"oh what a tangled interweb we weave..."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

what are your dreams, your aspirations?

There’s a person I know who whenever I call always says, “so tell me what’s going on…” followed by “what are your dreams, your aspirations?” The same line every time without fail. What are your dreams, your aspirations…? And every time he asks I avoid the question. I say things like, “oh I don’t know…” or “you always ask me that question…” And after a moment of awkwardness, of silence on my end usually, we move to on to other topics—his dreams and aspirations usually.

It’s always been difficult for me to be specific about what I want. An example: I struggle with Christmas lists. For years I refused to make them. And then when I was forced (by my mother), I would list practical things like socks or underwear, gift certificates.

I’m the same way with career goals. It’s much easier for me to say what I don’t want, where I don’t want to be… I present my dreams and aspirations backwards. Instead of saying, “In six months this play will be done,” I will say something like, “If I’m not done with this play in six months, please just shoot me.” They’re not quite the same thing.

I’m even worse when it comes to awards or competitions… I’m incapable of saying—I really want this.

I suppose it’s because the old saying is true, you can’t always get what you want. Or more accurately you DON’T always get what you want. And if you don’t get what you want, you have to deal with the One thing I WILL be very upfront about, I don’t’ deal well with disappointment.

Which is probably why—years ago—I stopped thinking about my life in terms of specific goals. I’ve relied instead on my solid work ethic and a set of nice, but unremarkable generalities. That way every acceptance is a pleasant surprise and every rejection is… well it doesn’t hurt quite so much.

I’ve had meals with several people who I respect tremendously in the last two weeks. All of them asked me the same question—what do you want? And when I tried to avoid the question, they called me on it. “If you don’t know what you want, how will you know when you get it” one asked. The other said, “you have to put yourself out there, you have to. The universe can only rock your world, if it knows how to get to your world. You have to send the universe directions.”


And so I’m working on it. On being more specific and open about what I want, about where I want to see myself and where I want to see my work. It’s really hard. But I’m making an effort. And the next time someone asks me, “what are your dreams, your aspirations” I’m going to try to have an answer.

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