Robert Frost decided taking the road less traveled made all the difference. I’ve traveled down both my well worn roads without much difference being made. I’ve been down the right side called Let’s Just Give Up Avenue leading to No Where Fastville which has horrible souvenirs in the gift shops. I traveled the left road proclaiming Let’s Go For It Lane taking me to I’m Scared Of Failureburg. Been there, done that, don’t like it, hate the t-shirt. With both options not offering a clear advantage, I am stuck in a deepening wood.
I feel like a fish from the Pink Floyd song “Wish You Were Here”. I’m just a stupid little fish swimming round and round in a fish bowl, going over the same old ground and finding the same old fears and results pulling me down.
We are so optimistic as teenagers. Shoved into the world by the institutions of learning that have held us prisoner for thirteen years; they filled our heads with fluff determined to make us into productive citizens of society. “Welcome to life and all it has to offer!” There is, however, a truth they keep from us: “Only some will taste the dream. Only some will truly enjoy the offerings.” Sure, they say life is only what you make of it, but what about when you’ve done everything asked of you, jumped through the brainwashing hoops, drank the Kool-aid, done the things you thought you had to do because they were the right thing, and yet, nothing to show for it. Life smacks you in the face and introduces one more hoop and another glass of Kool-aid.
Mike Rowe said in a Facebook post dated August 4, 2014-
To be clear – I believe the world is a fundamentally unfair place. From what I’ve seen, it’s filled with people of unequal talents, unequal intelligence, unequal looks, unequal empathy, unequal luck, and unequal senses of humor. Some will agonize over the unfairness of all this inequity, and others will rise above their circumstances, no matter how grim.
I agree with what he is saying. I’m not disputing the fact that life is what a person decides to make of it and I do not want to be an inequity screamer, but when attempt after attempt is made to better myself with seemingly no improvement I have to ask, “What gives?”
I’m beginning to wonder if I am made to be an achiever. Maybe my destiny lies with those other souls not able to rise above the ditch, endlessly trudging along through the muck and mire. I know there are individuals who are able to crawl and claw their way out. They have the determination, the drive, the will, the spirit, the whatever well it is they are able to draw from to give them the wherewithal to fight past everything telling them to give up. Am I simply someone who, through the inequality of life, does not have the adequate level of luck, determination, drive, or spirit to achieve?
I certainly like to believe I have it, however, at times it feels like there is something keeping me away from life’s offerings. I resist calling it a higher power because I’m not one who believes in predestination and I do believe God has given us free will to make our own choices, but I feel like a bird that keeps running itself into a window because it doesn’t understand the window is a barrier to keep it out.
Is there a barrier keeping me from my dreams on the other side or has my DNA allotted me only so much gumption to accomplish my goals? I’m not sure. I know I have talents going underutilized. I know where I am currently is not where I want to be in the future. So is there a magic piece of advice hanging on a wall somewhere that will give me the epiphany I need to open my mind and throw off the weight of insecurities and fears to lift myself to the heights I want to achieve? I only know what I know now and knowing that has to be what I use to move on. Even though there is part of me that says, “It’s pointless. You will never amount to anything”, I have to go on. I have to break through the ominous fog clouding my mind. The snarling creature pulling me down into the ditch must be killed.
In 1927, Walt Disney had a very successful cartoon character named Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. He signed a one year deal for the distribution of the cartoon shorts and when the year was up Disney went to New York City hoping to renegotiate for a better contract. Instead, he found the distributor, Charles Mintz, owned the name to the character. Mintz offered a contract that greatly reduced Disney’s income. Disney had to turn down the deal and even lost several of his best animators to Mintz. (Finch 44-47)
Devastated, Disney took the train back to California. Legend has it the early beginnings of Mickey Mouse started on that long train ride back across the country (Finch 47,49). He didn’t go down Let’s Give Up Avenue or take a trip to I’m Scared Of Failureburg; he decided to blaze a new trail and created one of the most beloved characters of all time.
I take a second look at my two roads and realize there is a third choice. Not a road to travel down, but simply a way through. I will have to face my fears. I will have to conquer the trees, briers, vines, and other obstacles reaching out for my precious mind, and it will be a hard trail to cut, but in the end, it could make all the difference.
Finch, Christopher. The Art of Walt Disney. Burbank: Walt Disney Productions, 1973. Print
What do you think? Have you experienced the same feelings about your life or are you currently feeling them? Please leave a comment.
This was originally posted on medium.com, but because I don’t like that site I decided to post it here on wordpress.com.