Musings of Mattering

The reason behind my refusal or inability to complete projects remains a mystery. It is not laziness. I am not lazy; I will work long and hard to accomplish tasks that must be done. No, it’s not sloth; I suspect it’s either fear or inadequacy. Or maybe a bit of both. I have a lot of good ideas for stories, but the ideas rarely coalesce to the point of completion. They bubble about in my head and instruct my fingers to write enough to satisfy my creative urges, but they don’t lead to conclusions. I envision pieces of stories, but the full stories remain mysteries to me; I don’t know where they go…where they should go…whether they have a destination worthy of seeking.

I’m referring not only to my writing but to my life, the full span between my original consciousness until the present. I tend to make choices only when forced. And, then, I question their rectitude. My choices as to where to place the blame are exceptional; I can find blame even in the sunrise. But the real blame resides closer to home; inside my head, in my heart. Within the cowardice that resides uncomfortably behind my mask. I just don’t know precisely where it lives behind that outward projection of confidence and competence.

The eternal question of “what if” haunts every decision, every fork in the road, every opportunity seized and every one left to wither in inaction. If life were a boat, it would be one in which neither sail nor rudder were put to use, leaving it tossed about in the sea, giving the waves permission to take it where they would. What is the aphorism, “If you don’t know your destination, you’ll never get there?” I think that’s it.

When people question their career or life choices, they often say “I could have been a [doctor, lawyer, physicist, fill in the blank].” But what they mean is they didn’t choose what to do with their lives. They allowed themselves to be swept along by the tide of the moment. They might as well say “I could have mattered. But I didn’t.” And they’d be at least partially right.

 

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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