Growing pains. — Go through them and feel defeated. Try to avoid them, and you’ll never grow.
The fundamental part of being human is feeling, analyzing, and questioning. Just about every 20-something year old is going through the “what am I doing? how will I get there? i feel lost” phase of life. We question ourselves and doubt our abilities because we are told we do not have enough experience or aren’t talented enough. As young people trying to figure it out without a lot of help, these are the last things we want to hear. Inevitability, it adds to our struggle of feeling defeated. We are told to settle and go with the safer route, but what if that’s not enough? We want fulfillment, not safety.
I’m on a inspirational kick, watching every coming-of-age documentary I can about struggle and hardship. Last night, I watched “The Long Game” a short documentary series that tunes into the creative process and how our culture focuses on the goal and not the journey.
With endless access to technology, we are constantly comparing ourselves and tricked into believing we have to be overnight successes. Something sparked in me as I wrote this. I’m realizing that it’s impossible to go backwards if I’m working towards my goal. Patience is key because like anything in life, success takes time. Legendary artists like Vincent Van Gough and Leonardo DaVinci didn’t get their big break overnight. It took them decades of hard efforts, struggles, and defeats. It’s funny because we never think of their strifes considering they’re some of the most famous and influential painters of this day. And ironically enough, we never talk about how rough the process can be. We just hold our applause for the end.
But, in having countless conversations with friends, family, and strangers, I’ve learned that the only way to keep going is by keeping on doing! Keep your dream alive and most importantly keep believing, no matter how many bumps you’ve hit. For years, Van Gough went unnoticed, only showing his paintings to his brother. Most people avoided him and didn’t believe in him, but that never swayed him. He painted for himself and because he genuinely loved doing it, not for recognition or popularity.
And that’s exactly how we need to approach our dreams. Writing, painting, designing for ourselves. Never stopping, no matter how defeating it may feel. Something about feeling overcome with fear and disappointment pushes us in the right direction. As my boyfriend says, “You gotta break down if you wanna build up.”
And here are my two cents about the subject: Chip away little by little. Don’t feel bad if you don’t write a perfect essay piece in 1 day. Write that shitty article. Design for free. These are all experiences that are going to make us better and mold us into who we are meant to be. We need to get our feet wet and gain some traction somehow right?
The way I look at it is that because I want to do what I love so badly, I’m willing to work for it, even if that means taking an unpaid internship, or a part-time job that’s going to pay the bills for now. That’s how much it matters to me. And it should be the same for everyone. Work towards the goal. There are days where we are going to wake up feeling the urge to chase what we want and then others when we’ll feel ready to give up. And it’s okay. Just be sure to add fuel the fire when you’re inspired to become the next Van Gough or DaVinci.
What pulls on your heart strings? Is it writing, drawing, designing? Whatever it is, chase it! It’s never too late to learn.