Growing Bigger; Growing Smaller
For several years, my mom kept these little books updated for all of her school-age kids. I’m sure you’ve seen the type before. At the beginning of the school year, she would make us sit down and reluctantly answer some questions. These were things like, “Who are your best friends?”, “What are your hobbies?”, and my personal favorite, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Now, apart from the patent ridiculousness of asking a first grader what he would like to be doing in about twenty years, and the faulty, socially accepted meaning of the word, “doing” in that sentence, I like the question. There’s something very amusing about going back and looking at these and seeing answers like “firefighter” (I think I chose that mostly because I really, really liked the color, red), “an astronaut” (space is freaking sweet), or “a missionary” (because I wanted my mom to be proud of my answer, and I knew that would make her so).
Somehow, I never added the one profession that invariably comes up on such lists (No, I am not talking about being a power ranger); I never said that I wanted to be a rock star. This probably has something to do with the fact that I scarcely realized music outside of my dad’s collection existed until I was 16 or so and the fact that I had no musical training outside of classical piano. Regardless, a far different “glamor” job appeared on lists of jobs I thought I might like to have someday. I wanted to be an author. Books took me on journeys to places I couldn’t be, introduced me to people I were different than anybody I ever met, and they changed my life in myriads of ways even when I didn’t realize it. I firmly believe that good books make people better. Why wouldn’t I want to write things that had a similar effect on other people?
Add to this the fact that recording my thoughts, the act of writing if you will, is innately enjoyable to me, and it seemed natural that someday I would be an author. The “someday” is important; there was no way I was going to let somebody read the stuff I was writing back then, but I knew I needed to keep writing to a level where I could actually publish. This I did when I remembered all through high school and through my freshman hear of college.
I’ve always been a person with a multitude of talents and a large set of interests coordinated with those talents. I might not be good at everything, but I’m at least proficient at most everything.* This obviously creates quite a few problems when one lives in a world with only 24 hours in a day and in a body that demands at least occasional sleep. Through high school, I only had to deny a minimum of these opportunities because I was able to get through each day without spending very much time on school-related things. I didn’t really devote as much time to writing—or to anything else for that matter—as I knew it needed to truly be developed into a skill I could use in any major setting, but I was still learning who I was and who I wanted to be. I couldn’t afford to concentrate, yet. I now can.
With the class load I have now, even finding time to write this blog is a challenge. There’s a friend I’ve been meaning to write for almost a month now, whose letter is still sitting on my desk unfinished (sorry, Catherine). In a word, pursuit of the thing I hope to do as a career has eliminated writing entirely from my life. If I’m not writing, I can’t really maintain any authorial aspirations.
At first, this was something with which I was not at all okay. In fact, whatever the opposite of “okay” is, that’s what I was. I refused to stop writing, cramming writing time into hours when I should have been sleeping (much as I’m doing now) and generally letting my writing inhibit my life from being the joy it’s meant to be.
No longer will this be the case. God may have given me a small gift for crafting words, and I intend to continue exercising it on this blog and in a few other places, but I cannot, for this time at least, continue with writing as a major component of my life. A friend of mine from church said something to me the other day. He’s always wanted to learn a musical instrument, but there are too many things in which he is currently involved for that to be something he can spend time on right now. He told me, “Learning an instrument is just going to have to be something I do in heaven. God has too many other plans for me right now.” That’s the attitude I’m adopting. The time for my authorial ambitions may come before heaven, but I’m not expecting it any longer.
Until then, I’ll keep writing on Singular Spectrum and writing letters to people because I need to be writing something or I’ll go insane. I apologize for this I don’t think it quite conveyed what I intended it to, and it certainly didn’t do so as concisely as it could have. I hope you get a general idea of where I’m coming from, though. God’s will for me right now is much more narrow than the full range of my talents, and I’m still learning to accept that.
*The only reason I can’t say “everything” without qualifiers is that I’m absolutely abhorrent at dancing. I suppose God had to do something to keep my ego in check, but it still kind of stinks. I mean, dancing is fun. Dancing is really fun. But yes, I am good or good enough at everything in life excepting rhythmic movement of my limbs to be aesthetically appealing. Everything. That’s all.**
**That whole thing was mostly sarcasm. Don’t be offended, please. I’m not quite that narcissistic.