Me at 34: Owning my dream

I turned 34 this weekend. The morning after, I woke up with a hangover and wondered where my dream went.

This isn’t what it sounds like. It’s not the “blink, turn 40, and wonder what you did with your life” kind of thing. It’s more the idea of looking to reclaim ownership of that dream, and trying to figure out how to get there.

After eating something to neutralize the gut-rot, I laid in a hammock on the patio of our rented cabin, and read Blue Giant — I’m not going to do the “manga review thing” right now, but I can say it’s well worth your time. I’ve written about the “hard work makes good” manga before, and this seems to hit that sweet spot of “ambition, realism, introspection” that I find out of balance elsewhere.

The main feeling I came away with was missing writing, and wondering when the last time I wrote something for me was. Something with confidence that I used to have. It’s probably been a while.

So I deleted the other blog post that I wrote for my yearly birthday thing, and came back to this attempt. I resolved that it was going to feel looser; there was going to be less focus on trying to make it “the ideal post” in terms of examining my mental health, my growth, my whatever.

It was just going to be by me, for me. Like it used to be. And I think I’m doing that so far.

Somewhere along the way, I started trying to force myself to do some things in a way that would lead to an ideal conclusion. That conclusion wouldn’t be something that worked for me, no matter how hard I tried, but I didn’t (or don’t) want to face that disappointment of not being “enough” for “where I’m supposed to head.”

But little by little, that’s getting broken down. Because even if this piece feels compositionally or structurally worse, it feels more like me; I think I’ve been lacking that for god-knows-how-long. Maybe it’s time to commit harder to getting it back.

My dream left because it wasn’t something I really owned. It was something that I built for myself, thinking that it was what I should do — not what I wanted to do. At least not in the way I was good at.

So I delete. I hit Ctrl + A, hover over the Del key for a second, ponder whether it’s really what I want to do, and then do it. The piece always ends up better.

Maybe all I’m doing is taking the same trust that I have for my ability to find words after a hard Delete, and extending it to the rest of my life. I want to own the words that come out after; they’ll at least be mine, instead of optimized, forced, and disappointing.

I think it’s a start.

It’s something.

Maybe I’ll know by 35.


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