IT’S ALL HAPPENING (for everyone except you)! : A Guide
You’ve been plugging away at your passions in between working your day job and all of the other typical bullshit that pops up every day in life. You’ve been at it for a while and the people who you’ve been doing it with are starting to get scooped up by the big time fame machine. They’re landing auditions, booking gigs, making that paper, whatever. It’s great! You’re happy for them! Except there’s one problem: none of this is happening to you.
This is a scenario that befalls many hard-working young people these days, and most don’t really know how to deal with it. UNTIL NOW.
As someone who’s failed time and again to gain the fame and fortune that I had promised myself while growing up in a time of American optimism, I’d like to share my expertise in navigating the choppy waters of life in the USS No Progress. I’ve outlined three approaches to your newly realized stagnant life here, but there are plenty of other ways to do it too — you just gotta find what works for you!
Instant classic right here. Sour grapes comes from that Aesop fable about the fox who can’t reach the grapes he likes, so he skulks away and consoles himself by saying something about how they were probably sour anyway. I’ve always been into this one because it’s one hundred percent true that short of achieving your dreams, the next most fulfilling thing is criticizing whatever/whomever it is that denies you.
Can’t break into the scene? — The scene’s a stupid clique run by boring people with bad taste who bring in their friends with bad taste to ensure that it will be bad in perpetuity. The scene is dead anyway!
Didn’t get that promotion? — Fuck it, dude, that would have been so much work anyway, and you would have had to like completely recalibrate all for what — a nicer title and a little raise? Please. No one knows what “Guest Relations Ninja” means and that raise is just going to bump up your student loan minimum payments anyway. It’s better this way.
The fox had the right idea, those grapes were definitely sour. I mean, c’mon. Have you ever had sour grapes — Hell no, why would you? Sour Grapes is a time-tested approach that, while not bringing you any closer to achieving your dreams, will pay off with the instant gratification of the gift that keeps on giving: self-righteous smugness.
May The Bridges I Burn Light The Way
If it’s good enough for Dylan McKay, it’s gonna be good enough for you. I mean, he was falling off the wagon pretty hard, but he was a hot bad boy so it must have worked out, right? I didn’t really make it that far into 90210 so this is just a guess, but the lesson here is clear: burning bridges feels good and if you’re a hot person, all the better.
Go ahead and rip into all the people who’ve slighted you, those people who unjustly occupy the position in the cultural zeitgeist that you so desire! It’s time they all got a nice dose of #REALTALK. You’re gonna rattle a few cages and I can guarantee that they probably won’t be very receptive to anything else you have to say, but fuck it — it’s called “burning bridges,” not “politely pointing out the flaws inherent in the design of the bridge.” They’re not supposed to like it. Keep your nerve. They’re going to feel so stupid when they show up to work the next day, dwelling on the fact that they don’t deserve what they have. Cowards.
Restructuring Your Priorities
Back in the 90s shitty Gen-X twenty-somethings who were beginning their adult lives in a time of relative economic prosperity and optimistic possibility called this “selling out” because if they couldn’t achieve their dream of owning a coffee shop and listening to Placebo all day or whatever, it was totally possible to just fall back on a fucking career in banking or something. Cool. But out here on the mean streets of 2016 that shit doesn’t fly.
It is incredibly difficult for any adult just starting out to land any career, let alone one that will guarantee you a living wage and benefits. God help you if the career you’re looking for relates to your passions in creating art in this world where content is free and streaming and on demand. What was once known as “selling out” is now some laughable dream, and instead we have in its place a restructuring of priorities: i.e. giving up on your “dreams” and finding the quiet dignity of whatever work you’re lucky enough to have.
This path may not be as exciting or appealing as the other two, and it is certainly the most difficult of the three, but I think in the long run it may be better for your emotional well-being. It feels a lot like giving up, which is off-putting to a lot of people, but it’s cool because once you get over that you get to fantasize about having this secret talent that you’ve chosen to keep for yourself, to be unleashed when they least expect it, or to be appreciated posthumously like all the truly great artists. Everyone thinks you’re just a normal dude, but you know that you’re special and strong. At work I pretend I’m a quiet, retired samurai and I’m filling out expense reports because a life of violence ruined me. You can come up with your own thing if you want.