Burn So Brightly That You’ll Never Lose Your Way

Josh Boot
Josh Boot

I’ve never been one to stick to just one hobby or interest. As a creative-minded individual, I often find myself floating from idea to idea rather than cementing myself into one permanent position. And why should anyone cage themselves into such a stagnant lifestyle anyway? Human beings are not one-dimensional. By nature we are made up of a plethora of pieces and parts carefully crafted together into one dynamic, 3D being. It is way too often that our tendencies towards stability and conformity come creeping in and overshadow our desire to be so much more than the cookie-cutter silhouette of a person we feel we are meant to be in order to survive. If we were meant to have just one path in life, we would never encounter so many forks and unexpected re-routes.

I will never forget the day when my dream job told me during an interview that I needed to choose between two of my passions. There is nothing more jarring than someone abruptly closing a door you never thought would close directly in your face.

I will never forget that moment, not because it “crushed” my dreams, but because it ignited a fire in me to prove him and every other naysayer wrong. I am not one to give in to peer pressure and my general reaction when someone tells me I can’t or shouldn’t do something is to do everything in my power to make it happen. Every slammed door and closed road you encounter is just more kindling to add to your fire.

The more frequently we fail, the brighter we can burn. As long as we don’t give up.

At some point, someone in our society decided that the normal way to live our lives was to go to school, one day miraculously find your “calling” (and just one calling, of course) and then further our education to become an expert at just one thing so we can pursue one job and become the one person we are meant to be.

Personally, I think that whole ideal is bullshit.

With such complex minds, it is simply inconceivable to expect a human being to excel and remain happy with just one path for his or her entire lives. Why should we only choose one of our passions to make into a career and the rest have to settle for just being our hobbies? Why can’t you be successful in career A without having to make career B your side gig?

Now I understand the importance of hobbies and having something to go home to that isn’t career related. What I’m talking about is every person who has been told “No” because they dared to dream outside of the box society has been trying to jam us into since the day we were born.

Why should one passion just be a hobby while the other becomes my “career path?” What I want to know is, who created this path and why should I have to follow it?

Pick up a shovel and carve your own damn path from the rocks and the dirt and don’t stop until you get everything you want. Every. Little. Thing.

As someone who made the choice between pursuing a more intellectual college degree and an artistic one, I am all too familiar with the criticism those with seemingly warring passions undergo. Many of my high school teachers tried to convince me to study English in college. I often imagined what my life would have been like if I had just taken the pre-carved path of literature that was laid out before me. I would probably be more financially stable and have a full-time job and maybe I wouldn’t live at home still. Or maybe I would spend all day wondering what if and who I could have been if I had just taken the chance to study something unique, unknown, and exciting.

Don’t get me wrong, I love literature and writing and have always considered books to be amongst my best friends. But I also love theatre and art, and when I was given the chance to attend a theatre conservatory, I took it. And because I went with what fed my heart and soul instead of my wallet and society’s prescription for success and happiness, I have truly had some of the most amazing experiences and met some of the most unique individuals whom I am happy to call my best friends and mentors.

Am I rich? I couldn’t be further from it. But I also wake up every day knowing that this is exactly where I am meant to be, and I trust in the fact that everything I want for myself in my life is within my reach as long I believe that it is. I want to do all of the jobs and learn all of the things, and I won’t stop until I achieve all of my goals.

A couple of years ago, I was offered a full-time job from the very company who told me I had to choose between two of my passions in order to be successful. I turned that job down. Deciding against taking such a stabilizing and amazing opportunity was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made in my entire life. There are still days where I think back to that moment where I hit sent on the rejection email and wish that I could take it all back. But then I will have a day where everything I have here is amazing, and I couldn’t be happier. I wasn’t ready to commit to one job and just one interest for the rest of my life yet. There are too many rocks to look under and doors to open for me to choose one just yet.

Obviously, I’m not saying that full-time jobs are a bad idea. Just make sure whatever job you end up in isn’t a result of you settling for whom and what you think you should be. Yes, I have had my jobs that I have taken just to pay the bills, but while doing those jobs, I make sure to neve lose sight of who it is I really want to be.

There is such a thing as stretching yourself too thin. I have often been so overwhelmed by all of my projects that I fear I am beginning to give less to one interest over the other. When you find your interest starting to wane for one of your passions, don’t be afraid to let go of it for a little while. You can always come home. One of my favorite and most influential college professors advised me that just because I choose not to pursue one passion for a period of time, doesn’t mean I can’t go back to it.

You can always pick up where you left off or build something entirely new for yourself; that is the beautiful thing about being in charge of your own life.

If you want to achieve it, you have the power to make it happen.

Some days are obviously easier than others, and there have been so many days where the universe has done everything to try to push me off the path I am carving for myself, and I have been so, so close to just giving up on it all and just taking the easy route. But then I push through that day and soon, a beautiful opportunity unfolds before me. You just have to trust in the future that your soul has been connected to and then run full force into it, without looking back.

So go ahead and become all that you ever wanted and wished for. And the next time someone tries to tell you to pick a way, politely decline and forge along your own path. Burn so brightly that you’ll never lose your way. TC mark

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