Filling Your Niche
love vs fear

Love vs. fear

Last year, Jim Carrey gave a commencement speech that (shocker) went viral pretty much immediately. Particularly this single minute on love vs. fear:

If I ever doubted before that Jim Carrey is a genius, this clinched it. Of course, I’m biased, because “love vs. fear” and “do what you love” are two of my favorite subjects.

Every day, I wake up with a choice ahead of me. I can keep pushing for my dreams, or I can look for an easier answer. Most days, I do both; pushing for my dreams is exhausting, so I look for easier answers when I’m feeling run down or discouraged.

The sweet enticement of the easier answers– the 9-5 desk job with a reasonable wage and a benefits package, or going back to school for a more practical and high-paying degree (I could develop software, right?)– becomes sickly and cloying if I spend too long thinking about it.

Would I be any happier at a desk job now than I was when I decided leave my last cubicle, move to Las Vegas, and paint murals for a living? Am I willing to risk going into more debt for a degree that could lead to a career I’m bored silly with a few years later?

I go through little existential flurries like this every couple of days or so. And after each one, I come back to, “Nope. No, what I really want to be doing is writing, and working on art projects while watching movies. With enough room for family time and yoga and climbing and long walks with the dogs. Anything I do needs to contribute toward that goal.” And I put my shoulder back against my dreams, and shove harder.

one must imagine sisyphus happy

The only answer is to keep moving forward. I’m a grownup with a teenager; the question of whether I’ll ever live a practical life seems pretty damned moot at this point. And I know myself well enough to recognize that my desire for normal/predictable/steady comes from a place of fear. What if I can’t support my family with my grand scheme of writing and painting? What if I fail, in whatever form that failure might take?

Then I realize that not being true to what I love and the life I imagine is possible would be a failure in and of itself– the biggest failure, and the only unforgivable one.

To paraphrase a Bible verse, fear and love can’t coexist. If we’re still scared, we haven’t quite nailed the love part yet.

Every single decision comes down to love vs. fear. Every single one.

Which are you choosing today?

PS–  If you’ve got time, you should listen to the entire commencement speech. Put it on in the background and listen to the whole enchilada while you fold laundry or something. Or, read the transcript here.

Maarit • 02/12/2015


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