The Question Of ‘What Now?’
I sit here alone in my bedroom turn pseudo-office, staring idly out through my window at the grey world outside. It’s a typical March day – looks as though it could rain any second and yet likely won’t. As if some divine force is up there toying with the people of this particular part of the world. I find myself with some time to kill before I venture out to see some of the people who choose to be around me…and I feel inclined to write my blog for the month.
Yet it isn’t the blog I’d intended to write. That will likely come next month now. No, instead I have decided to write something a tad more personal. A piece in which I drop the bullshit façade I tend to put on for a moment and put the self I keep hidden away in my own private world out there for the world to see.
This blog has been inspired in part by the blog of one Ms. Allison Mack, known to many for her portrayal of Chloe Sullivan in Smallville. I’ll likely make reference to the blog post in question later but in the meantime I want to get this under way.
I had actually begun writing this last night as I lay in bed unable to sleep but after rambling on for nearly a page and a half I thought perhaps it would be best if I started from scratch. Even now my thoughts are a chaotic jumble but hopefully I’ll manage to put them into some kind of order.
You know, it’s actually kind of ironic that this blog should be inspired by the writings of Ms. Mack. During the twilight days of Smallville I found myself empathizing more and more with the character of Chloe. As a result I came to a particularly startling revelation regarding myself. I’ve spent so many years allowing myself to be defined by other people or influenced by their points of view that I find myself feeling as though I’ve lost my sense of self somewhere along the way. That essential part of myself that allowed me to face the world with a “You know what world? I can take you on!” attitude and that drew people to me. I’ve spent so many years wearing so many different “hats” – be it the student hat, the son/grandson hat, the supervisor hat – that now that I find myself at a point in my life where I’m able to just be me….I guess I’m not entirely sure as to how to be just me.
The same is true of my work situation. I’ve been working in the same job for so long now that I find it defines the choices that I make when searching for new employ. What’s more, it even defines how I’m viewed by the people I’m applying to. You’d be surprised by just how many people have commented on my list of entirely creative qualifications only to then ask me (essentially), “So…why exactly are you applying to work with us?”. They don’t seem to take notice of the fact that I’ve dedicated nearly seven years of my life to the same job or that I moved up the ranks from volunteer to my current position within the first twelve months of that. No no.
Today I find myself once again back at square one. No passing go, no collecting the shiny new job that could have solved a number of your problems. The universe is apparently not done with testing you yet! I have found myself back at this point far too often over the course of the last few years and yet each time I seem to end up posing the same question to myself, “What now?”.
I’m sure a lot of you who’re reading this (I hope someone is at least!) are in similar positions. You find yourself being cut off at every corner. You want to find employ (or in the case of those like myself, different employ) and yet everywhere you turn everyone seems to be looking for experienced professionals without having the foresight to think that they could perhaps benefit more from hiring the inexperienced and allowing them to gain experience. You feel disheartened, scared and alone. You wonder ‘What do I have to offer now? What am I doing wrong?’ and that ever persistent question of “What now?’.
I wish I had some definite answer or some winning formula that could give you all guaranteed results but I don’t.
As it turns out, I’m more insecure about this particular area of my life than I had thought. With no safety net to catch me if I fall and no one there to gently nudge me in the right direction I find myself wondering if I’ll ever be good enough. There’s no road map for life and I know that the path taken is half the journey but still I find myself lacking the strength of spirit to struggle on despite my own inhibitions. How does one latch onto hope when everything feels so hopeless?
And yet, despite my feelings of self-pity, the words of Ms. Macks blog did resonate with me as I read them. They made me stop and realize that, “You know what? Maybe it isn’t so hopeless after all!”.
While retail may be the path I need to walk down for the moment to get that green stuff coming in, my heart will always belong to the fields of creativity. I want more than anything to tell the story of me to the world, whatever that story may be, and be the change I wish to see. And while I wish I had something of an ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ figure in my life to guide me, I know that the greatest test of my strength of spirit will be to figure this all out for myself.
Yet perhaps the real question here isn’t ‘What now? ‘but rather ‘What do I do with this?’. Despite my gilded cage, I have some level of freedom. I’m also not exactly short on time either. I’m a creative individual who’s at his happiest weaving words or wandering the path less travelled with camera in hand. Perhaps the cosmos is simply trying to beat me over the head with the realization that I have the time to explore and rebuild my sense of self.
I know that sooner or later this jumbled mess of thoughts and possibilities will transform themselves into something tangible. I also know that it will require me to work my ass off but I know that I am not alone. And I hope all of you reading this know the same.
For those who might be curious, the blog in question can be found here — http://www.allisonmack.com/2012/03/15/what-now and should Ms. Mack ever read this, all I can say is this – Thank you. And hopefully you don’t mind my making reference to your blog like this!
- Rick xo