At some point during my tenure at Central Michigan University, I became cognizant of the reality that writing was my pathway to serenity. It provided solace to an otherwise automatonic life, the singular vessel- outside the drugs- where I felt free, at peace. Despite this, I quickly disavowed the realization, as I perceived writing to be a sordid career choice. “Writer’s don’t make shit, you’re better off elsewhere,” my grandfather told me. The suggestion of me pursuing writing was anathema Mel, “I will not marry a writer,” she assured me. I’d spent some 20 years leading up to that point looking for something- anything really- to bring me happiness, tranquility, peace, whatever vernacular you fancy; and there was always someone to tell me where it was to be found. I was convinced by them too, each and every time, adopting symptoms of beliefs oftentimes antithetical to those I’d just held previously. Imagine the conundrum that arises when you ask everyone but yourself life’s greatest questions that only you, and you alone, can answer. Self-actualization is a precious gift, one that I am grateful for today.
It’s become so cliche these days to preach find your purpose or follow your passion. Nonetheless, I encourage you, dear reader, to ask yourself the following questions. What’s your dream? What is it you want to do? What are you most knowledgeable on? Lastly, what are you best trained to do? Think long and hard on these questions. Then figure out where your four answers appear to connect. I assure you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, this can be your path to happiness. For example, maybe you want to write and your dream has always been to be an author or a journalist. However you’ve spent the better part of the last decade ingesting a pharmacies worth of narcotics, so you’re most knowledgeable on addiction. Somehow along the way, you managed to pick up a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, yet you’ve spent your entire career working in sales. Where on earth might this apparent hodgepodge collection of skills and dreams intersect? Perhaps you decide to take a shot on creating an apparel brand with the mission to change the dialogue on addiction, reassess the problem of drugs in society, and provide aid to those in need. You decide to leverage your dream to (theoretically) separate yourself from the competition by having each piece tell the story of someone impacted by the nationwide crisis. There will be bumps along the way, believe me, but therein lies the beauty of the journey. You adapt and figure it out. Maybe it doesn’t play out as planned, but you’ve got some steam behind the pursuit of a dream. So you shift your focus from product- a real pain in the bum in the first place- to your message (where you should have started all along) and begin doing a weekly podcast. By doing this you somehow miraculously begin having incredible conversations with absolutely amazing people all across the country. It’s astonishing how setting something in motion can create momentum in seemingly unrelated areas of your life. Next thing you know you’re halfway through writing a book and you’re utilizing your secondary education in Political Science to develop a drug education curriculum. My point is this: if you shoot for the moon and miss you just might end up in the stars. So I ask, what is your dream?