I don’t want to tell people how to live their lives, nor do I ever ever want to judge anyone. It’s incredibly difficult to find words to express this topic without sounding even a little judgmental, because even if that’s not what I feel at all, these are just one of those discussions that can’t not offend anyone. Maybe it’s because I write this to try to help people, but the mere fact that I think of myself as someone who can help people is the reason I feel obnoxious from the start.
But, with that in mind, I’ll talk about it anyway. I’m young, and everything I say is a testament to that. I don’t have the lifelong experiences of hardships and struggles, and the only way I can think about these things is by relating to others. But, from my perspective at this point of my life, which of course is subject to change at any moment, I feel like a lot of people in this world don’t try hard enough. And that’s not a brilliant revelation — that’s obvious — but it really annoys me when you see intelligent and capable people, and even those with potential, just throw away everything just because it’s easier.
I guess the reason why it bothers me is because I myself was trapped in it for so long. My entire highschool life I slacked around playing games and just not caring. I was smart enough to get by without studying, and so I did, because hey, the future’s not here yet, why should I care? And it was scary to think about working and trying to make something of myself, because it’s just not something I felt I was prepared for. I felt that I hadn’t been pruned and readied for the life of the big world out there, and so I held back and just tried my best to ignore it for as long as I could.
But I was wrong, and everyone who follows this train of thought is wrong. It’s selfish and disdainful to believe that you haven’t been readied, because no one at this age has. By doing this you shift the blame from yourself to others; your parents, your teachers, and you never take responsibility for who you are and what you’re doing. It’s the essence of childishness, and it’s so easy to fall into this trap because that’s what you’re striving to be — a child. You want to stay young and free of worry and problems, and so you keep your childish attitude. It’s like a loop, which is the exact reason why it’s so easy to fall into, and so hard to escape.
I’ve received a few emails ever since I started this blog from people who are just like me — young aspiring writers, but addicted to video games — and they ask me what I did to wean off the addiction. I don’t really know how to respond to these people, because it’s one of those things you just can’t teach. I could easily just explain everything step by step: delete your games, write every single day even when you don’t have “inspiration”, and just keep going. Because that’s basically what I did.
But that wouldn’t change your belief, because it doesn’t give you drive or motive. It wouldn’t change your point of view, because like a bad author, people who give advice like that are telling, and not showing. I think the easiest way to understand is to explain why you’re doing whatever it is you’re doing. The problem is, however, that the second you start talking like this to someone who’s stuck in that uncaring mindset, you suddenly look like a giant dick.
When people ask for help, you shouldn’t tell them the how, but the why. Because honestly, for something like writing, the “how” is pretty obvious and anyone who thinks that there’s some sort of secret to it is obviously just making excuses to not do it themselves for fears of incapability and inadequacy. You sit down and write, and you keep writing; it can’t get any simpler than that. But the “why” is what matters. The “why” is the hunger, the thirst. The “why” is the reason to do it, because there’s no point in doing something if you don’t have a reason.
And my reason? My reason is that I don’t want to be forgotten. There are seven billion people in the world, and I want to make myself different, even just a little. I don’t want to be meaningless, and I want my life to stand for something. I want to build something that others can look upon and be inspired by, just as I was inspired by others. I want to make the world a better place, because there are way too many people out there making it crummier.
But none of those dreams are going to happen if I just sit back and live a menial life, wherein when I’ll die, my life would have contributed nothing to the collective mind. And when you try to share these thoughts with people? You get hippie-ish responses like “man, stop stressing out about things,” and “you only live once man, enjoy it!” You get shortsightedness and appeals to mediocrity, and you get demonized as some sort of overworking loser.
But don’t they see the point? Don’t they see that the reason I spend hours upon hours writing and editing and working every single day — to the point that I’ve quit all my computer games — is because I want to be happy? Don’t they see their attitude is hedonistic, and it’s just… unhealthy? Nobody likes to work. Nobody. But you have to, and if I’m going to do it anyway to live and support myself, then I might as well do it as best as I can so that maybe I can break away from the norm and truly enjoy my life. So that maybe I can fulfill my needs on Maslow’s hierarchy. So that maybe, some day I can travel the world and see the things I’ve seen in pictures, with people that I’ve made proud for things that I’ve done. So that I can help others and see them smile because of what I did, not because I want to feel better about myself, but because I hate when I can’t help people. I hate when I can’t donate to charities I want to donate to because I don’t have money. I work my ass off writing and editing, not because I don’t like screwing around and playing video games — I FUCKING LOVE IT — but because I know that there are more important things in life.
I could sit back, relax, get a menial job working 9-5, and be content with what I have. But I could also at least try to succeed. I write so that I can make the world a better place by inspiring people, so that they’ll write to make the world a better place by inspiring others. If we all just sit back and let the world go to hell, we’ll have failed as people. And I don’t want to be a failure.