I have found myself again at the crossroads, staring down the many pathways of life, but without a clue of which road to take, which life choice to pursue. One road leads to a stable and respectable career, and sure it seem like a safe choice, but it’s hardly ambitious.
Branching off to the side of this was another road, but this one was a long stretch.It means wildly chasing after what’s easy to dismiss as a child like dream, but which after all these years I can’t seem to shake off.
Every time that I finish watching a truly incredible film or get addicted to a new music album I get caught up in a sense of euphoria, and feel a burst of energy that so easily makes me want to forget about everything else and zoom down that other road. But invetitably the adrenaline fades and it feels like a long stretch again. It’s then that I find myself back at the crossroads, contemplating what the hell I should do with my life.
We all have such boundless potential and are all inspired by so many things that we love to talk and joke to each other about and endlessly analyse, like it’s the most important thing in the world at that moment.
It can be a sport team that you’re forever behind, an actor you love watching in every film they crop up in, or a YouTuber you rush to watch when a new video of theirs drops. These people, who seem the top of their game to you though will always sing praise for the individuals that inspired them to take on that career choice. With Bob Dylan it was Woody Guthrie, with Stephen King it was H.P. Lovecraft, and with Quentin Tarantino, well it was pretty much every film that he ever saw.
It’s normal to be fascinated by achievements of others and influenced by the things that we love – that’s why we have celebrity culture in the first place – yet hardly any of us actually ever follow suit and get anywhere near chasing these dreams of ours, or even feel brave enough to share them with other people. Because even if we did decide on pursuing one of them, how can we be sure that we’re making the right decision and that it would somehow pay-off?
When I was coming close to finishing my Sixth Form studies I, like everyone else, had to make an important decision in deciding what I wanted to do next. And at the time it was obvious, I just wanted to do something to do with film. I enrolled for a scriptwriting course and had a great time doing exactly what I aspired to do at university, but it was a decision made by a 17 year old. Once I finished walking down that long path, I quickly realised that I had perhaps chosen a course that wasn’t wholly practical.
Scriptwriting interested me immensely, and it’s still something I would love to take further, but a degree in the subject doesn’t easily ensure me a job anywhere. Carrying on with it means exhausting my time doing something else for a living to fund it, but when you come home tired from work you find yourself neglecting things that take a lot of emotional effort.
We all have to sacrifice to feed these dreams of ours in some shape or form, but money is usually what holds us back. When considering this you have to question what’s a better choice: a road that leads towards economic stability and is respectful, or the other that isn’t so economically viable but affords you more time to chase that passion and gamble on achieving your dream job.
With the former option you may be doing something less stimulating, but that extra money would allow you to live comfortably. You’d be able to go on more holidays, regularly treat your family, and just not have to worry about everything so much. On the other hand hopefully family and friends would be proud of you for trying hard to do something you’re passionate about, but when the money achieved from something like business or banking would be greater, wouldn’t it be selfish to follow a route that will likely never provide as well?
This is how I’m feeling now.
Standing here at the crossroads, surrounded by all the pathways veering off into their own separate horizons, it can be easy to feel dwarfed by all the options. To not know if were to go down one guns blazing and at full steam, that you won’t just end up looking back and thinking of all the time you wasted.
Taking the pathway to a respectable job, often means another good three, four or more years of life solely walking down just one single road, battling for good grades, countless late nights and facing more and more student debt. In my case, that means adding to the pre-existing pile.
When I followed one pathway into university, I left behind other ambitions. I laugh or have forgotten about these now, and looking back it makes me realise that despite everything I have come a long way in my personal development. Now, finding myself at a new crossroad, I know it would only be defeatist to do anything but look ahead.
But when deciding on one path we have to watch as all the other ones slowly disappear from our view. It’s hard to choose which one, but maybe that’s the beauty of it:
With the infinite possibilities of life opening up to us at our crossroads, the first step taken, no matter where to, how sure in it you are, and when and how it happens, is one that only you can take. And it is beyond brilliant.