I’ve been wandering in the desert for the last few weeks. Parched, exhausted, and unable to determine which direction is north. I guess that’s okay since I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to go north anyway. That’s the thing about wandering. As Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.”
How did I even get to the desert in the first place? A running theme in my life has been avoidance of the desert (not dessert though, just fyi). Sometimes life just takes me there, though. Do you ever wake up to find that you’re a million miles from the place you were trying to go? Was my map oriented incorrectly? Was my destination mislabeled? Probably neither. In truth, I just wasn’t paying attention to where I was going. The landmarks along the way all indicated that I was nearing the wasteland, but I kept trudging along anyway as if I expected a gateway to open up in front of me to save me from the fate I was walking in to.
Why do I do that?
I keep asking myself the question over and over again. I want to be a writer. But every single day I take a step farther away from that goal. I choose not to spend time writing. I choose to prioritize my day job even after I’ve worked the required hours. What’s wrong with me?
Frankly, trying to develop a life as a writer is hard. Add the day job, marriage, and social anxiety to that. Holy crap. It is hard. Some days I feel like it’s impossible. But when I give in to that defeat, that fear, I lose all sense of meaning in my life. I wind up in the existential desert wondering how I got here and why nobody will rescue me.
Here’s the truth: not many people even know I’m in the desert. And it’s not anybody else’s job to rescue me. I’ve got to find a way to get myself to the place that I want to go. Not that I can’t stop for directions every now and again. But I am the one traveling this road. I can’t expect anybody to go along with me or carry me (even though that would be pretty sweet).