I am haunted by my “someday” dreams. Someday, I think to myself, I’ll really buckle down and learn to play the piano well. Or the guitar. Or I’ll get back into writing songs. Or I’ll finish writing the stories I’ve started. I’ve been telling myself these things for years.
I remember the lazy summer days of my teenage years as some of the most creative times in my life. Was it just because I had nothing else to worry about that everything seemed to come so easily? I remember spending hours at the piano, inventing new melodies and harmonies, because it was what I wanted to do. I’d spend weeks creating worlds and characters and writing about them non-stop. I have notebooks full of half-formed ideas that always seemed moments away from being fulfilled. Maybe I should say that I have notebooks full of worlds and characters that I’ve abandoned.
I don’t know what changed in my life or within me that I don’t find joy in creativity the way I used to. I’ve suspected for a while that it’s because I started putting too much pressure on myself. Expectations became higher, yes, but there is something else too. Somewhere along the line, the hobbies I used to enjoy became a means to an end. It was about impressing people, or winning contests, or being worthy of love and respect. Somehow these hobbies became a source of frustration, as my inner critic became more demanding, comparing my creations to others and finding me lacking again and again.
I don’t know how to find my way back to creating things simply because of the joy it creates. There are countless easier ways to find joy. And, even the feeling that I should be doing a thing, and should enjoy it is a kind of pressure that is joy-destroying!
I don’t know how to find my way back, so I find myself stuck in dream limbo.
I know that sounds morose, maybe even melodramatic, and that’s partly because it’s out of context. This slow fading of dreams is not something I think about often. The past few years of my life have been wonderfully productive in many (albeit non-creative) ways, and I’m happier now than I’ve ever been before. I wrote recently about how my goals have shifted, and I’ve wondered since then if I ended up on the “marriage –> house –> kids” track only because it’s the only significant thing left to aim for. But I’m succeeding in that more boring conventional way, and that’s something, right?
But then again, every once in a while I feel like I’m missing something. I guess that is partly why I started this blog—I was trying to find my way out of dream limbo. I haven’t yet, but this first year of blogging has still been a good year!