Do you know that moment when you’re telling someone about what you consider a sizable achievement in your life, and they come back with something like, “Well, you have to start somewhere!” I HATE that moment. I remember the first time I got that response. I’d written a one-act play in college, and they were producing it in the student directing festival. I’D NEVER WRITTEN A PLAY BEFORE. AND MY VERY FIRST ONE WAS GETTING PRODUCED. It shouldn’t matter if squirrels were producing that play in an abandoned tire factory (which sounds awesome, actually). The appropriate response, is not, should never be, to ANYTHING that was of enough note for ANYONE to share with you, “You have to start somewhere.”
I concede that that statement is meant to acknowledge what you have done and inspire you to continue doing more…in the most deflating way possible. The exact line of thinking in response to that response is: “Oh. I thought I was somewhere. I thought this was cool enough to share with this person. I guess I won’t tell people I did this. I guess I won’t feel good about this anymore. I guess I won’t tell this specific person anything mildly important to me ever again.” And that really sucks.
I guess all I’m getting at here is, just feel good about where you are and what you’re doing. I’ve spend so much, SO MUCH time and energy focusing on who I want to be and what I want to be doing. It feels like it took me until about two weeks ago to just be able to be who I am and where I am in life and feel pretty okay about it. You know, smell the roses and stuff. Enjoy that thing you just wrote–instead of instantly jumping to, NO ONE IS EVER GOING TO PUBLISH THIS OR GIVE IT A PULITZER.
All of this might go without saying for some people. And to those people, that is so great. I mean it. Who raised you? What episode of Oprah did you watch? At which silent monastery retreat did you transcend this earthly plane and become a Zen master? But for the rest of us, really, it doesn’t take so much work. It just takes remembering. Remembering, “I’m already doing something. I’m already somebody. This doesn’t have to lead to $625,000 paid over five years and the much-deserved titled of ‘Genius.'” And remembering all that when it matters. Which, admittedly, can be all the time.
And once you remember that all the time, then you get on with doing stuff that matters to you. Not to your mom. Not to Oprah. Or Obama. Or the people who give out the title of ‘Genius.’ And especially not to the people who say, “You have to start somewhere.”
Because EFF THOSE PEOPLE. Just kidding. Love those people. Because dang it if they haven’t had 43834983488934 people telling them their entire life that they, too, have to start somewhere. EFF THAT. No. Really. Eff. That.
Sidenote: The picture of the Goodyear blimp is not meant to be an advertisement for Goodyear tires, rather an endorsement for having a good year. Have a good year! (I’m off to write the first draft of an animated movie featuring squirrels making art in an abandoned Goodyear factory. Best believe they will be having the best year. Okay, I’m done.)