sick to my stomach to oblige?
Some days I think the world should shape itself around people like me, until my compassion gets the best of this thought. Most people need to be protected by someone bigger, stronger and smarter than themselves. I constantly battle to fit into a mold designed for people that couldn't be farther from who I am or what I need. But I'm searching. I want to know which crevice to conform to. Frankly, right now I feel like the world was not build for me and I was not built for it; the 'if you can't beat 'em, join em' attitude is approaching the horizon and it is not one I have yet fully indulged. What if this new horizon yields nothing to my needs?
My frustration asks why the world is like this, how it has grown into a system that gives into the weak and lazy. To be clear, by weak and lazy I refer to those not willing to live up to their ability.
So what's next? Where do we go from here, as man? As humanity? Around the next corner will we find the future or a turn to the past? To be prepared for everything means to be successful at nothing. Specialization is the word of the information age, but what are those of us whome are bored of specialization left with? We're left with internal storms ripping and roaring between conformity and success, in a town that feels like it's called Failure. Some of us are mayors of this town, but I want to move. Failure isn't trying and not succeeding, failure is not trying.
Self-motivation is perhaps the most difficult eating utensil to find on our metaphorical tables. Where does it come from? Sure, hunger tells us we have need. But self motivation must be some far off, foreign, long-forgotten recipe that must be too good to be real. A 'holy grail', so to speak. It's well above and beyond what a set of jumper cables can do. Answers, where are you?
Is there some voice, some carelessness, some ringing in our ears that tells us when there's an opportunity in front of us we shouldn't pass up?
What's wrong with us that instead of searching harder we would rather pierce those almost invisible chinks in the armor of those who show us love and compassion and future? While we lie in wait, while we anticipate being the figurative phoenix rising from the ashes of what our childhood selves knew we could be, we choose battles that don't matter. We start arguments so we can feel like we've at least won something. But those who love us, and stick by our sides, they don't deserve this from us. They deserve more focus, more caring, more love. They deserve not to be victims and casualties of our merciless search for success and perfection, they deserve our recognition, and our thanks, and our undying love.
We all, to some degree, remain stuck inside ourselves. We all reside in coffins within our own brains, buried alive and suffocating to death. Our dreams will die this way unless we claw our way out, dig tunnels to the surface and emerge survivors dedicated to meeting and conquering every challenge.
The worst saying I have ever heard is, “Think outside the box”. I refuse to think that there is a box. I refuse to think that originality is dead. There are new ways of doing things, of saying things, of telling people things, of selling things and of creating things. They're out there. Maybe it's because we've seen so many flavors of these 'things' over the years and decades and centuries that it's just easier to pick one that's worked and has been working than to think of a new way. A better way. A cleaner way, a way that is less harmful. A way that protects those whom cannot protect themselves. The computerization of the world has further pushed us into conformity. We have lost creativity, originality, and character. We think inside the box more so now that ever, especially now that the box is a physical, identifiable, tangible thing. If the computer can't do it then we can't do it. I'll tell you what, people – we accomplished unimaginable things before the implementation of the computer; from an engineering standpoint, we went to the moon. We created an aircraft that is the fastest and highest flying naturally aspirated human-piloted machine ever build by man; we did it over 60 years ago. And we did it all without computers. People and their brains thought this stuff up, not computers and websites and social media and the cloud.
We all give things up, we quit, we 'sell out'. For better or worse, we have to admit those things cannot be undone. It doesn't matter how much we miss those things and activities and freedoms, they're gone and it's over and it's time to grow and move on. It's time for what's next, it's time to let go. You've shed your tears and you've said your goodbyes but you fell like you're stuck and that next step feels impossibly far away. Meanwhile, through the fog that is need and want, you try to identify what you want. I just want to feel like I made a difference. In a life, in two, in three. A difference significant enough to improve lives. I search around for something to mimic and I can't find it; the difference I'm searching to be a part of may not yet exist.
For right now, for tonight, until tomorrow, I sit in tears. What's the answer? I'm patient but I want to know, I need to know. What's next, what do I do, where do I go from here? I'm on the top rung of the ladder frantically searching for the next step, looking for that next ledge to reach up for. I refuse to give into the notion that I'm a climber who's reached his peak. The mountain I'm on is higher than this, it's got to be. I just need to find that next handhold, that next foothold, to get me to that next foot further up. Where is it? I'm going crazy searching, waiting, attempting patience, and searching again, then waiting, and questioning whether I'm on the peak, and the searching more. I need to know. I need answers. What's next, where do I go, what can I do, who should I talk to, what can I say? Utterly, truly, tonight as I sit, I am without a paddle.