You know what's really easy?
Doing what's easy. Duh.
It's easy to live life easily. I can imagine lots of people who look at how I live my life, perhaps disapprovingly, and say those exact words to me. I take life easily. I laugh easily. I care about people easily. I give easily, of time, and of money, and to new people that I meet.
And that's easy for me. I don't really have to try. In fact, it's not even hard for me to work hard. I work hard because in part because I don't want to disappoint others, but I think more truthfully, I don't want to disappoint myself and what I think I'm capable of doing, whether I'm washing dishes at Starbucks or writing an essay on global governance.
You know what I also used to find easy? Writing.
Part of growing up in an apartment building in a sketchy part of town was that I was stuck inside, without the benefit of a brother whose mental capacity was at my level (sorry bro you were a fetus when I started writing so you can't really fight me for this). So I wrote stories, stories usually in a fantasy world very different from our own. I think that's because I've always valued thinking of worlds beyond my own, more than you can ever know. There's this quote by the famed Dr. Seuss:
You know you're in a love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.
Well, yes, I'm in love that is true, with a girl named Sarah Marshall, and yes, the reality of that is more wonderful, and for that fact, more authentic and full than in my dreams, but that's besides the point. What has always struck me about that quote is the last bit, where reality is finally better than my dreams.
My reality has never been better than my dreams. And to be honest, I don't think it ever should be, because then why would I want to make my life, and anybody else's life any better than it is now?
There is a stagnation that is always there in reality if you look at it as your pinnacle. And I realize now that I've allowed it to become stagnant. I've taken where I am as my place in life. Because it's easier to do that.
I feel like I'm at a place where I've stopped looking beyond my reality and just decided to lay down. Or, to accurately describe what I feel like is happening in my reality, I feel like I've decided to lay in the ground in the coffin and the hole that life has dug for me, waiting patiently for the shovelfuls of dirt to continue piling up on me. Until I die.
Ha, now that's fairly dramatic. But I think that's what feelings always are. If they're tempered to be a little more reader friendly, they become less of what they actually are meant to be in words: visceral and provocative.
Anyways, so how does reaching beyond my reality connect at all to 'what's easy' you may ask? Don't worry I swear I have the ability to make you believe any tangent I go off on has connection to my original theme.
Getting stuck, and doing what's easy I think have a frightening amount in common. Because it's easy to not move.
So, for a while in my life, writing was easy. I did it all the time. I didn't care about much else besides doing well in school, reading books, and writing, and watching movies from the library. As a result, I didn't do anything else that was out of my comfort zone, that wasn't easy.
For the past few years, actually, for almost the whole of the past decade, writing became more difficult. Because I tried new things and they became easy to invest in, and took up more of my time. Sports, performing on stage or through a mic, or leading in various positions have become my niche. And those things weren't easy at first, but they became easy, because I wanted to become great at them so bad that I spent time on them As a result writing was pushed to the side. The only reason I started writing much again was when I had to blog for class.
And someone told me something that I don't think I'll ever forget. This person is my beautiful friend Liza Klassen, who, perhaps as an afterthought, told me after reading one of my blog posts to "never stop writing :)"
Yah she even added a smiley face because she's lovely like that.
She's actually one of my many friends who has explicitly told me that I should keep writing, and that what I write matters.
But I just haven't. Because it's hard, because I can never think of something interesting enough that people will read, because every time I write something I look it over and think that it's crap BLAH BLAH BLAH NATHAN YOU ARE SO FULL OF EXCUSES.
There are even articles online talking about how hard it is to write and how difficult it is to write well, effectively pouring more water over the dying fire within me that wants to put my fingers to the keys and type out words.
And now I kind of realize, I'm stuck. I've been feeling stagnant for a while, and now I realize a big part of that is my alarmingly growing tendency to give up when I think things are too hard. And I've never believed that about myself. And I think I need to stop. I think I need to start doing what difficult again.
So what was the first step? Spending more time with God actually.
After that? Writing.
Just freaking writing. The amount of people who've told me to keep writing is proof that when I write stuff, people are interested in what I have to say. For some strange reason, that I truly believe doesn't have much to do with me. Words and all that they are able to encompass have the power to mean so much to many different people for so many different reasons.
So maybe, hopefully these words mean something to somebody else.
Maybe writing isn't what you've got to get back to, or start doing. Maybe it's spending more time with family. Maybe it'll committing yourself to work harder at work or school. Or whatever. Do what's hard. Don't let yourself become stagnant.
Reality is never going to be better than your dreams.
And if you think it is, then start dreaming again.