Have you ever had one of those flashes of utter panic about your life? I’ve had a few of them since the age of 18 (as well as one superb, life-changing epiphany), but my most recent flare-up has been accompanied with the painful realization that I no longer have the time to sit and dawdle with my plans.
I mean, I’ve been saying this for a while. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve said as much on this blog. But you know, I’m going to be 24 in almost exactly six months. That’s almost twenty-five. Which is almost thirty. Which is an age that I’d always hoped would reveal a more settled, more satisfied me. I already had ideas about who and where I’d be by twenty-three; some were admittedly naive, but regardless, I haven’t even met my more basic, revised aspirations as to what I want to be doing at this particular moment in time. I’m running out of time to get myself there. Cue panic.
I realized, today– or maybe “remembered” is the more appropriate word– that finishing my novel would provide a tremendously helpful accomplishment to have under my belt. Screenplays and spec scripts are one thing, and I’ve got them on my radar. Spec scripts I find a bit of a strange endeavor– I worry that by the time I’ll be ready to provide a spec, the show I picked will no longer be in production, meaning I won’t be able to submit it for fellowship programs or what have you. Meaning I have to write a new one, which always bugs me out because it takes some much for me to make peace with the last script. I know I’m supposed to be writing constantly anyway, but as I’ve openly admitted in the past, I’m prone to writerly lagging. That novel is one thing I can do right now, and will always be there as a testament to what I can do. Not to mention my most ardent passion.
I realize that I no longer have the luxury of allowing self-consciousness to waste my time. It’s either now or never, do or die (career-wise, mind you). If I fall on my face, I fall on my face, but if a dream of mine goes unrealized I want it to be a function of something beyond my control, not result of my own premature resignation– or at worst, a reluctance to even put myself out there, to try. Besides, even falling on your face doesn’t mean you have to stay on the ground. I want to go down swinging, if that’s what it comes down to, but hopefully, I’ll be able to avoid that.
And do you know what I’ve been doing? Well, you know the answer to that question actually, this is all ground we’ve trodden.
So today I flailed and shrieked again, sitting around retracing all the necessary moves I’ve plotted in my attempt to get where I’m going. I feel the need for a mentor, and maybe even a separate, less career-oriented ear to bend in addition to that. Today I made major strides with a fact that I’ve sort of known about myself for a while but only truly understood the impact of today: a large part of my inactivity is self-sabotage rooted in a paralyzing, consuming fear. I sat down with a notebook and scribbled, “What am I afraid of?” on a sheet of paper, and really sat at thought about it. Bullet points and everything. Now that I’ve at least scratched the surface of that fear, I can actually address it. I intend to seek counseling regarding it. I’m also considering going back to see an old dramatic writing teacher.
At least thinking about it, planning, is satisfying. It gives me something to do with my hands. The ones in my mind. If the mind can have an eye, no reason it can’t have hands, too. Maybe I’ll get them to do some typing for me sometime soon.