If you know me, you know that my mind is on full-blast all day, every day. I’m always listening to podcasts and stand-up comedy, reading the newspaper–trying to keep my mind on point, depositing information and seeking enjoyment. One part of me is motivated by a fear of intellectual inferiority, but the other part of me is constantly on the hunt. I hesitate to say “hunting for new ideas” because it strikes me as an egotistical, disingenuous attempt to pose as a worldly smart person. No, I’m hunting for ideas so that I can find a direction for myself.
The comfort zone is a dangerous place to be. Complacency is not a mindset that lends itself to self-improvement. I wish I could be a person that was more of a go-getter, instead of sitting back and overthinking things while time passes me by. There are many things I wish I had pursued more earnestly, like art, music, and studying Spanish and Japanese, among others. Instead of putting myself through a guilt trip, though, my rational mind knows that it’s far from too late to start.
Thankfully, I have a vivid dream life to keep me on track. Without the filter of excuses, my dreaming mind shows me my fears and forces me to address the thoughts that I push deep back into a corner of my mind out of fear or lack of confidence.
I’m trying to conquer the non-assertive and introverted Me all the time. Becoming an English teacher was the first major step, but I long for something more substantial, more challenging. I admire journalists like Amber Lyon, Abby Martin, and Shane Smith for putting their necks out, investigating and commenting on issues of great importance. I admire stand-up comedians, who may not seem like the obvious choice for admiration. The best comics are those who are introspective enough to know their own faults better than anyone, and make fun of them; they observe the world and point out the hypocrisy and ridiculousness in our culture; not to mention, they know how to tell a great story. In short, I admire people who embody the qualities I’d like to have.
I know I need to conquer my fear of time passing me by, taking away my agency and motivation to do great things. (Again, take “great things” with a grain of salt–I’m not trying to change the world, but make the most with what I’ve got.) But I know that it’s my job to be assertive and advocate for myself, because if I don’t, no one will do it for me.