At the Cross Roads of Desire and Responsibility

In this following article by Andrew Morris, I think he discusses a dilemma and a feeling many of us solo internet creators have felt. Let us know what you think below in the comments! Thanks!

“Follow your dreams.” “You can accomplish anything you set your mind to.”

Now it’s your turn… What’s the number one cliche that you so desperately want to believe, but a series of life experiences has soured you to the real possibility of it being true?

For me, it’s as simple as fact vs. fiction. Real vs. make believe. I have those parts of myself that lie in the dark spaces of my mind, where light is only shown in spare time. Those fleeting moments that happen between all the action that makes up “real life.” The podcaster, the retro video game enthusiast, the wannnabe YouTube content creator. I like to believe that creating makes up a large part of who I am. Trouble is, I set out to accomplish one of these creative endeavors only to give up shortly thereafter because of the responsibilities that my day to day gig requires.

I tell myself, “Why mess around with caring if people hear that episode, they won’t listen anyway.” or “Why put yourself out there like that? You that hungry for attention?”
I know I have limited down time and I let these thoughts creep up to tell me that I am wasting it, participating in self created piddly activities that people of my age should be well beyond. So I quit. I leave what I started with such great intentions sitting idle while I let a large portion of what satisfies me creatively get shoved back in those dark cranial corners.

Have you ever opened up to someone about your challenges, whether it be at home or at work? Given them a glimpse into how you feel only to receive a reply that goes something like,
“Well, welcome to the world of ?” Or, “Get used to it, dude. That’s life.” 
It only takes hearing it a few times to start to question whether or not your effort towards your work and life is really adequate and measures up to that of your peers. 

Usually my conversations pertaining to my challenges in the work world spin themselves around my desire to explore what drives me internally in creative endeavors. When I hear these sentiments described above, it further draws the big bold black line between my “real life” and the make believe fantasy world I waste my time with. All of the above leads me to what ends up becoming my daily motor to get by: guilt.

I work in a service field. I care for children and their families. It is an immensely huge responsibility and I place a huge amount of pressure on myself to do what I can to make that proverbial difference each day. Why do I need more than that? Shouldn’t that satisfy me? Yes it should but here’s why it sometimes doesn’t: it’s gradual and you don’t always see the fruits of your labor ever, much less instantly. Sometimes the work I put in is the type that plants a small seed that may or may not grow later in life, or it may happen behind the closed doors of a child’s home. I feel this guilt because I know myself well enough to know that I’m the type of person who wants a pat on the back sometimes and that’s ridiculously selfish.

So why can’t my desires outside of work simply be my release for this pat on the back I so desire? I obsess over what I love in my free time to the point that I burn out and that is where the real sorrow sets in. I have interviewed some great guests on my old podcast and the immediate satisfaction from that work is incredible. Then comes the frustration that it isn’t immediately listened to by the entire western hemisphere. I spend day after day promoting the work on social media to the point that I get sick of it and just stop recording. I forget almost immediately how fulfilling it was to talk to someone I grew up watching on my television screen and focus entirely on the fact that the work was not adequately appreciated for my own needs. I take the enjoyment directly out of the enjoyable experience. I simply make my interests and hobbies a second job that I just cant emotionally sustain with work and family life.

As a side note I also obsess over weekends. I am so fortunate to have the weekend to spend with family each week. Sounds pretty good, right? Trouble is, I plan out my Friday and Saturday nights mentally ahead of time. I tell myself that I’m going to play a pre-determined game and watch a pre-determined movie. Then I’m frustrated when I never get to playing or watching them, or only get to one, essentially making my leisure activity a chore. Once the kids are in bed and the night is mine, life has other plans and I don’t adjust. I can’t just let the world come to me and relax. I only get a set amount of time and I MUST squeeze everything out of it I can before giving in to Sunday night and another workweek.

I am seeking focus in my life and the peace this focus will allow. I believe the peace I’m searching for lies at the cross roads of my desires and my responsibilities. I desire to have a blog/podcast/YouTube Channel that is viable in some way. I also have responsibilities to my job and my family. Fighting this feeling of guilt, for having the desires I have creatively, will hopefully allow me to settle into some of my hobbies for long enough to see them take root and grow over time. Possibly even without my worrying over why I’m not the next Internet sensation, then giving up completely. 

I know I’m not the only one out there who has these issues? Right? Right?!

Let’s let work be work and fun be fun. And when fun becomes work, work on it, and when work becomes fun, simmer in it while it lasts. Or try medication.

Andrew Morris is the host of the Idle Chatter podcast.
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