The Mirage of Achievements Past, Present, and Future

Photo by Christian Fregnan on Unsplash

Do you a picture in your head of who you’re “supposed to be”? The ideal you, a glossy stock photograph that’s boxed into a frame of “self”?

I spent all my life with a perfect idea, unobtained. It was a dream, an inhabitant of my subconscious rather than reality, and as such, I dismissed it as wishful thinking. 

Now that I’m trying to grab it, the mirage wavers and shimmers out of view. To be fully honest, I’ve been struggling a lot over the last few months. Unhappy with myself, my job, my apartment, my life. Slowly extracting a splintered relationship, the pissy little porcupine of my life. Each quill representing another person to tell “no, it’s fine, it’s just… it’s not working out” to, every awkwardly torn mutual friend, all the household items to split, and the lease to renegotiate. Throughout all of that I’ve wanted to work, wanted to produce something with my life. 

Despite a full-time, forty hour job, I’ve been putting in at least ten hours of “other work” on the side. Work I am in no way paid for, mind you. Finances are another area of my life that need work. But I’ve realized suddenly that a lot of the work I’m doing is complete. I’m making progress, heading forward towards my goal, not struggling so much anymore. 

And now I don’t know who I want to be. 

It was easier, somehow, when I was struggling. I pushed and pushed, knowing that I wanted and needed to fight. Knowing it would be difficult, I was geared up and ready. Without a fight, just being content? I find myself at a standstill. 

What is it about creativity that feeds on struggle? Did I bleed my pain and anger into raw energy, ready to be channeled? Was I doing all this just because I had something to prove? 

I thought the person I was doing this for was myself. But I can’t say I’m convinced much of my own ability yet. I don’t feel proven — I feel incomplete, half-baked. 

Yet I also feel directionless suddenly. 

One taste of success and here I am, whining. Lost. As though the taste of success has opened me to realizing how many possibilities there may be. Now I wonder — which path is the best? How many permutations of me are there? More importantly, which should I follow? What will make me feel fufilled? Happy? 

And why would my immovable sense of self cave so easily, when I finally take steps to reach it? 

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