I need to watch The Pursuit of Happyness again soon.
Every so often, something happens that shakes me. It messes with my equilibrium and I start to doubt, wonder and panic. More often than not, the ‘something’ is reality. Take today for example. I checked my bank statement and could no longer run from something I’ve suspected for a while now. I’m nearly out of money.
The thing with dreams is that they are expensive; much more so than conformity. I used to like asking people why they don’t quit their jobs and go after their dreams. The most common answer is money, at which point I’d say something like, ‘if you step out, and go for it, the money will come right.’ Maybe there’s more wisdom in the masses than I realised. Maybe it’s not just fortune that favours the brave. Could it be that when the brave crash and burn we prefer to call them stupid?
I don’t know. I can’t believe that being sensible is the best way for me to live my life. That’s why I need to watch The Pursuit of Happyness. I’ll shed tears of gratitude during the scene where he sleeps in a toilet with his son. I’ll be inspired to keep going when things come right for him at the end. I’ll tell myself that if I just keep going, if I roll with the punches, if I just hang in there, somehow things will come right.
Believe it or not, Sylvester Stallone said something really profound about this issue. A long time ago I watched a documentary charting his rise to fame. For a long time he struggled and couldn’t get a part in a movie. Eventually, if I remember correctly, he wrote the script for Rocky himself, cast himself in the lead role, and the rest we all know.
During that documentary, he said words to the effect of: everyone gets their shot. It’s just that not everyone hangs around long enough to take it.
My brother-in-law, K., and I disagree on most things. This weekend’s topic was Barack Obama. AS far as K. is concerned, Obama is nothing more than hot air. He acknowledges the fact that Barack is an incredibly motivating speaker, but as far as he’s concerned there is no evidence that he has any substance. Hillary on the other hand was in the White House when her husband was president, and since Bill was a good president, K. is happy to assume that Hillary will also do a good job. None of this is unreasonable really, so why am disappointed (again) in K.?
I hate the assumption that enthusiasm and excitement are for the naive whereas the dull, serious demeanour of Hillary signal depth and competence. People are so sceptical it’s sad! Many of those who don’t support Obama are instinctively repelled by his message of because they feel it’s too good to be true. We’ve been conditioned to keep our expectations low and not too hope for too much. To borrow Barack’s words, we’ve got used to doing the same old things the same old way we don’t believe things could be different. Like caged birds that don’t realise that there’s an open hatch or have just become comfortable with the cage they know. It breaks my heart.
It’s not just about Obama. If you have genuine issues with what he stands for, don’t support him. It’s about everything. There’s just such a general poverty of hope everywhere. There’s a reluctance to question the status quo and dare to do things differently. Fear, self interest and the desire for conformity and acceptance have shackled us.
Why isn’t the world a better place? Most of us won’t dare stand out. Like K., we’re willing to sacrifice our dreams for the familiarity of the status quo.
The Graveyard of Ambition. What a poetic name! I’m not surprised though, everything about Galway, my new home, is poetic. I could try and explain why it’s such an apt name, but Will Sullivan did a much better job than I could (click on link to read his article).
I can’t afford to have this place be any sort of graveyard as far as I’m concerned. I cannot have my dreams fizzle and be replaced with by some sad state of acceptance. I just can’t have all the sacrifices I’ve made come to nothing.
No, Galway is going to be the place of my rebirth. One day I’ll tell people that it was in this so called graveyard that my dreams came to life. In Galway I’m going to write the first of my articles that gets published by a newspaper – and it will be followed by many more. I’m going to develop my writing here. I’m going to learn how to build clean, sharp, professional web sites. I’m going to conquer my fear of ridicule and my addiction to approval. I’m going to start up my web business and do great things. And I’ve already begun!
It has been about 2 weeks since I started this blog, and although it isn’t the busiest place on the web, I’m grateful to those few people who have begun to drop in regularly. Although it’s still difficult to say exactly what type of blog this is, I know it will take shape and a community will grow around it. And although I’m doing better here than I am on my other fronts, I’m not discouraged. Actually, even if my success on this blog is modest, it motivates me to keep at it on all my other fronts (freelancing, learning web design, photography and ecommerce).
Galway was also at one stage Europe’s fastest growing city. Hopefully, a little of that will flow my way.