My Hollywood Dream
As I sit alone in my expensive sardine can of a bachelor apartment, barely a kilometer away from the office, a few coke and rum cocktails down, I can’t help but reflect on the events of what seems to be the longest short year of my life.
let me start from from the beginning, in a somewhat dramatic fashion…
Trapped in the rat race that has fucked me over for nothing more then a mere extension of my somewhat comfortable life I received a Linkedin message which I thought would change everything.
The message was my chance to break out of a long string of unsatisfying jobs. I was so hungry for more. It would have me leave everything behind for a life in a new country with a new glamorous job title at a prestigious international firm.
It was the toughest decision of my life. Leaving all that I hold close and dear behind or risk stalemating my ‘success’. What a prick.
Before long, I found myself wiping away tears at the airport as I waved goodbye to the girlfriend that I adored and my parents who had to endure seeing their only child leave for a distant land all for a thicker wallet.
The Dream was that I would find myself building a better life, believing that somehow things would be different. The Dream was that I would enjoy balance again, enjoy access to greater material pleasures and be respected for my abilities in my field. I promised my loved ones and myself that I would not be the same frantic rat in the race that I had always been. I would pave the way for a happy, balanced and financially prosperous life. I would reunite with my love and we would enjoy sunsets on the beach and all would be well with the world.
In a way, I thought of myself as an ambitious actor trying to make it big in an ocean of actors, each scrambling for their one career changing role and this was mine. I was lured in by the Dream.
My Hollywood Dream. My pursuit of happiness. My lie.
I knew I had to prove myself, and prove myself I did. I proved myself over and over. I proved myself to myself, to my peers, to my new employer and to people who would ultimately forget me. I proved myself to the point where I started looking down on others who couldn't keep up all the while chasing those above me. I became an enforcer, a knucklehead of my own selfish ambition. Anyone who got in my way was nothing more then target practice. And yet the more I proved myself, the harder it became to maintain the mantle of the Dream.
After this long short year I had grown weary with not having reaped the spoils of my efforts, I was pissed. Surviving the gauntlet before a crowd of fellow bloodthirsty Dreamers who demanded only more of me. I do not have a better quality of life, I live at work and my personal life is in ruins.
I found myself instead in a perpetual state of anguish, desperate to gain ground from some unseen enemy that threatened my Dream and yet with each battle won, victory over the war seemed to recede from me.
I did not accept it at first. I fought with myself, insisting that the Dream was real and within my grasp. I just needed to push harder, push longer. My days and nights were all consumed by it, all in the hope that I would satisfy Maslow and that I would exclaim to the love of my life that I had made it and the struggle would soon be a long distant memory. I had painted myself into a corner in which admitting defeat would be my ultimate fall from grace.
I would grumble “I took all necessary precautions, read the books, the articles, watched the goddamned TED talks and yet it’s as if I am running and the ground beneath me is a fucking treadmill!” all the while tossing back stimulants to stay in the fight.
It dawned on me that the Dream I was chasing was nothing more than a lie brainwashed into me in part by our consumerist society. Something I thought I was keenly aware of and yet without even noticing I gradually slipped into its sweet, mind numbing embrace.
The lie of happiness. The twisted mass acknowledgement that to be happy in our society one must be ‘successful’. To be successful in this society, one must hoard and pursue enough money and status in order to ‘enjoy’ life with our friends and family in all its material grandeur. The lie that has us measuring each other up and vying for position. The lie that should you obtain some arbitrary dollar value you will at last claim your hard earned ‘happiness’. The Dream.
All the flashing xenon billboards will, however, fail to explain the bones of the people you will tread over while you march toward ‘success’. The sacrifice of relationships in order to stand a fighting chance at this lie. The figurative dicks you will suck to get any edge over your competing Dreamers. The single minded pursuit of ‘wealth’ is your God and you will hunt it down relentlessly to appease him and save your soul!
I left my home, my family, my lover all because I felt it was the ‘right’ move to make. I felt that it was the ONLY thing to do! A sense of duty if you will. To a be mighty and prove once and for all that I can achieve happiness the way I thought it was meant to be achieved. I was too fucking arrogant to realize that I already had everything I needed.
I am twenty eight years old. I live alone. I barely have a life outside of my work. All that remains of my loved ones and friends are now digital facades of once true relationships. My Colleagues are the only substantial human contact I have and while we share much time with each other it is no substitute for real intimacy.
While I am trying to get my REAL life back on track and repairing the damage of my long distance relationship it is not without difficulty and suffering. My only hope is that someone will take this story to heart and not make the same mistake I did. Not for any goddamned paycheck, foreign or domestic.
Follow your dreams, but make sure they are your own and make damned sure you don’t leave a wake of broken relationships behind you. When you are on your death bed, they will be the ONLY thing that matters.
Much love, I leave you with System of a Down: Lost in Hollywood which inspired me to share my story.