Friday, March 5, 2010
Mediocrity? No thanks.
"A Prayer For Owen Meany" by John Irving is a book I have read twice in the last few months, and it intrigues me because there are some interesting ideas about faith, doubt and following the course set out for you by the universe. Towards the end of the book, Owen says in his unnerving voice, "IF YOU CARE ABOUT SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO PROTECT IT- IF YOU'RE LUCKY ENOUGH TO FIND A WAY OF LIFE YOU LOVE, YOU HAVE TO FIND THE COURAGE TO LIVE IT." (Owen's dialogue is in upper case letters through the entire novel.) This caught my eye and I was lost in contemplation after reading it because it strikes me as a very profound way to go through life. The happiest, most balanced individuals I know have done exactly this: they have found a way of life they love, and they fight tooth and nail to protect it. Funnily enough, these people also quite often need to survive the backlash of going against the grain, and straying from the path of societal norms. I have experienced this backlash firsthand. When I was dancing, I was often asked by the most random of people, exactly when I was planning on getting a "real job". I was incensed by these individuals, who could complain bitterly about the mundane existence they were leading, and then have the nerve to ask when I would be joining them in a life of mediocrity. Many a discussion about what exactly constitutes a "real job" came up, as well as some sassy comments about the lackluster option of working in a cubicle in order to obtain all the things a person 'should' have (ie: house, car, spouse, 2.5 children...) versus the opportunity to chase dreams all the way to the end of the rainbow. I chased my dream of dancing a little ways past the end of the rainbow in a desperate act of hanging-on, only to be smacked directly in the face by the blatant realization that I had already found the next prism glistening in the sunlight. Is this meandering path of travel, teaching, surfing, and yoga going to carry me through into middle age and beyond? That will be discovered as the time ahead of me is uncovered day by day and month by month. I may get bumped and bruised and battered by life sometimes, so be it. The courage to live the life I love may fluctuate and waver, but I will fight to steady it, all in the hopes of living my life to it's fullest potential, and perhaps finding the balance and happiness that taking chances can bring.