Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Sunday, July 20, 2014

What Slips Away

I think one of the saddest things is finally abandoning a long-held dream.  The terrible finality of that knowledge, that you are never going to do it.  That it's time to cut your losses.  Admitting to yourself that you don't have what it takes.  Knowing that it would have been possible, in fact that it might be trivially easy for some people, but that you lack the willpower to do it.

Especially if you've built up some kind of narrative that you've maintained socially, and that will now only be a source of embarrassment.  So people will bring it up - weren't you going to do ________?  How is that going?  And you have to admit:  that's never going to happen.  That was all a kind of affectation, a pretense.  I wanted, so badly, to be the kind of person who does _______.  I did what I thought you are supposed to do, I shared my ambitions almost as a way of committing myself, counting on precisely this embarrassment to keep me going.  But I didn't keep going, and now I have to admit that I have seated myself too high up at the table, as in the old parable:

"When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited.  If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this person your seat.'  Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place."

But as I said, the really sad part is admitting it to yourself.  That you took your own measure and fell short.  Clinging to unachievable dreams is pathetic in its own way, but it is also perversely admirable, like the scorned wife who refuses to go quietly.  Your self-conception is as much a part of you as your memories, and giving up a dream is like performing major surgery, a kind of amputation.

I suppose you can take some amount of comfort in the idea that it would be a big mistake to limit yourself to realistic dreams and ambitions.  Sensible, maybe, but off-putting and inhuman somehow.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't give up in being an astronaut

5:35 PM  

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