Advice
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If Not Now, Then When?

Listen While Reading: Io // Helen Stellar.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Are we still stuck here? Saying what we want to be, and subsequently placing obstacles in our way? Telling ourselves if we do this first, accomplish this task, or meet this goal, then and only then can we call ourselves a writer, a photographer, a filmmaker, a musician, an interior designer, etc.

What exactly makes us pause at this moment, a moment of fervent passion and creativity, to stop, and inhibit ourselves from reaching our full potential? Why do we say no to today, right now, this very minute, and settle for working toward something that we could very well start on immediately?

Maybe it’s because we’re unsure of the when… when we have officially grown-up, or when we can start being the thing. Sure, there are several career paths that require specific certifications, but beyond that, what are the rules? In creative pursuits, are there any? Or, more likely, are we just making this unnecessarily hard for ourselves?

Perhaps it’s simply because we just haven’t done enough of the thing, according to our (usually inordinately high) standards, and, therefore, cannot be the thing. Not yet, anyway. “If F. Scott Fitzgerald, a well-known published novelist, called himself a writer, how can I?” Perhaps that comparison is a bit extreme, but there are similar, albeit smaller ones we are all guilty of making. They affect us both consciously and subconsciously every day and undoubtedly contribute to this feeling of not being enough.

It can be intimidating to scroll through the various social platforms available to us nowadays, and see creatives of all types proudly displaying their work. “This person calls themselves this and has thousands of followers and a website and a shop and is a consultant for well-known companies and” — stop. It is of the utmost importance to remember that everyone starts at the beginning, usually with nothing more than a good dose of inspiration.

Though it is easy to do, and can sometimes be masked as a tool for motivation, thinking

comparatively does little to no good, especially when it comes to creativity. The anxiety you feel about reaching your goals, these goals you’ve set for yourself that you “must” reach before you can proudly call yourself [insert label here], can be crippling for your imagination. It is in times like these that the best plan of action is not to think too much, and just do. Believe you can. Do not stand in your own way. Let your inspiration, motivation, and imagination blind you to the tangled web logical thinking weaves, a web you can easily get stuck in (and probably have before).

The next time you feel like a change in direction—perhaps the path you’ve been on has come to a fork of sorts, and you want to try something new—go about it differently. Take the leap and pursue this new goal wholeheartedly, from day one, with no reservations. Give it your all from the moment you start day-dreaming, and really commit. Tell yourself, tell others, tell the world who you are, and what you’re doing. Rather than belittling your potential in the shadow of another’s accomplishments, use it as an opportunity to reach out and learn from those who have ventured along the path you’re pursuing. Enlighten yourself, and learn all there is about what it means to dream your dream.

If it’s in your heart, even for a moment, it’s worth it. And if, in a few days, months, or years, you feel your heart being pulled in a different direction, go there too. The possibilities in life are endless if we only let them be.


Words by Anna Mabarak // Photography by  Sydney Ferrara.

© 2015 Reef Magazine

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