Do you want to know a secret? A frustrating, annoying, internally – and eternally – sore spot of contentious reality?
This thing I want to do with my life, this wondrous ambition of wanting to, somehow, write for a career as a means of putting food on the table forever more? Well, and lean in close now, here’s the thing: there’s no ladder. None. Zip. Nada.
With a lot of other jobs and career paths, there tends to be a path. Some are more defined than others, with a clean chain of command. A hierarchy that is evident to those that want to clamber up that chain until they attain the position they so desperately desire.
Others…well, others are chaos, with no defined objectives and pathways.
These are often filled with stepping stones one can make use of to subsidise the arduous journey towards the ever hopeful end goal, but these stones are slick and dangerous. It is easy to slip into the torrent or become complacent, held by fear of jumping to that next step – yet another stone that could cause you to slip, freeze in fear or maybe, just maybe, assist you with momentum towards that personal peak.
What I want to do here? This writing gig? This author life I would love to call my own? Yeah, no path. No hierarchy. Slippery, slippery stones surround me as I maintain a base camp on the largest stepping stone of my life. Honestly, I’m ready to step off this stone, man, but – and here’s the crux of it – there’s a lot that stays my decision.
As the wise seer, Chandler put it so succinctly a million years ago on a sitcom watched fifty generations ago…
If like me, you are a struggling and ambitious creative individual, caught in between real life (“Poppa/Momma needs to eat!”) and a dream and ambition that has no set ladder of progression, then you know the duality of pursuing goals and that encroaching sense of forever guilt – a blanket I oft wrap around myself. How, then, can a person push forward without any idea of where their decisions and movements are leading them?
With no ladder leading up, with no rungs to climb, how do you differentiate between a step forwards, backwards, sideways or an action that isn’t a step at all? Wait, I’m mixing analogies. Let’s go back to the stepping stone principle.
In a turbulent river, ready to sweep you away in its depths, you have taken refuge on a stone. A stepping stone, if you will. Now – back on track with this particular metaphor – with the shore non-existent, how do you know what stones lead where?
A frustrating, annoying, internally (eternally!) sore spot, true, but, I’m coming to learn, not one that should comprise your whole reality.
Stuck, relatively trapped upon the stone I have come to call home, I have sent out many messages in a bottle seeking help (read: representation, natch), and amidst the heavy rain that dampens my makeshift hearth, crudely made of flotsam and driftwood, I await a response, a message that will help warm me in a way that this dwindling flame cannot, an outreached hand to something better – another stone, perhaps, but one that isn’t so slick and fraught with peril.
– Steve R / @stevetendo