Fri, 07 Aug 2009 03:31:00 +0000
I write a lot about hopes and dreams. I’ll tell you why.
The summer after my first year of college, I found a “business internship.” I showed up and they told me to cold-call people in Florida.
“Good morning, sir,” I’d say. “Are you interested in a free trial run of bottled water, delivered straight to your door?”
Sounded eerily like telemarketing.
At lunch time, my co-workers started talking about their lives. One middle-aged man, Paul, said he’d been doing this for 10 years. I asked him if he liked it.
“I hate this damn job. But it’s steady, and I’m scared I won’t put bread on the table otherwise. Plus, I’m up for a raise soon.”
Then Paul told me how to sell the water more effectively: “You’ve got to tell them the liquid goes through a reverse osmosis process.”
As he shared his strategies, I told myself I never wanted to be like Paul.
I used to tell people I wanted to go into the woods and write a book, Thoreau-style.
But, really, I didn’t. I’d never survive.
Instead, it was a symbol. It represented my ability — and willingness — to drop everything in this world to start fresh. It represented an unadulterated hope that, I thought, would always exist in me.
I’m now losing grip of that hope. It scares me.
In my current sports journalism gig, I often feel pushed to advance in this field. While immersed in this world, advancement is what seems important.
But it is not proper motivation, I don’t think. It makes me no different from Paul, stuck in a reality where promotions and raises are the currencies of life.
Once in a while, I think I want to go to law school or get a real estate license. I ask myself why, and the answer is always money and social status. I usually end up scolding myself for thinking such a thing, and I go write some emo journal entry about it.
Still, right now, I feel myself getting stuck in “the ladder,” where status and money are overly important. I feel pressured to get a “real job” in the name of convenience. I’ve started using phrases like, “Gotta pay the rent,” and “Need to keep the lights on.”
In Exodus, God tells Moses he will rain down bread. But the Israelites were only supposed to take the amount that was needed for that day and no more. They had to trust that God would feed them the next day.
But some people took more than that day’s take. The next day, the saved bread had maggots and was putrid.
I’m realizing opportunities are rained down upon us, day after day. Yet, out of some fear, I find myself paralyzed into maintaining the status quo. I find myself holding onto what I already have and not trusting that there is more to come. By doing that, I am killing dreams with fear.
But I have to overcome it soon.
Just like the Israelites’ bread, a dream will dry up — it will rot and sag. As Langston Hughes writes
, a dream deferred might even explode. And already, three months out of college, I feel it bursting at the seams.