I’m going all literature on this post. Sorry. But if you stick with it, I promise you’ll get something out of it. Even if that something is just, “Wow! This girl is nuts.”
So to play along, read this comic. Then read my thoughts on the comic. Enjoy the glimpse into my brain.
This poem really spoke to me. I can see myself becoming the woman with the figs even though I don’t like figs. It’s so hard to choose what you want from the possibilities that lay before you. And it’s true that there is a time limit on these possibilities.
For instance, I feel like the fig of my desire to be a professional rider is withered and blackened now. Or it at least has some bruised spots, and I can see a better fruit one branch over. The window of opportunity on that dream is closed. Perhaps at one point I could have chosen that path but that Brianna and the current Brianna are very different people, and I wouldn’t trade the current Brianna for anything. I fought too hard for her.
I think part of growing up is realizing what you don’t want to do. You can spend years slaving away at a job you don’t like for a life you don’t want because you have some idea that it will magically click one day, and you’ll live happily ever after but it doesn’t happen like that. You have to work for it. You have to find what makes you happiest. It won’t just fall into your lap.
Some people are content with the job being their life. It gives them purpose and meaning. They live the job. They love the job. And eventually they become the job. I could very easily do that. That fits my personality well. For me it’s easy to become the job and forget about trying to develop other aspects of my life. When you wake up every morning dreading your work day and only looking forward to the end of the day when you can curl up with a good book you can’t really live the job.
Unlike the poem implies, the fruit on your tree don’t all wither at once. Alan Rickman started a marketing company fresh out of school and made it a very successful business. Then in his forties he decided he wanted to be an actor. You don’t have to be stuck on the path you choose. You can pick another fig from the tree to try. Life is full of possibilities; you have to take the initiative to go after them.
A lot of people, me included, worry about leaving their mark on the world. Not in an “Oh my God! The world is ending!” kind of way, but in a way that crops up when you’re a little down as one more thing on a list of deficientcies. We want the world to remember us. JK Rowling. George Morris. Jane Goodall. All of them are remarkable people who will be remembered for what they’ve accomplished. But there are tens of thousands of people who haven’t left a mark nearly that big. But I refuse to believe that they don’t matter.
I’ve already left my mark on the world. There are people who would miss me if I were to disappear tomorrow (hopefully in time and space. I’ll be back last Tuesday). There are people who I’ve helped, people I’ve taught something to, and people who would notice that I wasn’t there. And that’s great. Do I still want to write a book? Of course I do. I’ll write a damn good one. But if it’s not popular my life is not ruined. Do I still want to train and compete my horse? Damn straight. But I’m going to do it for myself and for learning, not to try and attract the attention of rich owners.
Part of being successful in life is being happy with what you have. I have a great horse, great riding skills, and great people around me. I’m good at a lot of things when I set my mind to it. Some things I do almost perfectly first time I try them. Zip lining. Shooting. Both of those I nailed on my first attempts. Enough to impress the people who were teaching me and prompted the other students to ask me if I’d done it before. I’m a good writer. I’m a good cook. I can knit well. I’m good with directions. I know how to follow in a caravan (it seems like no one else in this world does). I am caring and generous with my time because I genuinely care about the people in my life. I don’t like all people as a rule, but the people I keep around me are people that I would go to ends of the earth to help.
I love my life. Are there things I want to change? Absolutely. And I’m on the path for that change now. But sometimes I need to take a step back and see the bigger picture. This is my life. This opportunity that I’m taking is just one of many. It is not my only option. It’s just another hill before I get to the summit with a great view. It’s a big ass hill, but I’ll just put my head down and one foot in front of the other until I make it to the top.