Life is incredibly short.  The saddest part about this is that we spend so much of what little time we have wondering how to spend it, and once we do figure out how we want to spend it, we are met with resistance, negativity and that two-letter word we all hate most of all: No. After so much of this, we just want to throw our hands in the air and go back to our places in line, accepting the grind as our lots in life and carrying on, moment to moment, day after day, playing it safe and making sure not to rock the boat of monotony.   This might work for a while, but eventually, those notions of something greater, something more meaningful, will catch up to us, tackle us, and pin us to the ground, demanding we heed our own instincts that we’re capable of more.  When we’ve reach that point in life where we’ve put fear in its place and thickened our skins enough to take the punches, there are a few things we can do to counter-balance the effects of the coming obstacles and impediments in order to keep our spirits and our passions in check.  At the forefront of that list, in my opinion, is to have a support network. 

     Whether you’re a writer, a college graduate, a stay-at-home mom, or a poodle groomer, you don’t have time to divulge in anyone else’s version of reality, unless it supports your own success unequivocally.  The fact is, no one but you knows those core truths about you that, if listened to and acted upon, will carry you to your root allocation in life.  We’ve all been out of our elements.  We’ve all taken jobs that simply paid the bills, we’ve all catered to the fear of failure and we’ve all fallen into the designs of someone else’s masterpiece.  It isn’t a good place to be.  We struggle, we fight, we get by… and we don’t even know what for; and all the while we try to ignore the fact that we simply don’t have time for that; that sadly, life comes… and then it goes.

     I’ve reached a point in my own life where, if someone dared to tell me I couldn’t do a thing, I would smile, nod and walk as far away from them as my feet would take me.  My own mother wouldn’t be afforded the luxury of discouraging me, so one can imagine how I might feel about even the gentlest of promptings from a stranger, a friend of a friend, or a stagnant and embittered second cousin through marriage.  If I let these people affect me, I will be discouraged and impotent,  and, as far as I’m concerned, if I let these people make my decisions, I have no right to occupy my own body. 

     So I surround myself with people who have dreams of their own and who believe in mine.  I don’t view this as a simple choice so much as a strategy move essential for survival.  Whatever paths we choose to execute in life, we will be met with enough interference, restraint and discouragement.  It’s just not lucrative to allow it into your immediate personal space.  Your social life should be reserved for those who foster your goals, stimulate your drive and help cultivate your personal empowerment.  In his book, The Master Key to Riches, Napoleon Hill refers to this as the “Mastermind Alliance.”  While I am not typically a fan of self-help or motivational literature, I think he was definitely on the right track with that one, and I recommend the book to anyone.

     If you’re walking, talking and breathing, you have passion.  Even if you have to look for it a little, it’s there.  And passion without purpose and precision is just white noise.  Part of who and what you surround yourself with is part of that precision, so I’ve come to believe in the value of choosing wisely my immediate environment.  I’m standing in a foreign place in my life right now.  Not just in my writing but in everything else as well.  I am at a precipice, looking over the edge at everything I know, just daring the wind to blow a little and knock me off my feet.  But everything I feared is twice removed.  There are a million reasons I can’t succeed and yet all I can think about is the one reason I can: because I want it that damned bad.  Now, more than ever, I’m glad I have nothing around me except the highest caliber of believers, and I’m grateful that, as depressing as it is, I realize how little time there is.

     There isn’t time to listen to anyone else tell you what you should do.  All you need to know is that fish belong in water, painters belong on canvas and writers belong on paper.  It’s just a matter of finding out who you are… your station in life will follow.  Time is precious.  So, if you’re going to stop and smell the roses, first be sure you’re not standing in someone else’s garden.

  1. Kim Justesen says:

    There is no need for me to rehash how I feel about this – you already know. All I can say now is polish up that middle finger and be prepared to use it often and with feeling for those who have the ignorance or short-sightedness to tell you that you can’t. You know the term “growing pains”? It’s just a reminder that all growth, all change is hard – and we frail mortals tend to run from things that might hurt. You have stepped out of the mold (good thing, too – it smells funny) and dared to follow your heart. You can’t go wrong if you do that, and no matter the results, you will be better for it.

  2. Linda Bennett says:

    Jared, You are a wonderful person, I believe in and appreciat you. I also know in my heart that you will get to where you want to be. because you are a very determined man. I am very proud and lucky to have you as a friend albeit we have never net in person.

  3. Jared, this was really well put. I honestly couldn’t have put it together in words better myself. A lot of things, well, my whole life flashed in front of my eyes as I read your words. What you wrote today has been something I have been trying to get into the habit of doing for the past six years. Out of all my online friends you are probably the one who knows the most about me and about how I grew up. The struggle I have had to fight with within myself to get to where I am today. And you understand this better than most probably considering the stuff you have shared with me.

    My friend you have taken a step out. Keep on truckin. Like most who do this, you will come upon walls, stop signs, or whatever; but always remember there is another route. If you have to take a step back so you can go down the turn that you passed up a mile or so back, so be it. It’s not failure, it’s taking a chance that you were unsure of. It’s a chance that you stepped into, realized that it wasn’t right and it’s okay to re-evaluate and take a different turn. (Something I’ve recently learned with my job that pays the bills…lol)

    Long version into short, well, since I have first started reading your work, something told me with consistency and determination this guy is going to go far. And I still believe that.

  4. Ariel says:

    I’m sure you already know that I agree with everyone else that has commented, as well as with you since this is many of the things that I talk about often.

    It is interesting because about the time you were writing this yesterday, I was talking with my 25 yr old nephew about not being afraid to break away from this place and even our family for these reasons, and what any life counselor will tell you about anyone you spend too much time with seeing you in the context of themselves and their reality: they won’t just accept you insisting on changing that and instantly see that from your own, especially a new and different own. He is as surprised that I am to realize how little my family even knows about me and the details of my life, when I have never been much of anywhere without them in the course of taking care of them all and/or other roles I fulfilled then, and the different reasons for each of them not knowing.

    While it is helping him and I to become closer, it is also helping me (and I have hope, him) to become more distant from the others and my feelings for and about them. I think you understand that Jared, and are finding the same, yes?

    Love and Blessings on that continuing quest of yours–and if you are like me, you will take to standing on those mental and literal ledges when the wind is the strongest, because the more driving it is, the more it gives you a taste of being alive–and having wings ❤ 🙂

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