From early on in life, we are expected to make a lot of big decisions before we have a clue how to make them.
So what do you want to be when you grow up? How’s your self-awareness, little Johnny? You’ve been alive almost 10 years, you should have it all planned out. You should know exactly what will make you happy. After all, failing to plan is planning to fail. Stepford wife platitudes, anyone?
Here’s the thing: what if we make a series of decisions by default? Society makes certain presumptions. At certain times, in certain places, there are expected courses of action. If you are good at X you should be Y. Procedures, processes that lead you in your thoughts, in your beliefs, in your actions.
What if you make those decisions that you are supposed to, because you are supposed to … and you one day realize that it’s not really working out for you? It’s not that your life is falling apart or you’re on crack … it’s more just an emptiness … a feeling that things could be better, could be great in fact … if only … but you can’t finish the train of thought.
What if you could have been so much more than the prescribed default? You just never had the time or the courage or the independent will to step outside the demarcated path.
Imagine who you could have been. Imagine what you could be missing out on.
Scary thoughts? Enter Martin Short, a man who makes the right choices. The sensible one, the one who does all those things that are easy to explain and justify and display to the world as neat paragraphs on a CV. A man who is readily reduced to paperwork, in life and in death.
I’m not Martin Short. My life does not make much sense when seen from outside, and that’s probably the best part of it. Whenever I’ve been too scared to be myself and instead tried to follow the road well-travelled, things have gone horribly wrong. Narcolepsy, an insatiable itch, a strange series of inevitable events that make the traditional path steadily less and less feasible — you name it. I don’t know if I believe in destiny as such, but I do feel that there is a kind of inevitability to being myself.
It’s hard to do things that may not work out and subject you to ridicule. It’s difficult to have the “pipe dreams” that are so easily ridiculed by those people who follow the rules in fear and reinforce themselves by trying to tear down anyone who lives larger than they do.
I’ve made the mistake of trying to look at my life and my decisions through the eyes of the average. Maybe I’m not average. Maybe you’re not average. Maybe none of us have to be average.
It made me want to write about someone who takes this process to its logical conclusion and finds something unexpected. The sedate, normal life is perhaps a seal that we try to plaster over the raving magnificence of being human. Break the seal — let your humanity be expressed.
I wrote about Martin Short, a man facing a personal crisis because he has taken the average to its logical conclusion. He’s knitted himself a cardigan, but by God, it just doesn’t fit. It makes his neck itch.
It starts to itch so bad, he starts cracking open. He starts to emerge; thoughts and feelings that he hadn’t allowed to exist now exist.
Things start popping for Martin Short. Life starts going a bit off course.
If that sounds like a good prospect to you, then you would probably enjoy my book.
I have a lot to say about the road less travelled. I’m on it as we speak.
Keep an eye on my blog, read my books. Maybe you’ll join me.