What do you want to be when you finally grow up?
I suppose it’s the nature of ambition to look at the grass over the fence and yearn for something more, something different, something ELSE, that isn’t what we have. We strive our whole lives to grow our careers, to move to a bigger house, buy a better car. Our benchmarks are always upwards, always those who have more, or better, or faster, or sexier. Never downwards, to those who can only dream of attaining the station we have already reached. And then, at some point in life, we realise the material is not what matters. Success is measured in so many ways other than possessions or status. When I retire from my paid employment, it matters not what my workplace achievements were, the savings we made or the efficiencies of process we implemented. All this will be undone by the next bright young things in any case, eager to prove their worth to the next generation of MBA graduates eager to prove their worth to the corporate beast.
I truly admire those with the strength of conviction to step off the moving belt. To step away from the rat race and try to live their passion. I think back to The Good Life with everyone’s favourite girl-next-door, Felicity Kendal alongside Richard Briers, playing Tom and Barbara Good as they attempt to create the self-sufficient farming lifestyle in Surbiton, a suburban neighbourhood outside London. Okay, so this was a sit-com. Not everyone gets to share their idyll with ‘two puppies in a sack’ Felicity. She would certainly have provided a worthy distraction in the long evenings with no TV, that’s for sure!
But I digress. There are a good many real life Goods who have chosen to follow a path less trodden through this life. So many people, with the absolute conviction that they have the answer. I’m not talking about those with the get-rich-quick schemes we like to ogle on Dragon’s Den. These folk are no better than the rest on the Corporate Juggernaut. No, I’m talking about those driven by a passion to create. The writers and artists with the cojones to believe in their talent and their dreams, and with the tenacity to drive through with these beliefs through the hard times and the good. Some of these people are truly talented. Others have an average ability but they have the tenacity (and possibly the wealthy spouse, I’m not sure) to allow them to pursue their dreams.
Example 1: JK Rowling She is clearly a gifted story-teller at least for the first three books. Without her tenacity, though, we
would all have been the poorer for the lack of Harry Potter in our lives, and Ms Rowling would no doubt still be a struggling writer living in an Edinburgh garret. She did at least allow us to enjoy watching Emma Watson grow into a fine young woman 🙂
Example 2: EL James She managed to make a fortune out of a bad piece of soft-porn fan fiction. The whole 50 Shades saga is the epitome of pulp fiction (and not the ultra-cool Tarantino version). It is every housewife’s fantasy version of BDSM – all breathy spankings and not a hint of the pain a real cane strike might inflict on a naked posterior. Ask any English public school boy. Well, maybe not. I’m sure most of them are probably paying to repeat their schoolboy experiences as we speak.
“You don’t appreciate a lot of stuff in school until you get older. Little things like being spanked every day by a middle-aged woman. Stuff you pay good money for in later life.”
But there we have it – I’m sure you can think of many more examples of people with mediocre to average talent, but with the tenacity and the balls (and no little luck) to drive through to success.
So that’s me – that’s what I want to be when I finally grow up. I want to be a writer with the cojones big enough to believe that I have something to say that the world needs to hear. I obviously need the financial wherewithal to finance this endeavour, and so I do subscribe to the weekly Redneck Pension Fund. But when all is said and done, if I can get my words published, and say I am a real writer, I will be a happy man as I move closer to the bright light, it is to be happy in my creativity.
If that means I need to write a BDSM fan-fiction, so be it. The research phase should be fun if nothing else, and that rope-tying course I did in Scouts could come in useful.