Friends, lovers, strangers, random men who are reading this from Tinder–
Every single day, I have about 300 bizarre ideas pop into my head. Most I keep to myself. Some are far-fetched entrepreneurial plans that I know I will never put into action. Many are songs. Some are stories. Often, it’s an outfit or a food that I desire. (Just now even, I left this post to make myself some pickle toast. Which is toast with pickles on top. No, I am not pregnant or high. Yes, it IS delicious!)
I have book ideas, and television show plots, and intricate plans to win the affections of Evan Peters from American Horror Story (who I know is blonde and that’s UNNATURAL and feminine or something but I’m into it, so buzz off), little lists to read certain books, sad nostalgic letters I write to previous friends, sudden reminders to call so-and-so back, grandeur pitches to editorial heads of magazines and online publications showcasing my writing wit and lengthy, limitless train of ideas. All aboard the Maggie Express, we’re going nowhere, and we’re going fast.
Sadly, most of my ideas, never see screen. They are passing shooting stars in the galaxy of my sleepy brain and on the verge of awakening, I quite often lose them to consciousness. It is a sad reality of having a head like a 25-cent grocery store sticker machine. Full of one-dimensional, glittery viscid cursive typography that never get to see the light of day.
However. Sometimes! I have an idea and it sticks. Actually, it’s more like it bounces. With rhythm. I can tell a really good idea by its bounce. I’ll forget it for a second. A day. A week. But it keeps coming back. To the beat. That beat in my head.
Today marks year 3 of LeftoversFromFriday. It is still the longest relationship I’ve ever had. I read back through old entries, reading 22-year-old Meg, gives me a certain clarity that I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in order to reach better ones. I read her hope that we can keep college alive, by living each day as if it’s a glory day. And I appreciate her near-sighted cliche adorable idealism, but 3 years later, I can confirm she is missing the big idea here.
And that is that, you really can do everything you want to do. You really can ‘live the dream’. The problem is nailing that dream down. Keeping the sticker stuck. Permanently inking that idea to your forearm and looking at it everyday. Bouncing it again and again off your head until you have a rhythm you never get sick of and never want to stop playing. And eventually putting whatever it is onto some paper (paper of course, being whatever canvas you choose).
Yes, therein lies the problem for many of us. The whole WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE/WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO seemingly endless limitless unanswerable question that used to keep me up in the middle of the night, burrowing into my brain like a sickening slow-moving ambitious virus that was the reason for and bane of my existence. The unbearable reality that I was wasting my youth, while also simultaneously not enjoying it the way I should be because I was so worried I was wasting it while also acutely aware that there were others my age doing bigger and better and more successful things, while I was simply wondering what it is I should be doing in the first place.
Perhaps the problem is that our parents told us we could be anything. Maybe they should have told us we would all be disappointed, and therefore we’d all be satisfied. Imagine our ambition and drive and direction, if we all met our expectations by not meeting expectation! It’s economic inception. It’s the career-related matrix. I’ve discovered the loophole! Call Obama! Anyway.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve always known that writing is something that gives me energy and a high on a level that is far beyond “traits and skills you might have for -insert this job here-” I’ve always been very aware of my strengths and weaknesses. What I don’t and do want.
But still, I’ve struggled with what degree I want to pursue my creative side. And how? And when? And where? It’s not so simple saying you want to write it turns out. It’s certainly a big step. But it’s like finishing a flight of stairs and your entire career is the Eiffel Tower and you don’t even know why you’re in Paris and you haven’t eaten and some foreign guy keeps shoving flowers in your face but when you take one he yells at you in french and you’re like ok I’ve definitely seen you on tinder before and you totally speak english, asshole.
…Mass confusion. Everyday. Even if you don’t want to pursue something creative, you know what it’s like. Like I was supposed to be someone by now. I was supposed to have my shit a little more together. A little more direction. I certainly know that feeling well. Has it stopped me yet? Have I hung up my hat and settled for administrative purgatory and just writing in my diary on the side? Hell no.
I have a lot of ideas. A lot of creative thoughts that surge through me every single day. But recently, I’ve been noticing a pattern. A distinct beat. A rhythm for a particular idea.
And that is that I’m very skilled at not only believing I’m on a path of finding my own dream and pursuing it, but also encouraging and believing that you all will find yours. If that’s really what you want. I think we are a generation that despite economic and employment disappointment, despite absurd outstanding debt from the colleges that were supposed to get us our “dream jobs,” despite being supposedly surrounded by others who society would have you believe to be doing and making more, refuses to settle. I think the previous generation often sees this as laziness and entitlement but I disagree.
I believe that more than any generation before, we can achieve big things. We can make the big ideas in our heads our reality. You don’t have to take the first job you get out of college. Or keep the second job. Or stick with the third. Or screw it, even go to college. If you have the drive and the passion, history has shown us through successful person after successful person that a college degree and a resume of experience can be irrelevant.
You just have to have an idea. And make that idea into a beat. And turn that beat into a rhythm. And keep creating that rhythm until you find a stride that you never get sick of and never want to stop playing.
And then one day, you’ll wake up and ask yourself that same question. The one question that used to wake you up in the middle of the night.
What do you want to do?
And you’ll answer, well.. I’m doing it.
And the beat goes on…
Happy 3 years-–