October 2, 2015 § 16 Comments
A guest post from Kate Parrish:
Earlier this week I read through an online exchange between a few people who I look up to and admire expecting to find one set of opinions but finding something else altogether, something that made me sad, disheartened, and a little surprised. Rather than spend time going into the dangers of putting people on pedestals, having expectations that other people’s opinions will align with yours, or the hazards of online discourse in which, oftentimes, tone and additional context are absent, I’ll just say it gave me some food for thought about the role I play in my own life. The specifics of the exchange aren’t important but the takeaway, as I read it, was perhaps some people dream too big (dream too unrealistically—can that be a thing?) and would possibly be wise not to.
This summer I attended a writers’ conference in Sewanee, TN and sat in a lecture by Allen Weir, a writer from Texas. It was a craft lecture on writing fiction. I don’t write fiction and used that as an excuse to only half-listen while I wrote and re-wrote a list of things to do. Then I heard him say these words, almost as an aside, “TGIF: our culture’s saddest saying.” That we live in a society awaiting the 5 o’clock bell on Friday afternoons was disconcerting to him. It’s disconcerting to me.
I’ve worked plenty of jobs where the greatest perk was that I got to leave on Friday afternoons and not return until Monday morning. I’ve spent years getting the Sunday Blues, the Sunday Sadness, whatever you want to call that sinking feeling that creeps in around 5 p.m. on Sunday nights reminding you that life isn’t what you want it to be. I know the Monday Blues, the Tuesday Blues, the Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday Blues. I know the Waiting for Life to Start Blues and the Waiting for Life to End Blues. So, sure, Thank Goodness It’s Friday can feel like a relief.
But living for Friday isn’t living. At least it isn’t for me. I can’t wait for Friday and I can’t wait for someone to co-sign on my dreams, no matter how big or small they are, realistic or unrealistic. Monday can be Friday. Wednesday can be Friday. Any day can be Friday because Friday is just a name. It’s just a series of letters smashed together to form a word. Friday isn’t a lifestyle, it isn’t a state of mind. Friday isn’t the starting line to 48 hours of freedom, to pursuing hobbies or passions, to catching up with friends and family, or let’s be honest, a laundry list of errands and obligations. When I’m living for Friday, I’m dying six other days a week.
I want my dreams to be realities just like I want my Mondays to be Fridays. By the time I’m through living I want the word dream to feel embarrassed at how small it is, how monosyllabic it is, how unable it was to actually encompass what I end up achieving in life. And I don’t care how cheesy or bumper sticker-sounding it is, I want TGIT: Thank Goodness It’s TODAY to be what I strive for, not TGIF.
And the only person that can do any of that, can make those changes, can achieve those dreams is me. No one can want my dreams more than me. No one can believe in my dreams more than me. No one can do the legwork but me. But I’m not alone. I’m not operating in a silo where the only person that can pick me up is often the same person that puts me down. (And I know about putting myself down. I know about the inner monologue that is mean, rough, and downright abusive at times.) I have coaches and mentors and friends and family and books and TED talks and a belief that something greater than me (a God, a group of people, a big ol’ tree in the forest, it doesn’t matter) is in my corner bringing forth whatever I put out, whatever is written on my heart, lining my gut, coating the folds of my brain.
Please don’t wait for Friday to be who you were meant to be.
Kate Parrish is an MFA candidate at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN. She writes a weekly blog at AimingforOkay.com.